Outstanding Veteran and Military Advocate Award Nominee
Author Name/Title: Ronald Aument, Partner
1.Tell us why and how you support the region’s active-duty/reserve military and/or national intelligence community, their families and/or veterans.
As a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, the centerpiece of our corporate culture is our commitment and passion to support those who have served and sacrificed so much for our great nation, but who all too often ask for or receive little. While we do this through our work with Federal agencies every day, we want to ensure that our staff have first-hand experiences making a direct difference in the Veteran and military communities. To this end, in November 2011, we established our GIVE (Get Involved for Veterans) program (www.dutyfirstconsulting.com/off-duty). The GIVE program was created as a sign of our firm’s commitment to ongoing involvement in the community and as a concrete way to share our time, talent, and passion with local Veteran and military-related charities and community initiatives.
2. What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
I think one of the greatest factors that sets us apart is the size of our commitment compared to the size of our company. As a small business,it is unusual to find such a formal program for community commitment–but it has turned out to be one of the corporate successes for which we are most proud. Our staff continuously cite GIVE as a differentiator and source of great employee satisfaction. In addition to volunteering, we regularly support Veteran-related charities through direct monetary gifts and pro-bono services.
3. Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Absolutely. Our clients are Government staff, working on some of the country’s most important health, benefit, and housing initiatives that impact Veterans. Spending time with Veterans and Service members firsthand allows us to understand them as people, and to better understand who we serve and support as we collaborate with our clients. Experiencing how our work in and outside of the office directly impacts Veterans and Americans as a whole, provides deeper meaning and connection in all that we do, and improves the quality of our work as well as our relationships.
4. What are some events or causes that inspire you and your team?
One of the organizations that inspires our company in particular, and with whom we continue to partner with time and time again, is the Honor Flight Network. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that flies Veterans, free of charge, from their hometown to Washington, D.C. to visit their respective memorials. Through the Honor Flight Network we have greeted hundreds of Veterans, at both the airport and the World War II Memorial, with handmade signs and personal expressions of thanks. Participation in these events is unlike any other; employees are able to bond with Veterans and honor them in a truly significant way. Being a part of something so rewarding inspires our employees in their daily work and in their desire to continue to volunteer. Our team also regularly participates in activities to raise funds for organizations like the Walter Reed Bethesda Fisher House, and in health and wellness events like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) annual VA2K Walk and Roll event in D.C. The VA2K encourages community health and wellness and supports homeless Veterans with donated food and clothing items. These experiences consistently demonstrate how a small amount of time can make a big difference in the lives of Veterans.
5. What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
The best advice I can give is to just get started; find an organization or an event that interests you, or that you feel passionate about, and get involved. We started with one event, and then a second, and now we have a program with an established name and logo. After five years GIVE is part of the very foundation of DFC–it is an initiative that increases employee satisfaction, work quality, and productivity, which then increases client satisfaction. Overall, it is a win-win and one that we are very proud to have as an integral part of our mission.