Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

How to help military veterans re-enter the civilian economy

Learn how Diego Rubio made it his mission to create a community and help other military veterans navigate the professional world.

Army soldier desert
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The better the question

What’s your new mission after your duty ends?

Many US veterans are unsure how to transition back into civilian life.

When Diego Rubio returned home from his last combat deployment in 2014, he faced uncertainty as he transitioned to civilian life. Like the millions of other US veterans making the same transition, Diego wasn’t accustomed to considering what’s next, as everything from wake-up time, workout regime and daily meals were structured by the military’s agenda during his service. Now that he was home, however, he had to navigate the professional world and apply his skills to a new line of work.

When Diego joined EY in 2014, he experienced culture shock. He came to understand that it was hard to translate the mannerisms and problem-solving skills he learned in the military to a professional environment, and he was unsure where to turn to for guidance. Diego knew veterans across the country must be experiencing the same thing. So he took it on himself to not only help them find positions, but help them understand their new reality and find translatable opportunities in the professional world.

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The better the answer

A voice for veterans

Diego’s work is a positive stepping stone for other veterans.

Since then, Diego has impacted the lives of thousands of veterans, serving as co-lead of the EY Veterans Network and as an integral leader of Veterans of Wall Street (VOWS), an organization that helps place veterans in financial service positions. Through both groups, he assists veterans in every stage of the professional transition, helping them assess their skills, review their resumes, find positions and adjust to their new roles.

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The better the world works

No brother or sister left behind

Diego provides professional and personal support that has a lasting impact.

In his free time, Diego, with support from his team of volunteers, reviews about 50 to 100 résumés and helps about 75 veterans a week to find positions, both within the EY organization and at outside financial service organizations. At EY alone, he has seen a 30% year-over-year increase since 2014 in incremental employment for veterans. His roles with both the EY Veteran’s Network and VOWS give him an extensive reach, helping veterans land jobs from New York to Los Angeles.

But employment success undersells Diego’s true impact: inclusion. While professional services are what connect him with the veterans he works with, he develops personal relationships with them, giving them someone to talk to who can understand what they’re experiencing. Diego goes the extra mile to help them acclimate to new environments and challenges. He also helps them see how the diverse perspectives they have from their past experience can benefit the teams they’re a part of today. He even drives inclusion within the veteran community, co-founding the Women Veterans on Wall Street in 2016 to support the underserved female veteran population.

“I want to know that every person, regardless of diversity, is here for each other,” Diego says. “No brother or sister left behind.”

Earlier this year, Diego was invited to dinner by a veteran he once helped. When he arrived at the man’s house, Diego was surprised to meet not the man’s family, but a group of veterans who had gathered there to express their gratitude. The man told Diego, “Without the help you have given me, I wouldn’t be here.”

No matter how large Diego’s network gets, his personal dedication has created a tightly bound community with a newfound mission.