Marine applies lessons from the Corps to corporate leadership

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Virgil Palumbo

Virgil Palumbo

Editor’s Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Kforce committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. 

At first glance, there may not appear to be striking similarities between corporate staffing and the Marine Corps. However, Virgil Palumbo can quickly tell you how one easily translates to the other. 

After his service as an Infantry Officer in the US Marine Corps, Palumbo built a successful corporate career at Kforce, a corporate staffing services and solutions firm, thanks to a strong foundation set by his military service. These fundamentals helped him achieve executive-level leadership within Kforce, where he presently serves as the Central Region President.

“Looking back, my career feels like a dream,” he reflects. 

With the very best Marines working above, below and beside him, Palumbo sharpened his leadership skills. Fundamentals such as fostering relationships, collaborating, practice and preparation are key tenets that he relies on daily, even as a corporate executive. 

“As Marines, we practice till we’re perfect so that when the day comes, we don’t have to think...we just execute,” he says. Palumbo equates those drills he trained for as a Marine to sales calls and other similar day-to-day responsibilities as a Kforce regional president. “Similarly, you drill so you don’t get it wrong. So you practice till it's perfect and you can respond to the customers’ needs,” says Palumbo.

Virgil Palumbo

Virgil Palumbo

As Palumbo experienced, military service hones a veteran’s leadership skills and acutely prepares them for leadership and management positions within the civilian world. However, crossing the threshold into executive-level leadership requires vision, preparation and education, advises Palumbo. 

“Unlike a military career, which can be linear,” he says, “a career in corporate America is like a jungle gym, with lots of diagonal jumps, leaps and sometimes, steps backwards.” 

Palumbo advises those with aspirations within the C-suite to build a strong network of relationships and understand what winning means to your organization. 

“We are paid for results in corporate America, so you have to know what defines winning for your company and how you can help your leadership achieve those results.” And finally, keep learning, he recommends. “In the Marine Corps, we have professional development courses for different parts of your career. Similarly, keep learning and educating yourself to reach the next level or the next step in your career. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself to advance your career.”

The Kforce culture aligns seamlessly with military core values and culture, creating an inclusive environment for veterans seeking employment. With offices across the United States and in many states with high veteran populations, it’s an attractive employment option for those transitioning from the military. The company is mission-oriented, people-focused and impact-driven, according to Palumbo. Military veterans at Kforce carry a strong bond, providing support, mentorship and recognition to each other and to the community. The firm recognizes the skills and talents many veterans bring with them into the workforce and Kforce wants to attract and utilize those professionals. 

“While transitioning from the Marine Corps, I was looking for a disciplined, performance-oriented organization that shared the same values I was accustomed to as a Marine. Kforce embodies a values-driven culture that is integrated into every aspect of the organization,” says Senior Manager of Network and Workplace Engineering James Doner.

To find and cultivate a professional environment that appeals to veterans, Kforce “leverages Grow with Google, an IT certificate program that provides training to veterans, refugees and low-income communities. The program helps veterans translate their military experience into civilian experience.” But Palumbo says for any veteran interested in working at Kforce to just reach out to him directly. 

“Kforce is a very patriotic company, we have a military thread running through all of us and we recognize the unique skills that our veterans bring to the table,” he says. 

Looking back, Palumbo says he’s eternally grateful for the experiences he gained at the U.S. Naval Academy and as a Marine. “Being a part of something bigger than myself allowed me to build a strong foundation of leadership skills. Similarly, being part of the Kforce family is more than just a job. We are part of something much larger than ourselves and I’m grateful to apply the lessons and experiences I gained as a Marine and put them to use at Kforce.”

This post was sponsored by Kforce