Every year, approximately 200,000 U.S. service members transition from military to civilian life. In the last several years, the federal government has stepped up its support of the military community as they manage that change, but the shift to civilian employment is not always an easy process — not only for veterans but for their spouses as well.
On this Veterans Day, we’re proud to share some important steps we are taking at Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) to strengthen our support for our employees who are current and former service members, and foster a more military-supportive culture.
Today, Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer, signed a statement of support on behalf of LS&Co. with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), one of the most respected veteran service organizations. Signing the Statement of Support will help LS&Co. become a destination employer for service members and veterans who have a unique skillset that can benefit our company.
Additionally, we are proud to announce the newest addition to our employee resource groups (ERGs) — Operation 501. The group is open to all employees who feel connected to the military community. It is founded by Marla Murbach, a military spouse and Levi’s® store manager in Tejon Ranch, California, and supported by executive sponsor Chris Clark, senior vice president and chief information officer, and a U.S. Army veteran himself.
When discussing why she wanted to start a military-focused ERG, Marla said that for many employees the military is a huge part of their lives that they want to bring to work. “It’s important for all employees to have a safe place to share your experiences, and for your place of work to be supportive of that,” she said. “I might be biased, but military families and military personnel — they are the best of the best. That life takes a little bit of extra grit and resilience, and to be able to have that commonality among your co-workers is really special to have.”
Chris said he believes the values of those who have served closely align with LS&Co.’s own values. “Veterans understand being part of a team that serves a higher purpose, with extreme loyalty, duty, integrity and personal discipline — these are the values they put into practice day in and day out,” he said. “That brings incredible value to our organization.”
As a leader on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team with a nearly nine-year military career herself, Christina Glennon is excited about expanding our DE&I efforts. “Veterans are intersectional and represent different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and other identities united for a common mission,” she said. “The diverse makeup of the armed forces is one of its greatest assets, and hiring employees who can lead inclusively is important to any organization. While we may have nontraditional backgrounds, we are a community that is agile, that moves at the speed of culture and that has lived an incredibly diverse set of experiences.”
As a company with more than 900 self-identified veteran employees here at LS&Co., we extend our appreciation to them and their families for their service, and we are committed to becoming an employer with an even stronger culture that supports, celebrates and understands veterans and their families.