Blog / November 10, 2022
Roomie Roundup: Veterans Day with our SevenRooms Vets
In honor of Veterans Day, we spoke to two veterans in our Roomie community – Stephanie Orlandi (Program Manager, Marketing Automation) and Alex Soria (Head of Data & Analytics) – about their service, the lessons they learned, and more.
Tell me about your service.
Stephanie Orlandi: I served in the United States Air Force as a Korean Cryptologic Language Analyst. In short, I had to become fluent in the language and support reconnaissance missions by intercepting, translating, and relaying Korean communications. I spent a little over one year at the Defense Language Institute in California, some time at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB) in Nebraska, and two years at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Unfortunately, my brain has lost a lot of the language after not using it for many years, but I still know enough to order in Korean at restaurants!
Alex Soria: I served in the United States Marine Corps. Initially, I joined to become a fighter pilot, but life took me in other directions. I spent my time as an infantryman and as an Aircraft Ordnance Technician working on F-18s.
What aspects of your military service helped you build your career?
Stephanie: I learned about the ability to stay calm in stressful or unexpected situations. The military and tech industries are similar in that they are both dynamic and constantly changing environments. It is very valuable to know how to work effectively with anyone, under any circumstances. Second is the importance of empathy, especially in leadership. I have seen firsthand how a little empathy goes a long way. This skill demonstrates that while the mission is important, people are always more important.
Alex: Leadership, leadership, leadership. It is the heart of the Marine Corps. You learn to lead from the beginning of your service as a junior Marine. During this time, you make mistakes, learn from them, and then grow stronger. Being a leader is critical in gaining troops’ trust and it starts on your first day.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your service?
Stephanie: How to order a beer and a bottle of Soju in Korean… just kidding! The biggest lesson I learned was to never stop reaching for your “next level.” At the same time, you can’t forget about what it took to get where you are now. Always work hard and be proud of your journey.
Alex: The biggest lesson I learned is resilience. As humans and as veterans, we are all capable of managing and dealing with a lot. It’s important to become comfortable with discomfort because that’s the only way to grow.
What advice would you share with fellow veterans who are looking to build a career in tech?
Stephanie: Focus on your strengths and never stop learning. Your civilian career does not have to mirror your military service. Take the valuable skills you’ve learned, like attention to detail and time management, and find a way to weave them into something you are passionate about!
Alex: Work hard to learn new skills that will put you in a position to get that interview. Network with fellow veterans. Use Veterati to find people in the field you want to work in and connect with them. Don’t give up. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Thank you to Stephanie, Alex, and the greater veteran community for your service.
Interested in a career at SevenRooms? Learn more about our open roles.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.