Porter Novelli

In July of 2015, I left the United States Army after over ten years of service, more than half of which was spent as a Special Forces soldier. During my time as a Green Beret, I learned to thrive under intense deadlines in chaotic situations where everything was changing at all times. The only constant was that…there just wasn’t a constant. You learned to control what you could, collect as much data as possible, and simultaneously adjust your strategic plans while executing your tasks to the best of your ability. Your environment was ambiguous at best and more often than not, you were communicating across both language and cultural barriers. At the end of the day, we adapted and turned potential disasters into resounding successes. Our primary mission was Unconventional Warfare and there is no one better at this than a United States Army Green Beret.

Chris Erickson Special Forces Headshot 2

Chris Erickson Special Forces

When I found myself preparing to hit the streets again as a civilian, I wasn’t sure which one of Robert Frost’s roads I was going to take. I was lucky enough to come across the Accelerate program that Exbellum had developed for Omnicom Group and Diversified Agency Services. This extremely unique (if not one-of-a-kind) residency and education program is designed to take Special Operations veterans and put them through an advanced leader development program in various marketing disciplines. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been selected for this program.   Right now, it is my privilege to be working in Porter Novelli’s New York office. Learning the public relations business through immersive training is better than any MBA program I could have enrolled in. In the business world, Green Berets are still an untapped resource of ingenuity, adaptive problem solving, creative thinking, strategic planning, and analysis. After spending the last decade of my life on the non-stop adrenaline rush that is the life in the Special Forces regiment, I am excited to be a part of this new adventure.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges facing veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce is finding meaningful employment. I have been fortunate enough to find a job that allows me to work as a valued member on talented teams that are passionate about what they do. Every day there is a new, exciting challenge to be confronted and overcome. Some people sit around and tell war stories or yearn for “the good old days.” And, let me tell you, I had some pretty amazing experiences during my time in the military. I’ve watched the sun rise in the Himalayas. I’ve fought beside some of the bravest men to ever walk the Earth in the wastelands of Afghanistan. I’ve watched the sun set in the jungles of Thailand. Yet, I’m still excited because I know that the best days are ahead.