Extended Family and Esprit de Corps
Transitioning from Army practical nurse to civilian IT professional, Cynthia Roberts McLean continues to care for those who serve
Pondering her transition to civilian life after 19 years as a U.S. Army nurse, Cynthia Roberts McLean finds fulfillment in the fact that her work continues to benefit service members and their families. Only this time ’round, Cynthia works for an IT firm where one out of every four employees is a veteran.
Employed by TIAG since 2005, Cynthia excels as a senior information system security officer, lead cyber subject matter expert, and onsite manager advancing TIAG’s work for Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). During her TIAG tenure, she’s also supported TIAG’s work for U.S. Army Medical Department’s Regional Health Command—Atlantic, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) Directorate of Information.
Reflecting on her prior military service, Cynthia recalls some of her roles, among them, serving at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Casteau, Belgium (yes, where the fictional Private Benjamin landed), and deploying to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to provide humanitarian assistance after Hurricane Hugo. Then, after serving as non-commissioned officer in charge of labor and delivery at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, Georgia, Cynthia’s final tour of duty was at WRAMC, where she specialized as an L.P.N. transplant coordinator.
“That may have been my most rewarding service because I saw firsthand how transplants dramatically change the quality of life for patients,” says Cynthia. “It also prepared me for a personal journey when, years later, my mother had a kidney transplant and I was able to help her through that process.”
“TIAG places veterans in specific roles where they can immediately apply the leadership skills and expertise we learn in the military. DoD customers benefit because these prior service members already understand the command structure, nomenclature and most importantly, the mission.”
Nearing retirement, Cynthia became intrigued with information systems work while volunteering in the information management division (IMD) at WRAMC. Upon her military release in 1998, she worked as a help-desk technician for a big-name DoD contractor that held the IMD contract. Compelled by TIAG’s unique, family-oriented company culture, Cynthia moved over to TIAG.
“I discovered that big companies don’t value employees individually the way TIAG does,” she says, revealing that when her contract role was eventually phased out at WRAMC, TIAG could have easily let her go “like the larger companies typically do.” But that didn’t happen.
“Focusing on my training and expertise, TIAG leaders asked me what I wanted to do next. Based on my recommendation that there was a growing need for information assurance within DoD organizations, TIAG managed to create a new IA position for me that wasn’t previously on the WRAMC contract,” she says.
In turn, Cynthia’s expertise helped create a new IA footprint for TIAG within the industry.
Reflecting on the TIAG mantra, “proudly serving those who serve,” Cynthia says TIAG’s practice of valuing and empowering veterans in their military-to-civilian transition is a win-win for vets and TIAG customers alike.
“TIAG places veterans in specific roles where they can immediately apply the leadership skills and expertise we learn in the military,” she says. “DoD customers benefit because these prior service members already understand the command structure, nomenclature and most importantly, the mission.”
This rapid “information transfer” is valuable not just in terms of decreased training time and costs — it’s also beneficial for veterans to be placed in roles where they are truly valued and can make a difference.
From Cynthia’s perspective, TIAG’s corporate culture fused with the rich military history of TIAG’s own leadership goes far to support transitioning veterans. “It’s much easier for a veteran to transition to TIAG from military service because TIAG takes a different approach to recruiting, professional development and employee retention,” she explains.
To other veterans interested in joining the esprit de corps ranks of TIAG, Cynthia says, TIAG is vastly different from other companies.
“TIAG advanced my career path by offering a professional development program that allowed me to take numerous training and certification classes I wanted to complete,” she says. “The positive feedback and appreciation I consistently receive from TIAG leaders boosts my self-esteem and inspires me to continue exceeding customer expectations.”
Cynthia says the most rewarding part of her job is being empowered by her employer to help her customer surmount hurdles and achieve desired outcomes. And most important, she says, TIAG treats employees like family members.
“Whenever I’ve had personal challenges or memorable life events over the years — from my mom’s kidney transplant to my recent marriage — TIAG was generous and supportive of me and my family,” she says.