November 10, 2016

Michael Cole-Fontayn: On why we need to celebrate more Armed Forces role models

Michael Cole Fontayn

Michael Cole-Fontayn


Last week I attended the 2016 City Veterans’ Network London Poppy Day Dinner in London and joined over 400 people from across the serving military and financial services industry to raise important funds for military charities and honour veterans for their tremendous courage on behalf of their country.

I met some truly inspirational people who not only have incredible stories of bravery to share from their time serving overseas in places of conflict, but also have become greatly admired role models in civilian life too. Each proving that when a serviceman or woman leaves the Armed Forces there is a multitude of exciting future career possibilities for them to pursue.

That being said, and despite the many success stories, many former and serving Armed Forces personnel who are starting to think about a new career path outside the military do not always recognise the value they can bring to businesses. Questioning the value of their experience and overlooking the transferable nature of their skills is part of this. Many are also unsure how to make the transition from the military through to a business environment too.

This is why I’m pleased to see so many companies across all sectors, BNY Mellon included, create Returning Military Programmes and Veterans Networks to invest in our heroes from around the world to help them make the transition and recognise their enormous value to the workplace. This is also why BNY Mellon signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in the UK in 2015. 

Leavers of the Armed Forces are hugely appealing candidates to any type of company, particularly those like financial services where a collaborative ethos, a highly organised approach to projects and the ability to work under pressure are of importance to a role.  

I think we need to celebrate and visibly elevate more Armed Forces role models who have built or are building successful new careers outside the military; showing those who may be nervous or hesitant about what their own futures may hold that it can be done and that they possess the valuable skills which companies like BNY Mellon covet. 

Like our own Benjamin Anyan at our London office. He joined BNY Mellon in 2015 through our Returning Military Programme and recently shared how the experiences and lessons he learned in the British Army have carried him successfully into civilian life.

This Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, as nations around the world pay tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of their country, let’s also recognise those who are serving today and together continue to help them transition smoothly back into a society they have so proudly protected and served when they choose to do so.

To learn more about BNY Mellon’s Veterans Network (VetNet) please click here.