Veterans Unite: Honoring Experience, Nurturing Wellness

November is a time to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices that our veterans and military families have made for the United States. They embody strength, resilience and courage. In 1996, Congress designated November as the National Veterans and Military Family Month to thank service members and their families for all their hard work and bravery, and honor those who have died in the pursuit of freedom.  

Meet Gavin Chapman, Mortgage Loan Originator, and Jason Kahn, Senior Staff Partnership Specialist, who are both members of the SoFi Circle (employee resource group) known as Vets@SoFi. The Circle’s mission is to create a network to generate cultural awareness of veteran service and experiences within SoFi Technologies, promoting a culture of inclusion, belonging and allyship with the broader SoFi community. Below, Gavin and Jason share about the importance of celebrating National Veterans and Military Family Month, and the importance of honoring the veteran experience and nurturing wellness for veterans and their families.

Gavin and Jason, it’s such a pleasure to talk with you both about National Veterans and Military Family Month. To start, can you tell me a bit about your role at SoFi Technologies?

Gavin: I joined SoFi as a mortgage intern in March of this year. I was promoted to mortgage loan originator this past May, and in this role I help our borrowers use their home equity for mostly home improvement and debt consolidation projects. Our process often spans more than 30 days, so, I spend my time fostering meaningful relationships with our borrowers and I explore ways to help them with their financial readiness.

Gavin Chapman Banner

Jason: I will be celebrating my 5th year anniversary at SoFi next month. I am a Senior Campus Relationship Director (SCRD) and Sales Effectiveness Leader. As a SCRD, I build and manage relationships with College and University Financial Aid Offices to promote SoFi's private student loans throughout New England. As the sales effectiveness leader, I am responsible for all sales tools, conference planning and strategy.

Jason Kahn Banner

Thank you both, now let’s jump in. From your perspective, what is the importance of National Veterans and Military Families Month and how are you celebrating it?

Gavin: For me, it’s about remembering that our friends around the world aspire to live with the comforts that we do. I celebrate this often with my friends and family through phone calls and shared meals. I think it is important to uphold these values as best as we can in honor of our service members and their families who have supported them along the way.

Jason: I firmly believe that our military provides us, as U.S. citizens, our freedom. I believe military personnel should be celebrated year-round, not just on Veterans Day, but this month is important because it spotlights these courageous individuals and hopefully starts some conversations about taking care of them when they come home. I celebrate by thanking the people in my life who have served and remembering the ones that are no longer with us. 

Your Circle’s theme to celebrate the month was “Veterans Unite: Honoring Experience, Nurturing Wellness,” can you tell me about the theme and its significance to you?

Gavin: This theme speaks to the camaraderie that all service members share. We are trained to endure hardship and to find a solution to problems, no matter the level of difficulty. A common experience that every veteran shares is the ability to be gritty and steadfast in the face of uncertainty.

Jason: Having never been in the military but being the son of a Vietnam Vet Marine Sergeant, I grew up knowing the battles that are faced by our veterans. Mental wellness is not discussed enough for all of us, but truly among veterans.  

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During your company-wide programming this month, you’ve emphasized that veterans and military families embody strength, resilience and courage. In what way does your experience as a Veteran/ family member highlight our company-wide value, “Run after Problems?”

Gavin: As a leader in the U.S. Army, it was my job to anticipate and respond to any issues that can hinder the mission at hand. The value of 'Run after Problems' alludes to this mindset and focuses on resolving issues for the betterment of the organization. It takes courage to assume responsibility for problems and this disposition is the strength of the American service member. 

Jason: As family and friends, we support the true heroes who "Run after Problems." The leaders of our Circle also do this very well and are always thinking of our team members who may need assistance without knowing how to ask for it. 

We’ve covered so many great things your circle is doing this month to celebrate National Veterans and Military Families Month. I’d love to know, what is your favorite part about being a member of Vets@SoFi?

Gavin: I love that we champion military service here at SoFi. Our company values the intangible strengths that selfless service brings and I am proud to be amongst a group that capitalizes on these values. Vets@SoFi is comprised of veterans, junior and seasoned, which makes for fruitful and delightful conversations through the workday.

Jason: Seeing the true care that each member shows for one another. A lot of our Circle members have been through similar circumstances and know that they belong in this group. 

During this month Vets@SoFi participated in RED Friday. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when civilians wear an article of red clothing on Fridays as a reminder to all to Remember Everyone Deployed (creating the acronym RED). Jason and Gavin, why are movements like Red Friday so important to the military community?

Gavin: RED Friday is important to the military community because it is a respectful nod to the sacrifices made by those who've served and the families that have stood by them. It is a small gesture that shows our all-volunteer force that they are supported and valued as a special group within our society.

It shows our support. Red Friday is actually every Friday of every week. It shows our solidarity and support for all military personnel regardless of rank or location.  

Next, I want to discuss what our readers can do to support this month. What can allyship look like, from civilians and military families, to support veterans and military personnel this month?

Veterans and military personnel have a multitude of stories about overcoming adversity. I'd encourage an ally of veterans to take time this month to ask about their experience during their time in service. They will surely find parallels and values that they can apply to their own life and experiences.  

Thank them for their service. Regardless of what rank and where they served, they served. They made a sacrifice for this country and for everyone in it.

Gavin, thank you for your service to our country, and thank you, Jason, for telling us how you and your family support veterans during this important month. SoFi is lucky to have you both!

(This Is How 'RED Friday' Became a Thing and Why It Still Matters Today, 2018)

The individuals featured are SoFi employees. 
Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.

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Chloe Lombardo, Talent Brand @ SoFi