From the Navy to Nutanix

Chassidy’s Journey Beyond the Military

By Raven Willis

July 25, 2023 | min
Chassidy Zeno


Meet Chassidy Zeno, the Navy medic who dove headfirst into "corporate" as a DOD Skillbridge intern for Nutanix's People team. The DOD Skillbridge Program assists active duty service members in their last days of service by connecting them to internship opportunities in fields they'd like to pursue. For example, Chassidy worked closely with several of our People and HR teams. 

Recognizing the intersections between her unique military healthcare background and her role in HR has enabled Chassidy to make an impact while having the flexibility to cherish cherishing moments with her family. Keep reading as Chassidy reflects on her journey to Nutanix and shares some valuable insight on how she’s adapted to the civilian workforce using her military experiences.

Chassidy: “Joining the military was a life-changing decision, but so was the moment I had to leave. From my hometown of Las Vegas, I embarked on a challenging journey in the Navy, starting with intense boot camp and training to become a medic. The experience of being away from my family was difficult, but it forged my hunger to serve.

My first duty station took me to Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, where I immersed myself in the rich culture, formed deep connections, and even climbed Mt. Fuji multiple times. Three years later, as I prepared to relocate to another station in California, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, everything changed. Orders were canceled, and I found myself trapped, unable to be with my family or continue my military career.

During this time of uncertainty, I made the decision to prioritize the well-being of my loved ones and seek quality time with them. The passing of my father further reinforced the importance of being with them. As my mental health declined, a glimmer of hope emerged through the DOD SkillBridge program, which offered a chance to gain valuable corporate experience while being closer to my family. 

Chassidy surprised her mother with flowers and a home visit.

Finding and Preparing for a Job:

I soon discovered Nutanix, which initially seemed foreign given my healthcare background. However, Aaron, a Veteran and my Nutanix recruiter helped me identify the parallels between my skills as a medic and the role in HR with the People Team and the DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) team. Taking my heavily healthcare-focused “brag sheet” and turning it into a corporate role-related resume was almost a bit of a nightmare until I realized that Nutanix wasn’t looking for perfection; they’re looking for unique people with diverse perspectives.

In addition to the resume, the interview process in the civilian world is different from military boards. Translating military jargon and acronyms into civilian language was crucial, so I reached out to prior veterans like Aaron, who provided helpful tips and advice. For example, taking the time to describe not just the duties related to my military job, but what I personally did while in that role specifically.

Job and Mind Orientation:

Veterans bring a lot of qualities and skills to the workforce. The dedication, teamwork, and core values that have been drilled into us from the first day of boot camp. Veterans have a strong work ethic and are accustomed to working under pressure in challenging environments. 

Starting my new role at Nutanix meant creating structure would be critical for me as a veteran transitioning to civilian life. Although I was used to a very clear hierarchy structure and the military's rules and regulations, I had to adapt and overcome it. Leveraging my military core values, and keeping the phrase Semper Gumby, meaning "Always Flexible," in mind helped me throughout this process. However, one of the easier transitions moving into my role at Nutanix was being able to leave behind the 24/7 sailor mindset and spend more time with my family without fear of being called away. 

Leaving the military also means leaving behind the safety net of military benefits and support. Looking for a strong veteran community to provide aid, advice, and networking opportunities was a game-changer for me. Nutanix, named a top company for veterans, is not only affiliated with the SkillBridge program but has a prevalent employee-led veteran support community called Project Victory.

Just the Beginning:

This transformative internship has helped me recognize that my ability to adapt, problem-solve, and remain resilient in the face of adversity are skills that we veterans can contribute to any organization. Leaving the military was not easy, but it led me to a world of new possibilities. Nutanix has provided me with opportunities to expand my skills, connect with passionate individuals, and navigate the transition from the military to the civilian workforce. One of my chiefs used to say “One team, one fight.” and I often think about how that relates to the values and culture at this company.

With Nutanix as my guiding light, I'm now embarking on a career where I can continue to make a difference and still be there for my family. I look forward to making a positive impact in my career at Nutanix and beyond.”

Thank you Chassidy for sharing your unique journey and #LifeAtNutanix! If you're ready to join the ranks of our misfit dream team, take a peek at our open job roles here. And while you're at it, check out our programs for veterans.

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