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After the Military: U.S. Army Veteran Gafatasi Fuimaono Discusses His Experience Transitioning to the Civilian Workforce

Gafatasi “Tasi” Fuimaono retired from the U.S. Army in July of 2022, after 23 years of service and multiple deployments. A week later, he joined Comcast NBCUniversal as a project manager. The transition from military to civilian life can be a daunting process, but it’s also an exciting time for service members to explore new opportunities. Tasi’s story is proof that with the right support and resources, veterans can successfully navigate this transition and find meaningful careers in the civilian workforce. Here, we learn more about his journey from soldier to project manager and how his military experience has helped him find success in his new role.

First, what attracted you to Comcast NBCUniversal?

I was connected to Comcast through the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program. What stood out about the company was its commitment to military hiring and its strong support of the military community. I was also impressed by the company’s Veteran Network—an employee resource group with more than 9,000 members—and all the other benefits for military-connected employees. It was clear to me that the company values the skills and experiences of veterans, and I knew it would be the perfect place to launch the next phase of my career.

What are some of the major challenges you encountered during your transition to the civilian workforce and how did you overcome them?

At first, I experienced a significant culture shock. After spending more than two decades in the Army, often in extremely regimented and high-stress environments, it was difficult to adjust to the pace and expectations of the civilian workplace. The new work environment was less formal, and there was a greater emphasis on individual initiative and creativity. However, the Hiring Our Heroes program allowed me to get a behind-the-scenes look at corporate culture and learn what it would take to be successful in the civilian sector. I also had a strong support system at Comcast. At the start of my fellowship, I was welcomed by other veterans at the company who had experienced what I was going through and who were there to mentor me as I adapted to my new situation.

How has your military service prepared you for your current role?

I joined the Army as a Field Artillery Surveyor and later served as a Recruiter, before retiring as a sergeant first class. Although I never held the title of project manager, I gained many transferable skills and attributes that have helped me succeed in the civilian workforce, including discipline, resilience, integrity, and a strong work ethic. I learned how to be an effective communicator, how to perform under pressure, and the importance of teamwork and collaboration. I also learned strategic thinking and planning. I was trained to develop and execute plans in complex and dynamic environments. This experience can be highly valuable for leaders in the civilian workforce who are often charged with making crucial decisions and planning for the long-term success of their organizations.

What excites you about your new position and your team’s mission?

As a member of Comcast NBCUniversal’s Military and Veteran Affairs team, I help create an inclusive workplace for military teammates and special experiences for military customers and communities. The role allows me to stay connected to the military, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my service to the country by helping address some of the biggest challenges facing veterans and their families today. We’re doing amazing things for the military community—from advancing digital equity to connecting veterans and military spouses to meaningful careers—and it’s an honor to be part of that effort.

What advice would you give to service members who are looking to make the move from the military to the civilian workforce?

I strongly encourage them to take advantage of all the resources and benefits available to them as service members, especially the GI Bill and workforce development programs like Hiring Our Heroes. They shouldn’t wait until they separate from the military to start thinking about their next steps. Preparation is key—I can’t stress that enough. It’s best to begin researching early and identify career paths that match their experience and interests. After that, they should determine what their transferable military skills are and how to effectively communicate them to civilian employers. They should also consider networking with other veterans who have successfully transitioned to civilian life.

Learn more about Comcast NBCUniversal's Military Engagement initiatives here.