US Army 1995 to 2005
Salesforce Consultant Freelance
Why did you join the military?
I joined the Army at the tender age of 17. I was following in the footsteps of one of my childhood friend and big sis Rachene, who is now deceased. RIP! She took me under her wing at a young age. I really looked up to her. When she joined the Army, I was in my first semester in college, I started college early a year before my peers, so I wasn’t at the same level as my classmates and I just couldn’t focus. I was wondering the halls one day and there was my recruiter at the right place at the right time. And within 6 months I was off to bootcamp to follow in Rachene’s footsteps.
What was your role and your responsibilities while you were serving?
I was telecommunications cable systems installers. We ensured the telephones and telecommunication systems were installed and operational. First in, Last out!
What are you most proud of?
I am extremely proud of my travel experiences during my Military career. I’ve been a Soldier, a DOD contractor, a GS Civilian and a military spouse. throughout my service, I’ve traveled to, served in, and lived in many destinations. Most notable for me were Egypt and South Korea.
What is the one thing you miss about your time in the military?
The camaraderie is the thing I miss the most. My battle buddies had my back. We created bonds and life long relationships, we went through hell, war and back and we did it together. When you couldn’t reach a family member, when you couldn’t make it home to attend a family event, when the holidays came around at the end of the year every year–these are the people we spent Thanksgiving with, had Secret Santas with, burned our first fried turkeys together, attempting to cook holiday meals, lol.
Where did you grow up, what kind of family did you come from?
I grew up in Long Island, NY, to a single mother of 4 children. I was the second-to-oldest child and suffered from middle child syndrome. I was super smart as a child so I did just enough to get by. I didn’t learn true discipline until I joined the military and realize how important my contributions were to the overall team and to the mission. I realized I now had a purpose.
What challenges or blessings stand out from your history?
Joining the Army at 17 changed my life. I don’t know where I would be otherwise, But the decision I made at 17 to join the Army allowed me to buy my first home before the age of 30, to travel the world, to earn an education, and make lifelong relationships.
How did you find Merivis? What about the program made you join?
I found Merivis through a post in the Vetforce community. I knew I needed to level up. I received my first certification on my own, and I attended a virtual training class through Vetforce. However, when I began my job search, I was having a hard time landing my first role.
I decided that I would attend App Builder. And the experience was incredible. At this time I was transitioning from being self-employed for two years back to the technology/IT field. I had to borrow money just to attend onsite in Austin. I barely had money for meals during my stay. But my battle buddies (and now friends) understood my hardship and offered to help. This was a humbling experience for me to have to say aloud that I couldn’t afford the trip. But in my gut, I knew this experience would be a game changer.
After I landed my second App Builder certification, the flood gates began to open. I still had hurdles to overcome, but it felt great to now get interviews and callbacks. I continued to work with my Coach and other Alumni to sharpen my interview skills and I went on to land my first role.
What is your #MerivisMoment?
My Merivis Moment was being in Texas for training cohort and simultaneously being able to celebrate my birthday with the Merivis community. I had no expectations, but the outpouring of love was super special and emotionally moving. I truly felt loved and appreciated by my fellows and the community. It was an experience that I will never forget.
What are your career goals now that you are Salesforce certified?
My career goals are to become A Miracle Marketing Architect. I will continue the marketing and Artificial Intelligence path and hopefully I can create a model for others to follow. I originally thought that I had to be an Admin before I could pursue my marketing journey. But this is simply not true.
What is one skill or value military and/or military spouses have that would benefit a hiring organization?
My ability to communicate and connect with people. My Military background has allowed me to influence and be influenced by people from all walks of life.
Sum up your Merivis experience in just one word.
If you could give one piece of advice to new students going through the Merivis program, what would that be?
To network and share your journey with others. Each and every person comes to the program with unique skills and brings value to each class. The connections that I have established with my classmates gos beyond just looking for a new career. It truly does feel like a family. We are very much invested in each other’s success. Not just in Salesforce, in our overall lives.
How has your life and/or career changed as a result of the Merivis program, resources, and community?
Absolutely. My personal and professional networks have grown. I have achieved certifications that would otherwise be difficult to get own my own if I completed self-study only.
Of the people you met in the military, who had the biggest impact on you and why?
One of my battle buddies taught me the importance of savings and financial management at a young age, and it had a huge impact on the way manage my finances. This was key for me.
What’s something that you get out of Merivis that you don’t find anywhere else?
Access to committed, one-of-a-kind leaders like Kate P, Hector P, Joe C., Stephanie H., Nolan M., Misty F. We get to watch our alumni graduate and take the reins from those that come before them. And we continue to pass the torch and shine light on the next class of freshman students.
A lot of people talk about community when we talk to them about Merivis. What do you like about the Merivis community?
That Merivis is a high-touch program. The Merivis Fellows/Alumni get ongoing opportunities to network, to grow, to be mentored and coached. We maintain Cohort camaraderie even after the training is completed through our cohort networks. We celebrate each other’s success and we support each other through our failures. We motivate one another to keep on going and we give back to others.
How would you describe the people you’ve connected to through Merivis?
Committed. Supportive. Leaders. Trailblazers.
If you could add something to Merivis, what would it be?
An apprenticeship program to accompany the great training and mentoring. It would be ideal to have paid apprenticeships for students who are seeking new employment opportunities or who are looking to gain experience and employment opportunities.
Connect with Merivis Graduate, LaRon Butler on Linkedin