One of the main goals of the ViacomCBS Veterans Network is giving back to the people who have served this country. We help veterans forge powerful relationships with mentors and discover great work opportunities with our company and beyond. Senior Executives at ViacomCBS share, in their own words about their experience mentoring veterans at the company, the lessons they’ve learned and the memories they’ve made.In addition, hear from veterans who have been mentored by employees at ViacomCBS.
Chris Simon, Executive Vice President, Sales, CBS Television Network, has been with CBS since 1994. He has been working as a mentor to veterans since 2016. My experience with our Veterans Network has been extremely positive. For example, collaborating on projects, mentoring and most importantly supporting our colleagues in any way we can. My biggest takeaway, not surprisingly, is the dedication shown to our company and the task or project at hand. The professionalism shown is incredible and something we should all learn from. I’ve enjoyed meeting the members of our Veterans Network over the years and getting to know some of my colleagues outside of the office. The leadership by Rich Jones is incredible. Our Veterans Network is a very important part of our company and something that needs to continue grow.
Mike Pannacciulli, Vice President, Global Operations, CBS Interactive, has been working to mentor veterans for several years. I’ve been fortunate enough to be welcomed by a fantastic family of ViacomCBS veterans despite the fact that I’m not a veteran myself. But we share similar passions and interests, and at the core of that is helping the amazing women and men who have served our country in the military. By partnering with veteran mentoring programs like ACP to help mentor veterans who are transitioning from military to corporate life, and having the luxury of working with Betty Diaz on the same team at CBS for several years, it made perfect sense to try and be more active within the group. Plus, if you know Betty – she wouldn’t have it any other way, and I love her for it! I’ve been fortunate enough to hear some amazing stories, take trips with the group, see exclusive movie screenings – the list goes on. Most of all, I’ve met fantastic and dedicated individuals who have hearts of gold and are dedicated to helping veterans. It’s wonderful to know that there are real champions out there for veterans, doing what they can in creative and impactful ways to educate, motivate and inspire the veteran and broader community. It’s selfless, humble, and I’m honored to be a part of it. I remember the Veterans Network hosted a screening featuring a film about World War II in conjunction with Smithsonian Channel at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which is an active aircraft carrier, docked on the West Side of Manhattan. The screening ended with a Q&A with a few of the men featured in that film who flew missions over Europe and were lucky enough to tell about it. To say it was educational and inspiring doesn’t do it justice. The Veterans Network has been hosting other webinar opportunities during the pandemic as well, so it’s great to see how they are adapting and pursing their mission despite the challenges – just what our armed forces members are trained to do every day.
Tiffany Pilgrim, Veterans and Military Relations Coordinator, ViacomCBS Veterans Network, comes to ViacomCBS after previously serving in the U.S. Army. She also previously worked as a veteran intern at Showtime in subscription marketing. As the Veterans and Military Relations Coordinator, I execute community relations internally and externally for the ViacomCBS Veterans Network. Among others, I cultivate relationships with media outlets, including advocating for veteran and military related initiatives. Most of my days are spent doing project management, strategy, and planning for events and producing creative content. The U.S. Army taught me how to drive on through challenges. So, I have learned to constantly adjust my angles with resiliency so that my team makes the most impact for our mission. Great moments bring great memories. So, I must say, I am most proud of our recent and first virtual “Vetworking & Trivia Night” event, which hosted veteran attendees for a fun night of games and networking to combat isolation during these trying times. I have known the ViacomCBS Veterans Network for a number of years, and so far it has been a privilege to be a part of the family.
Melanie Corinne, Social Media Strategist, ViacomCBS Veterans Network, served in the Marine Corps as a Levantine-Arabic Linguist and Intelligence analyst. Before landing in her current role, Corinne was a writers’ room intern for BLUE BLOODS. I was immediately impressed and humbled by the professionalism, warmth and mentorship shown by the entire ViacomCBS Veterans Network team. From day one, working with the VetNet Team has been deeply gratifying. VetNet lets me advocate for our veteran and military community in a way that enriches ViacomCBS, services veterans and furthers my own professional development. VetNet allows for diverse and innovative approaches to service our community, and the team always has the mission in mind. It’s impressive how much one group can get done with shared goals and positive reinforcement – it brought me back to my time as a Marine. The dedication, the passion and the purpose within VetNet feels the same as when I served. Overall, it’s been a phenomenal experience so far. One of the best lessons I’ve learned so far is to ask questions early and often. It’s easy to course-correct and revise when you get feedback in frequent increments, as opposed to waiting until the end of a project, only to have to change the entire thing! The same thing stands for problem-solving and personal setbacks: The sooner you speak up, the sooner a solution can be found – so there is no shame in communicating frequently. I mean I do believe that if left alone long enough, I could fix most of the problems I get help with, but it becomes an issue of using my time most efficiently. If a coworker can explain something in a minute that might take me an hour to figure out myself – it’s more productive to just ask. It’s hard to pick just one memory because every single day ViacomCBS VetNetoffers something fun and new to work on. I’m currently compiling ViacomCBS employees’ (voluntary) responses for our November features; reading their embodied experiences, perspectives and reflections of service or of their family’s service has left me deeply humbled. It’s going to be a privilege to give their voices a platform. Doing this sort of work can help reframe the narrative and allow our collective cultural expectations of what a veteran is to shift and change. If I know anything about ViacomCBS, it’s that the company is committed to engaged storytelling. When VetNet advocates for the military and veteran community, we’re mindfully shaping that narrative in unprecedented ways.