American Family recognized as supportive employer for veterans
Company earns VETS Indexes Employer Award for the first time
For the first time, American Family has earned a VETS Indexes Employer Award. Employee Jason Pixley has benefitted from the company's support of veterans and wants to pay it forward.
When Jason Pixley started working as a trainer with American Family Insurance in 2015, he wasn’t comfortable in a corporate culture. Pixley had served in the U.S. Marines from 1997 to 2001 and then attended college and graduate school. But he still felt unprepared for the corporate world.
“I had my formal education, but I didn’t have the corporate skills. In the military it’s difficult to develop those,” Pixley said.
Eight years later, with the help of a supportive manager and from veterans across the company, Pixley strongly feels he belongs at American Family – so strongly that he wants other veterans to know it would be a great employer for them, too.
“One of the things I struggled with at the beginning – that I think other veterans may struggle with – was being empathetic when people got upset about things that felt somewhat trivial to me. I needed to work on that,” he said.
“My manager was open-minded enough to see that and help me through it," Pixley said. "She gave me a safe space to express my thoughts and helped me see other perspectives. I could have frank conversations with her – and you see that throughout the company.”
Connecting with other veterans
And it wasn’t just Pixley’s manager who helped him feel he belonged. About a year after becoming an employee, he learned about the Veteran’s and Military Business Resource Group or VMBRG, one of a number of employee-led affinity groups that provide networking, education and input on business practices and decisions, particularly regarding diversity and inclusion. Through this group he gained mentors and friends who were veterans themselves and understood what he was going through.
“The veteran experience is very different than that of people who start working straight from college,” he said. “I just wasn’t as polished. People were really willing to take time out of their calendars to help me develop.”
Company recognized by VETS Indexes
Pixley’s experience at the company was recently affirmed when American Family was recognized by VETS Indexes for the first time as an employer that supports veterans.
The company achieved recognition as a four-star employer, the second-highest level awarded by the organization.
Participating companies submit detailed information about the following to be considered for recognition:
· Veteran job candidate recruiting and hiring
· Veteran employee support and retention
· Veteran-inclusive company culture
· Support for members of the National Guard and Reserves
· Military spouse/family support
VETS Indexes called out American Family’s support of National Guard and Reserve members, a veteran-inclusive company culture and its programs that help veterans with their career transitions as strengths.
“We are committed to a culture where everyone feels they belong and can do their best work – including our veterans and service members,” said Leslie Bradley, director of inclusive excellence, which leads the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. “As a veteran myself, I’m proud of this recognition and we will continue to champion our efforts to support all employees.”
‘Support they didn’t even realize they needed’
Pixley said his career at American Family has helped him grow in ways he never anticipated. “I can’t even express how much I’ve changed,” he said. “From learning about different people’s backgrounds to hearing so many different perspectives and understanding they’re all based in something.”
Pixley lives in Indiana. His wife is also a U.S. Marine veteran and his daughter works for American Family’s Life Company.
In early 2022, Pixley became a co-lead for the company’s VMBRG. He wanted to play a larger role in continuing to make the company a great place for veterans, including potential talent like his son who’s a member of the U.S. Marine Reserve and about to start looking for his first job.
“I want to help people such as my son – people who are just leaving the military – so they know about what the company has to offer right away in their career journey,” Pixley said. “I want them to know they’re going to get support that they didn’t even realize they needed. There’s so much that you don’t know you don’t know, and here there’s huge group of people who are willing to support you and help you close those gaps.”
About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 232 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.