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From Army to Aetna

Coming to Aetna: A rewarding career move

Dwayne Stanton is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and career Army officer whose last assignment was a posting to the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana. Duane lives in Jacksonville, Fla., where he works as a Senior Business Program/Project Manager in Complaints, Grievances and Appeals. He shares his story about his transition to Aetna.

Since making the transition to the world of health insurance, many people have asked me how it feels to be part of the civilian workforce.  The truth is, the environment at Aetna is not unlike many of my experiences in the Army.

The move to corporate America has been comforting and familiar. Aetna and the Army maintain the same values, aspire to be great leaders and recognize that people matter. Leaving the Army was a difficult decision, but walking through the doors at Aetna was a rewarding career move.

Army values are Aetna values

Ethical behavior begins and ends with doing the right thing for the right reasons. This concept is drilled into a soldier every day. Evaluations and promotions are tied to how well you understand and live Army values -- loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

Aetna employees are challenged to embrace similar values: integrity, excellence, caring and inspiration. Aetna also demands excellence from our workforce and leaders at all times.

It takes caring and compassion to truly understand one another. Misunderstandings in the Army, and certainly here at Aetna, can have devastating consequences. Inspiration is the foundation for transformation in any organization. Good Army and Aetna leaders inspire others and promote an environment that embraces change.

Leadership is leadership

You don’t have to be taking fire from the enemy while hunkered down in a foxhole to demonstrate good leadership. In fact, I have seen sound Army-like leadership principles exercised every day at Aetna. Teaching, coaching and mentoring are embedded in the practices of both organizations. Setting expectations and providing ongoing feedback are critical components of leader development. Aetna and the Army both embrace this practice.

Leadership by example is the most effective and meaningful tool a leader has. The Army places great emphasis on the idea of not asking others to do what we would not do ourselves. I have seen this leadership principle in action at Aetna. Competent leaders demonstrate their mastery of a subject by taking the time to teach and train others who might be struggling.

People are our core business

The Army and Aetna are in the people business. We can't be successful without taking care of people. For Aetna, this mission is twofold: employees and customers. Our employees must feel cared for and appreciated. This in turn will translate into better service for our customers. We must remind ourselves that we exist to take care of our people.

In a similar way, the Army’s customer is the American people. Leaders are charged with ensuring the well-being of solders and family members. This directly translates into the Army’s capacity to care for and protect our great citizens. We make sacrifices to care for our customers, because they matter to us. 

Aetna is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status. If you have a disability and need an accommodation to apply for a job or during the selection process, please call 1-800-AetnaHR (1-800-238-6247). If you need a qualified interpreter, written information in other formats, translation or other services, call 1-800-558-0860. Equal employment opportunity is the law.

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