After-Action Report: RVM #49 with Julia Ruddock

Many thanks to Julia Ruddock (USMA ’07) for taking the speaker’s chair tonight to introduce herself as the newest member of the RINGKNOCKER team!

Julia is Director of Career Services at West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), the alumni association of the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. She consults with company leaders and talent management teams on strategies to attract, hire and retain West Point alumni for pretty much any operation across a wide variety of industries.

With a focus on ensuring alignment at both the individual and systemic levels, Julia and her team have helped scores of companies hire hundreds of transitioning military and industry-experienced alumni into roles that are mostly never posted online. In less than two years since their 2019 launch, Julia’s WPAOG Career Services team became an award-winner that now provides thought leadership to peer institutions on how to enhance alumni career services programs that serve a diverse talent pool like the Long Gray Line.

At RINGKNOCKER Meetups, we have observed that it is difficult to explain the relevance of heavy weapons proficiency to a hiring manager who has never pulled a trigger. My position has always been that I would rather not HAVE to. There are plenty of veterans out there in positions of authority. Why not go work for somebody who doesn’t NEED your value explained to them in finger-paint?

This is Julia’s bread and butter. She and her team excel at walking right past the Human Resources desk, banging down the door of the warfare-qualified knuckle-dragger who actually needs the work done, and offering the services of men and women whose bona fides are beyond reproach to those who already know.

Julia does not lightly accept no for an answer, but one wonders how often she really has to. 🤣

So what is Julia’s role at RINGKNOCKER?

The RINGKNOCKER team has achieved mastery at promoting a particular kind of virtual event, conducting it, and then squeezing maximum content from the result. Think of us as a well-oiled, well-served piece of heavy artillery: we’re ready to knock out any target within range. One shot, one kill!

But here’s where we could use some help:

  1. Target selection. In our context, this might mean the acquisition of guest speakers that better serve our community, or the production of other events that serve particular niches.
  2. Follow-up. Given that we nailed a target, how do we exploit the result with maximum advantage to our shipmates?

These are the sorts of problems that Julia solves daily. So I have invited her to grab a shovel and pitch into daily operations: currently, Julia is writing descriptions for upcoming events. And while she is at it, I hope Julia will explore any opportunity to leverage RINGKNOCKER’s considerable capabilities to serve the interests of the West Point AoG and of the larger veteran officer community.

My thesis is that what’s good for Julia is probably pretty good for the rest of us as well. And this is a model we can replicate: we look forward to serving Julia’s counterparts at other institutions as opportunities arise.

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