Honoring Veterans: A Moment in Time with Scott Radcliffe
On Veterans Day we celebrate and honor the people who have given their time, energy and commitment to serving their country. Our FH Perspectives team sat down with an outstanding member of our team and U.S. Army Veteran, Scott Radcliffe to learn more about his experience as a veteran and FleishmanHillard employee. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Scott served in the U.S. Army. Scott joined FleishmanHillard in 2015, and now as senior vice president, leads the firm’s Global Data Security and Privacy efforts.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I grew up in Ohio but moved to Texas once I was assigned to Ft. Hood after graduating from West Point. Met my wife [Mandie], who graduated from the University of Texas, and I have been here ever since. I played football and rugby in college and now spend my time playing zone defense against my three girls who are 7, 5 and 1.
In which military branch did you serve? What was your rank? Where did you serve? What was your job?
I was in the Army and ended up leaving the service as a captain. I was stationed at Ft. Knox and Ft. Hood but was deployed to Iraq twice and New Orleans once to help with response and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
While I was in the military, I was a tank platoon leader, scout platoon leader, scout troop executive officer and then finally speechwriter to the Multi-National Corps-Iraq Commanding General.
What’s your favorite memory of serving in the military?
My favorite memory is probably after we found a soup kitchen still functioning about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I was able to convince our squadron commander to allow me to set-up my troop headquarters at the kitchen to make sure the pastor running the kitchen didn’t have his supplies taken. It was great to get to know him and even better to help Americans who were in need after spending 15 months deployed across Iraq.
How did your military career prepare you for the work you do today?
For one – I was first exposed to the concept of cybersecurity while on the Commanding General’s staff. I would say throughout it helped me learn how to manage and deal with pressure, and work through problems and challenges.
Tell us about your decision to begin a career in communications after your military career.
Some of it was driven out of necessity. I was looking for a job in the middle of the economic downturn and many in HR didn’t know quite what to make of my experience, so I had to focus on the experience that stood out the most clearly in my resume. Secondly, I enjoyed the challenge after finding my footing as a speechwriter. It wasn’t realistic experience in the sense that it was more about identifying which high-level opportunities the general would participate in, but it really gave me a taste for the critical need to tell stories at a high-level. The opportunity to work with a variety of organizations at an agency was also very appealing as well.
How has your experience as a veteran impacted your life? Your work at FleishmanHillard?
The different perspective the experience gave me has been useful. It can be challenging, and it certainly was early on as I was having to learn skills most in the industry were able to in college or internships on the fly, but I generally enjoy having a perspective that is informed by a slightly different experience than most of my colleagues.
What advice would you give to veterans who are looking to transition from a military career to communications?
I think my advice would be the same regardless of the field – network. I have yet to get a job by applying online. Some of that has to do with the fact that our experience in the military isn’t easy for many recruiters to translate, but much of it is because it’s the most effective way to do what aligns with your passions. The best way to get there is by meeting people and eventually getting in front of the right person at the right time who’s aware of the right opportunity.
Why is celebrating unique perspectives and diversity important to you? To FleishmanHillard?
The reason I think my military experience has been beneficial is a pretty good example of why diversity is important. Our clients demand creativity and work they can’t do on their own. It certainly takes a team of very smart and capable people, but it also takes people who bring their different perspectives to the problem we’re trying to solve for them. It could be direct experience with a certain audience or even a nuanced way to execute something – but having homogenous teams leads to groupthink and stale ideas, which is a good way to lose clients.
How does FleishmanHillard allow you to be your authentic self?
The beauty of this firm is the latitude it gives you to chase after what you want to do. I’ve been able to do some fascinating work that may not be possible at other firms because I wouldn’t be in the right office or have the right title. Finding that work and even the potential to find that work is really what makes me excited to go to work every day – and I hope everyone at FleishmanHillard appreciates that because it’s simply not the reality everywhere in the industry.