Stories of WYWM - Success Story by Leo Asuncion

Mel O'Sullivan - November 1, 2021

Migrating to Australia was a decision that I should say was not so difficult even if it meant leaving behind a progressive military career. ‘Why’, you might all ask. My answer is simple, it was very easy simply because I believe that many can take over my rank and position in the very huge organization like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but nobody can replace me as a husband and a father to my growing children who were at that time already residing here in Australia. 

I did not however, realize that starting a new career in a foreign land is going to be an uphill battle. My experiences and skills as a veteran seem to be insufficient in the eyes of recruiters and companies.  I did odd jobs to help my wife in our finances raising our three young children. Until I got a job with a logistics company supplying electrical and plumbing requirements of the construction industry in Canberra and its neighbouring regions.  From a store person, I was offered by the regional manager the stock control position of the warehouse.  This gave me the opportunity to learn about a database solution for business processes. I went through a two-day orientation and training at the main office in Sydney and then a hundred hours calling my mentors for questions as I learn more about the system and application.    

Then came an opportunity for me to join a project delivery team as a contractor for a government agency that rolled out the New Generation Desktop / End User Computing for the agency. Not have much knowledge of data analytics, I learned as much as I could in the role. When the project was terminated, I was unemployed for a couple of months.  It was this time that I came across ‘WithYouWithMe’ through an active member of the Australian Defence Force, who told me to explore what ‘WithYouWithMe’ can offer.  Desperate to get back to the work force, though hesitant at first knowing I am not an Australian veteran, I attempted to connect. My circumstances were reviewed until I got a positive response. I even received a call from Tom Moore, I guess to reach out to a fellow veteran and know more about me, and that time I do not even know who he is in the company. The conversation I should say was very casual but accommodating and friendly. The company provided me access to its IT courses available online for free.  I enrolled in the basic IT Fundamental Courses, knowing well my limitation in data analytics and later ‘Fundamentals of Project Management’.  After several months of applying for work, I started another job as a contractor for a company that works for the government under its Defence and National Security account. Instead of working for a project, I did administrative work where I felt my potential was not fully utilized.  My contract was abruptly cut short and was again unemployed for more than year, a period when getting back to work was very difficult because of COVID-19.   

A new opportunity came when a company required a Stock Administrator for the Chief Information Officer Group of the Department of Defence.  Working for the project New Generation Desktop and having experience as Stock Control of a logistics company, I was immediately hired. As I progressed as a Stock Administrator for the warehouse, I was given additional role as Disposal Officer that required me to liaise and collaborate with the clients directly and other stakeholders. My career in logistics was in a full swing but I still felt that the potential for career growth was limited, because of the very traditional structure of the business where seniority matters. I was confined to my role and   had limited interaction with the organization. Nonetheless, I did my role to the best of my ability, and 2 months into the role, the company awarded me a star award for client satisfaction because of the positive client feedbacks.  It was then that I received a call from Josh Vogel, asking me if I am interested in a role as Systems Applications and Products (SAP) Associate.  Without any hesitation and reservation, I agreed to go through the selection process.  After a little more than a week, an offer was emailed by Josh after a long chat about the role and what were the expectations.  Though hesitant because of the “what ifs”, I accepted the offer and informed my current employer then. 

Going through the onboarding process facilitated by Courtney Banman, was truly an outstanding way of learning about the company and the people behind its growth.  The entire process, though online, allowed me to have a grasp about the company that made me proud to be a part of an organization that helps employees to be the best they can be.  After getting my Certificate as SAP Associate, I am fully ready for deployment, knowing that my company will continue to support me.  I thank the people behind my first success story with WithYouWithMe: Josh Vogel, Mel O’Sullivan, Scott Bird, Jessie Gaudry and Daniel Scully. 

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