From the military to marketing.
Chief Media Officer and US Marine Corps veteran Tony Wells shares his journey from serving in the military to finding a passion for marketing.
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May marks Military Appreciation Month, a time to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. This month, we’re sharing stories from V Teamers who are a part of the military community, from active reservists and veterans to military spouses.
We’re kicking off the month by highlighting Tony Wells, Verizon’s Chief Media Officer, and a US Marine Corps veteran.
Building a strong foundation.
As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and later a Marine, Tony spent nine years in uniform. Before his move to the corporate workplace, he was a Public Affairs Officer, serving as the chief communications contact for the military in the local community.
While navigating from the military to the business world was an adjustment, Tony says his time as a service member laid a strong foundation for later roles in corporate communications and helped him ultimately discover his passion for marketing.
“Marketing is storytelling grounded in good consumer and customer insight,” Tony said. “I was very fortunate to find something that I really love to do, which is marketing. I’ve been blessed in that regard.”
Welcomed to the V Team with open arms.
At Verizon, Tony leads the marketing team that is responsible for amplifying Verizon’s message in the marketplace through media platforms, digital marketing, sponsorships, partnerships, and experiential marketing.
“It’s a really fun job where we get to amplify amazing stories,” Tony said. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of the CMO organization that’s entrusted with our brand.”
When he first joined the V Team, Tony says he was welcomed with open arms, from meeting other veterans at the company through the Verizon VALOR employee resource group (ERG) to seeing how senior leaders also take time to celebrate veterans and their service.
“I’ve been very impressed with how open the organization is to embracing and supporting veterans. I was pleasantly surprised by the extent of our military outreach, and the programs and support we have. We should feel really proud as an organization for what we have accomplished and how we’ve connected and demonstrated our commitment to the military community.” - Tony Wells, Cheif Media Officer
Always in service to his team.
While his time in the Marine Corps has come to a close, the lessons and loyalty live on. There are many values that Tony learned in the military that he carries with him in his role as Verizon’s Chief Media Officer — one of the most significant being servant leadership.
“To me being a servant leader means that you’re first and foremost focused on the mission of what you’re trying to accomplish, but one of your primary roles is that you have to be in service to your team instead of vice versa,” Tony shared. “I fundamentally believe that my role should be to help, inspire, guide, and inform my team so they can do the best job possible.”
To those transitioning from the military, Tony shares his advice on entering the civilian workforce.
- Never underestimate what you’ve learned and done in service, especially as it relates to leading and managing people. Use the vast resources, tools, and programs available to assist you in your journey.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow veterans and ask for advice. Remember that they are people who have gone through this and can provide support during your transition.
- Bring the same level of tenacity that you had as a military service member. That tenacity and intuitiveness won’t fail you as you start your journey to find your next career chapter.
It’s important today and every day to thank our service members for making the ultimate sacrifice. To those who have served or are currently serving, thank you.