Moss Adams Voices

Ian Williams: Veterans in Focus

Ian shares what he learned during his time with the US Army, and how we all could be more active in our celebration of Veterans Day.

Ian Williams

Ian Williams, assurance staff, is a US Army veteran. After being discharged, he pursued a master’s in business administration before starting his assurance career at Moss Adams. He relied heavily on his wife, Marketa, during his transition to civilian life, and the non-technical skills he developed during his military experience set him apart when he applied to Moss Adams. Ian talks about what he learned while serving, and encourages everyone to show gratitude to veterans on Veterans Day.

What inspired your decision to enlist?

I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do after college, but I knew I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could achieve if I put my mind to it. I grew up skiing and backpacking, and in college I would go backpacking on my own, but I wanted to do something different that not a lot of people do. The US Army Rangers is a tough team requiring some of those outdoor physical challenges I love, and it allowed me to do something bigger.

What was your experience while serving in the US Army?

It broadened my understanding of the world and the people in it. I grew up in a small town and didn’t go far for college. I met people from all over the country. Joining broadened my view of Americans—there’s a lot of diversity in the US that some people don’t see every day.

The friendships I built during that time are going to be long-lasting. I worked with several leaders and colleagues who have made a huge impact on the way I view leadership and teams, and the way I conduct myself now.

Ian Williams

Can you elaborate on how your time in the US Army impacted your thoughts on leadership?

I was given the opportunity to attend Ranger school during my service. Ranger school teaches people to lead under stressful circumstances. The best leaders I had led by example. A great leader embodies all the characteristics they want to bring out of the people they’re leading.

That’s not exclusive to the military. Here at Moss Adams, we have a great senior team, and that’s because they’ve done the staff work and aren’t above rolling up their sleeves and helping. They’ll stay late with you, and they’re always answering questions.

What led you to seek a career at Moss Adams after your service?

I had a college friend who worked in assurance at Moss Adams, and he had great things to say about his experience. Assurance has interested me since undergrad, so that was always in the back of my mind. I got in contact with an audit partner, who then connected me with the People team. I started in mid-January after finishing graduate school in December.

What are some of the common challenges for veterans after being discharged?

Post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s real and affects a lot of people. Another of the bigger challenges not often addressed is figuring out what you want to do after you get out. I had a different experience because I knew what I wanted to do when I left the Army, and I had a lot of support from my wife, but a lot of veterans enlisted at a young age and never had a path beyond the army.

People are leaving an environment where they have something in common with everyone around them and coming back to civilian life where they don’t have that same connection. Veterans might feel more disconnected, and trying to find our way in the world without the camaraderie we knew is hard. A lot of support is needed to help people find a healthy and fulfilling career. We need people who will give support through mentorship, or even friends who will be there to make sure we can figure out a plan and get started.

Since it’s Veterans Day, and this year’s theme is “Vision: Veterans in Focus,” how can we better support the veteran community?

Take a moment today to think about the sacrifices veterans and their families have made to keep our country safe. The Moss Adams GiveBack platform has a lot of charities that focus on helping veterans. Lead The Way has personal meaning for me, however there are other groups that could use support. Find a group that means something to you.

Veterans Day is about recognizing our existing veterans, the veterans who came before us, and those who will come after. It doesn’t have to be something you think about every day, but take that moment today to reflect and thank a veteran for their service.

How can we better support the veteran community every day?

Mentorship is a great way to support veterans. There are programs to connect veterans with business leaders. There’s also the Veterans business resource group (BRG). Like other BRGs, you can join and support even if it’s not your community so that you’re more aware of the challenges that community faces. If you can, take time to get coffee with a veteran in a mentorship program. It can go a long way.

Think about how to say thank you; whether it’s saying it directly to a veteran, donating to a charity for veterans, or volunteering your time. It helps to acknowledge their sacrifice and say “thank you.”

Go Beyond the Desk

At Moss Adams, we believe in the power of possible to empower our clients and people to pursue success however they define it. Explore stories about our professionals, including their personal achievements, at our Beyond the Desk page.