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ViacomCBS Veterans Network Mentor Veterans from the POSSE Foundation

This summer, ViacomCBS VetNet in conjunction with ViacomCBS employees who are Posse alumni themselves, held a virtual career panel and career skills workshop for Posse Veteran Scholars.


Betty Diaz, ViacomCBS VetNet’s Director of Programs & Operations, presented opening remarks and talked about ViacomCBS and the ViacomCBS Veterans Network. After sharing a couple of sizzle reels, she then moderated the career panel and had the Posse scholars introduce themselves to the ViacomCBS guest speakers. Career panelists featured were Vanessa Mendoza, VP of Physical Production at Paramount Pictures; Jim Axelrod, Chief Investigative Sr. National Correspondent at CBS News; Rashaan Dozier-Escalante, SEAL Team Staff Writer/Editor, US Army Reservist Veteran and Rich M. Jones, EVP General Tax Counsel and Chief Veteran Officer, ViacomCBS. Other special guest speakers included, Brandee Williams-Epes, Sr. Director of Global Business Services, Change Management, ViacomCBS; and Starr Fleming, Project Manager, Group Travel & Events, Paramount Pictures and Karla Melara, Manager, Talent Acquisition – Campus to Career at ViacomCBS.


Rich M. Jones shared remarks about the military transition experience. “As you move on,” Rich said, “and start retooling for transition, you’ll need a support system.”


The dialogue between the moderator (Betty Diaz) and panelists unearthed a variety of professional development insights for our veterans, ranging from how to get a foot in the door to how to maintain work-life balance.


When asked about what skills make applicants stand out, Jim Axelrod responded with the idea of failure immunity, saying, “You learn more from your failures than you do your successes.” He advised the scholars to get use to hearing the word “No.”

“Nobody fails,” he said. “They just stop trying.”


Vanessa Mendoza advised becoming the go-to person, who my not have the answers, yet know where to find the experts; always be willing to learn and take initiative.

Rashaan Dozier-Escalante said, “The ability to adapt, overcome, and persevere.”

The panelists offered all-around valuable advice like “we set our own trajectory,” “adversity is the best teacher,” and “don’t lower your expectations, but manage them.”


Brandee Williams-Epes, a Posse alumnus herself, shared her story of how Posse equipped her with all the tools she needed and to ask any question. “Never be afraid to ask the silly questions.” Brandee also advised that connecting with people, and networking, was a vital part of career success.


Karla Melara ran a presentation which discussed the internship program at ViacomCBS, crafting personal career goals, resume training, and leaving a lasting impression during interviews.


Closing remarks for the event were given by ViacomCBS board member and Posse Foundation board member, Charles Phillips, a Marine Vet. He spoke about his own transition journey and the difficulties he faced. Due to his work ethic, he was promoted only four months after being hired at his first job post-military service. He advised the scholars to be good at your craft first, and then someone will give them a shot.


“It’s been an honor to attend such an intimate and informative event. Thank you, Betty, for all your hard work and dedication—you and the entire ViacomCBS Veterans Network team! Your intentional and thoughtful approach in planning this event has been amazing. I speak for the entire Posse team when I say: we feel lucky to be taking these great steps in initiating and deepening the relationship with ViacomCBS this year. Thank you!!,” said Max Wagh, Posse Veterans Program Coordinator


Watch a recap of the event HERE.