Shanna Aldridge is the Security Manager for CSL Behring Corporate Headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Protecting other people has come naturally for Shanna since childhood.
She applies skills learned in the Navy to manage a team of people who create a secure working environment for employees, and she remembers clearly what it was like to transition from the military to civilian workforce.
Vita caught up with Shanna to learn more about her military service and passion for protecting people.
Tell us about your military service. Why did you enlist?
I grew up in a family of service members, but I had four brothers and was the first female in my family who wanted to enlist. I was 18 years old and attracted to all the options the Navy offered, from getting a higher education to learning a life skills to getting into shape.
I served on active duty from 1998-2004 at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Stations in Naples, Italy and Virginia, USA. Although my job was in Information Technology, I received significant security training.
What were the challenges associated with transitioning to the civilian workforce after military service?
After I left the Navy, I took six months off to regroup then found a job with a security company. I was assigned to CSL Behring in September 2004. I officially joined the company as a full-time employee in December 2017.
It’s hard to rejoin civilian life after being in the service. One challenge I encountered was in how I spoke to people. In the service you give orders because things need to be done quickly, so I needed to relearn how to be less formal in how I spoke to colleagues. And not everyone liked being called “sir” and “ma’am”!
My advice for veterans making that transition is that it just takes time. You have to give yourself time to transition back, to remember who you were before you went into the service.
How can companies like CSL Behring support veterans who are transitioning off of active duty?
Give them time and a chance. Veterans can shoulder a tremendous amount of responsibility but the transition back to civilian life takes time. I was 18 when I joined the Navy, and during my years of service I was entrusted with a wide variety of personnel, classified information and multi-million dollar equipment.
If a veteran can handle what they handled in the service, employers can give them the benefit of the doubt in the workforce.
Do you have any “heroes” in your own life?
My daughter is my hero. She sacrificed time and attention that she deserved so that I could do what is required for a military career. She grew up with a strong work ethic. I like to think I was a good role model in that area.
Without my family and close friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They always lent an ear to listen when the job came home with me. Each of us needs someone telling us that what we do make a difference.
What is your message for veterans who might be considering a career with CSL Behring?
First, be confident that you have a lot of relevant skills. In the Navy I learned flexibility and adaptability, teamwork, integrity, planning and problem-solving. All of these skills are critical, especially to move into a managerial role.
CSL Behring is a company with strong ethics and close community ties. In fact, I just signed up to be part of a community outreach program that the company runs.
Before I became a manager, I used to be able to meet everyone who walked through the doors at our King of Prussia site. From employees to outside vendors, I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t been in keeping with CSL Behring’s core values. So I think that says a lot about the company as a whole.