Here at Dataminr, we’re extremely proud to have a large number of veterans and active service members who make significant contributions to our culture, growth and success.
To commemorate this year’s Veterans Day and explore its theme of “service,” I sat down with Michael Weatherholt, Dataminr Customer Success Director, U.S. Department of Defense, and active member of our Service@Dataminr employee resource group (ERG). We spoke about how his military experience has helped him in his civilian career, what the public and companies can do to honor veterans’ service, and more.
Read on to see what Michael had to say.
Can you share your experience in the U.S. military and how it has helped you in your professional career?
I joined the military after graduating from high school and served in the U.S. Army for nearly 26 years. During that time, I was in law enforcement and did a number of deployments, including combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster response—both in the U.S. and abroad.
Being in the Army gave me the opportunity to serve in many different places around the world with thousands of incredible people. It really taught me the value of helping (and saving) people and communities. I wanted to be the best in my role so that I could help my team become the best team and provide the best support to the communities we served.
I retired from the army three years ago and have been with Dataminr ever since. Everyday, I’m grateful to be in a position to support and work with customers in the U.S. Department of Defense—the organization that I was proudly a part of. I truly believe that my military experience instilled in me a strong work ethic, leadership skills, and pride in helping my team achieve its goals.
What does Veterans Day mean to you? And how do you usually celebrate it?
To me, Veterans Day is a time to celebrate and remember what our military members—past and present—have done and sacrificed. It isn't Memorial Day, but I still think about those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those living and their contributions to our country.
It depends on where I am on Veterans Day, but every year my family and I usually watch the local parades in person, and spend time with other service members and veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFWs) lodges in Maryland.
This year’s theme for Veterans Day is “service.” How do you think the public and businesses should honor veterans for their service?
Show gratitude and find a way to say “thank you” to the veterans you know. Every veteran and service member has a story of why they entered the military, why they stayed and why they left. But they all have one thing in common: they volunteered to serve. Having an understanding of and appreciation for their voluntary service and saying thank you goes a long way.
What can companies do more of to support veterans in their career?
Many companies are already doing this, including Dataminr, but I think it’d be wonderful if more organizations committed to hiring and supporting veterans. About 200,000 service members leave active duty each year. That’s a lot of people with valuable skill sets and leadership qualities that businesses can recruit.
Also, being understanding of what your veteran employees have gone through physically, mentally and emotionally is extremely important. Many people don’t easily open up about their mental health struggles for various reasons. It’s crucial that businesses realize this and have resources and programs in place to support their veterans community.
How has Dataminr done a good job in supporting the veteran community as well as those currently serving?
The work we do with a number of organizations to recruit veterans has been phenomenal. I’m also proud of the great amount of support we have—including policies and benefits—across the board for both veterans and those currently serving. One of which is the Service@Dataminr ERG. It’s an amazing group that provides resources, a safe space for discussions and a strong sense of community for our veterans and active service members.
What is the Service@Dataminr ERG doing to celebrate this special day?
We’re inviting everyone who is interested to join us at Arlington National Cemetery’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on November 11.
And this year, our ERG will introduce the Chad 1000x initiative to our Dataminr colleagues. The initiative was created in memory of Navy SEAL Master Chief Chad Wilkinson, who lost his life to suicide after a long and arduous military career that included serving alongside my ERG co-lead Chris Blake. Launched in 2020 and sponsored by Wilkinson’s wife, CrossFit and GORUCK, Chad 1000x is a way for veterans, active service members and civilians to honor Wilkerson and support suicide prevention by challenging themselves to a grueling workout on Veterans Day (workouts can be scaled to be less grueling).
I’m looking forward to having #TeamDataminr join us for this worthy cause. I also hope that, through these activities, our Dataminr colleagues will not only celebrate the day with us but learn more about the veteran community.
Robin Strup is Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Dataminr. She has over 25 years of experience in DEI strategies and communication across multiple organizations and industries. Robin is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Executive Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management leadership program with a passion and expertise in leveraging behavioral science interventions to improve business outcomes.