Leah Meyer is a privacy analyst at T. Rowe Price. In this special Q&A in honor of Veterans Day, learn about her transition from the military to civilian life. She also shares advice for other veterans interested in pursuing—and thriving in—a corporate career.
When she was just 18 years old, Leah Meyer enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. "I joined straight out of high school, and I was in it for eight years," she recalls. Then, at age 26, after the birth of her second child, Leah left the military and used the GI Bill to earn a bachelor's degree. By the time she moved to Colorado Springs in 2016, she was ready to embark on yet another adventure—hence the seashells.
Not a beach person and not a fan of the heat, Meyer—an aquaphobe— booked a tropical vacation to St. Croix, where she learned to snorkel. "It was a personal feat to take that adventure. The shells are just a nice way to acknowledge the bravery I showed."
Meyer's adventuresome spirit is also what brought her to T. Rowe Price. "I didn't really know much about the finance world," she says, "but as soon as I moved to Colorado Springs, I got a call from a recruiter." Deciding to interview was just another challenge for Leah. With that in mind, we sat down to speak with her about her personal experience working at the firm.
Tell us a bit about your role at T. Rowe Price.
I started in the call center for 401(k) accounts. Then, I moved to the individual investor side a few years ago to pursue a leadership path. Still, I realized that wasn't the right fit. I was more interested in focusing on the client.
Now I'm a privacy analyst for the firm, and I'm really passionate about my job. I'm the person who triages any data security incidents. I actively coordinate any sort of research until we have a resolution, and I ensure the instruments are closed within that service-level agreement.
I think of this as my dream job. I'm able to work independently while flexing my problem-solving skills.
What was it like to switch from the military to corporate life?
That was one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced. My entire adult life had been in the military. So moving to Colorado Springs and having that opportunity to take on more of a corporate or civilian job was really scary because I didn't know what to expect. Everything from terminology to the way you handle your day to day is very different.
How did T. Rowe Price help the transition?
That's where our business resource groups (BRGs) came into play. I'm very active in VALOR @ T. Rowe Price, which is our BRG for veterans and the military community. As a result, I've had opportunities to interact with other veterans and military spouses and come out of my shell. I've become someone other people want to talk to and can turn to for future assistance.
VALOR started as a way to support the veterans within the firm. But it's grown to help with active and retired military and family members in the community. We have four bases around our Colorado Springs campus, so we have an opportunity to have a strong VALOR program here.
Could you tell us more about how VALOR works with the military community?
We're launching a few programs, including Battle Buddy, which supports T. Rowe Price's new hires with a military background. They get someone to help them—basically a wingman—and another for spouses providing deployment support. In addition, we do our VALOR Ruck March annually. It's a two-week virtual ruck in partnership with Stop Soldier Suicide.
For Veterans Day, our focus is “serving beyond the uniform." It's a way to express serving the community even after taking off the military uniform through philanthropy, community services, or other actions serving the greater good. VALOR members will attend our speaker series and follow a call to action to give back. Being a servant to the people is something I continue to value and a core piece of who I am.
You're also involved in another business resource group. Please tell us about your involvement with PRIDE @ T. Rowe Price.
As an openly bisexual person who was also in the military, being visible with my intersectionality has helped me to develop safe spaces for others because people know right away that I am genuine.
I participated in two panel events this year for PRIDE. We did a big event for bi+ visibility, and I moderated that event. I like to help people, whether they grew up in the military or any environment where they felt like they had to hide who they were. Maybe they would feel a little bit better finding me as an ally. I want it to feel like a safe, welcoming environment.
What advice would you give a veteran interested in transitioning into a corporate career?
I think my biggest piece of advice would be to give yourself grace. You need to be able to say you need help or not get frustrated with yourself because you sent something using the 24-hour clock. That was actually my most significant pain point: the 24-hour clock! Entering the civilian world can be very challenging. As military people, we hold ourselves to such a high standard.