6 November 2023

Giving back through Military Service

Hank Hernandez, National Co-Chair of HSBC’s Valor ERG, says serving in the Army gave him the skills he needed to succeed professionally

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business at Florida International University, Hank Hernandez did something that most new college graduates don’t consider—he enlisted in the Army.

“I am of Cuban heritage, and my parents escaped communism in the early 1960’s,” he said. “They received refuge and political asylum following the Communist takeover of Cuba. I felt a need to pay it back and play a role in defending our freedom.”

Hank, who was born in New Jersey, spent seven years on active duty and another eight as a reservist. During that time, he participated in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and counter-drug and counterinsurgency operations in Nicaragua and Colombia.

“It was a privilege and an honor to serve our nation,” he said.

Hank joined HSBC in 2015 in Financial Crime. He moved into Investigations, then worked on the divestiture of Retail Operations, and now works in Global Payment Solutions. He said his military experience taught him to learn quickly and take on new challenges.

“Adapt, change and overcome are critical skills in the military,” he said. “Rotations come in hot and heavy, and that has carried over into my career at HSBC. I’m okay with change and comfortable out of my comfort zone. I credit the military for that.”

He said his time working in other countries with people from all over the world enhanced his cultural sensitivity. “It was amazing,” he said. “The exposure to foreign militaries and people allowed me to understand the world in a different way.” Also seeing the hardships and struggles that people endure in other countries also gave him an appreciation for what we have in the US. “We have first-world problems, which we take for granted,” he said.

Hank feels strongly that there’s great potential in hiring from the veteran community, and he has some advice for hiring managers. “Even if the skills and background are not a perfect fit, don’t turn away from a potentially great candidate,” he said. “You can’t make up for that ability to adapt and learn on the fly that you get in the military. You might be surprised by how great a candidate can become in a short period of time.”

Learn more about HSBC’s Valor ERG.