Situational awareness, the ability to prioritise, adaptability, and analytical reporting skills are just some of the areas of expertise that veterans pick up during their time serving in the Defence Force. Jamie Burns, KPMG Partner and Army veteran understands all too well the complexities of transferring these skills from the military into the civilian workforce.
Jamie joined the Army back in 1998, kicking off his military career with a posting to Darwin with the 1st Combat Support Regiment (1CSR). This was followed by serving in the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) and SATCOM SPO Defence Material Organisation.
He completed two deployments of Operational Service, firstly in the Solomon Islands in 2004 (Op Anode), and then in East Timor in 2006 (Op Astute), where he described the experiences as “a privilege”.
Throughout his time with the ADF, Jamie picked up an innate ability to think and adapt to situations strategically. Initially, after transitioning out of the Defence force, against all odds in a very competitive market, Jamie was lucky enough to land a role with an organisation where his skills from the military could be applied in a business sense. It was here that he learnt how small businesses are run and how they grow. However, after three years he missed the purpose of working in the Defence space, which led him to Soldier On Platinum Partner, KPMG.
Few organisations have such an extensive history with Soldier On. KPMG with its global reach understands the impact its support can have. The firm has been an active collaborator with Soldier On for over six years as a Foundation and Associate Partner.
Swimming the English Channel for Soldier On
A mentionable highlight of the past six years takes us back to 2018, where KPMG Partners Tim Sanders, Andrew May, Natasha Moore and Megan Webber (The TM2 Team) successfully raised over $60,000 for Soldier On swimming point-to-point from Dover, United Kingdom to Cap Gris-Nez, France. Outside of the months of training, the swim itself took nearly 13 hours and collectively the team swam roughly 50km, which can be seen as a testament to the dedication KPMG has in supporting Soldier On’s mission.
Board Level Support
Beyond that, KPMG’s Anthony Court and Carlo Cappuccio make up two of six Soldier On Board Members, donating their time to assisting in the governance and strategic direction of the charity. KPMG employees are also actively engaging in fundraising efforts to support the mission of enabling veterans and their families to thrive. So it comes as no surprise that as a company with over 11,000 employees across Australia, a significant number are made up of Defence Reservists and First Responders.
“After joining KPMG, I found a sense of purpose being able to connect and identify back to Defence within my role”, says Jamie.
After almost 12 years as a Manager and then Director of Technology Advisory, Jamie Burns was brought on as a Partner with KPMG in July 2022.
“Far too often veterans’ time in the military is undersold or overlooked when it comes to finding meaningful civilian employment after transitioning”, he says.
“Being such a broad organisation, there are many career portfolios within KPMG which veterans and their family members can step into and add tremendous value.”
Whether it’s back into the Defence Industry or broader, ex-service personnel and their family members have tremendous personal discipline, an intimate knowledge of the Defence sector and what its specific needs are, excellent team-building skills, knowledge of training, logistics, technology and financial management. As an organisation with such strong links to Defence, these are all skills that are highly sought after at KPMG.
Providing participants with meaningful employment outside of the ADF is one of the many ways that Soldier On is able to improve the lives of participants, and as a Platinum Pledge Partner, KPMG has continued to excel within the area of veteran-friendly recruitment.
Dynamic Nationwide Growth
KPMG has the ability to tap into talent nationally and access people who know the Defence environment across major hubs such as Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
Jamie explains, “The beauty of having veterans in our organisation is that we can inject that knowledge into a team of people who have commercial skillsets. It creates a very powerful dynamic.”
Having an impressive career both in and out of service, Jamie embodies the potential that veterans can reach when enabled to thrive. As an active collaborator in ensuring the organisation continues to uphold its Pledge commitment, Jamie has big plans for how KPMG can continue their support of Soldier On in 2023.
Pathways Networking Event
To do just that, KPMG hosted the first Pathways Networking Event (PNE) of 2023 at its Canberra offices on Thursday, 2nd March.
With roughly 50 people in attendance, including ESO and Pledge Partner representatives from organisations such as Open Arms, Viden, Optus, and CEA, the night was a huge success in linking participants with the right people, to potentially kickstart the next chapter in their lives.
The event was the first of many PNEs to be held across the country over the coming months and was just another way for KPMG to showcase their corporate leadership, providing ongoing support to the veteran community.