At Net Friends, we are privileged to work alongside talented people who've joined us from diverse experiences that shape who they are. Today is Veterans Day, and we proudly honor our Vet Friends on a holiday that celebrates real people, real friends, real stories, and real sacrifices. This year, we interviewed Navy veteran, Ryan Gilson, who reflects on his service journey and how it impacted his career and influences his perspective on leadership.
Meet Net Friend Ryan Gilson
Ryan is a Security Analyst in our ISO (Information Security Office) and has been with Net Friends since May 2021. He is currently working towards completing his Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity by 2022. Ryan served as a firefighter in the United States Navy from January 2012 to January 2016. He has a six-year-old daughter and is currently looking into getting a rottweiler puppy!
What inspired you to join the service?
Military service was always a thought in my head since I was a kid. Nearly everyone in my family has been in the military. My dad, uncle, and grandpa each served in the Army. On my grandma’s side, all her brothers served in the Navy in Japan. With their stories, I always wanted to experience military life.
From your Navy experience, what leadership qualities have you discovered to be important?
As expected, you learn a lot about leadership in the military, but the two qualities that I found to be the most important are: ambition and self-confidence.
In order to achieve something noteworthy, you must first have the desire to reach your potential. This principle has guided me in my service journey and career over the years. You must also have the self-confidence to listen to that inner voice and do what needs to be done no matter how tough. You learn a lot of leadership traits in the service, but without ambition and confidence you can only make it so far.
What’s one highlight from your Navy experience?
During my second deployment, we stopped at a bunch of beautiful countries. Visiting Palma de Mallorca was by far my all-time favorite Navy experience. As an island off the edge of Spain, the Mallorca beaches are beautiful, the culture is awesome, and the people are extremely friendly.
How did your military experience lead into your Net Friends career?
When you're in the military, you learn to build trust through teamwork, especially when your environment can change at the drop of a hat.
I think it's important to work with a team of like-minded and ambitious peers. That's what I've found at Net Friends: a strong team that treats everyone like a partner.
My highlight this year was definitely finishing up school and finally landing a job in cybersecurity at Net Friends. It feels great to be able to work in the field that I’ve been going to school for this whole time, and applying all of the knowledge I've gained.
Any encouragements for fellow veterans and service people this year?
As we know, tough times don’t last, but tough people do. I appreciate active service people who are currently serving at this very moment. I am thankful that I had the privilege to serve, and I am thankful for veterans who have sacrificed, so the rest of us can live free.