How our veterans are making Virtual First work for them

When we announced our Virtual First work strategy nearly a year ago, we were excited to explore how this shift would help us find and hire people from new areas and different backgrounds that were sometimes difficult for us to reach before. This new reality has played out in many exciting ways, one of which is the increase of military veterans working at Dropbox.

Offensive Security Manager Jason Falivene joined our team in September 2020, just a few weeks before our Virtual First announcement. But since we were already working remotely, he got the full experience of joining a new company without ever setting foot in an office.

“Luckily I transitioned to remote work at a previous company right before quarantine started. I can say it was painful for this extrovert, especially leading a team of new engineers who had history together. It took a lot of skill development for my team and I to keep the train moving forward.

What has been nice since joining Dropbox and experiencing the change to Virtual First is that Dropbox went about preparing its workforce and technology to be successful. We have a Virtual First toolkit for everyone to use with resources for managers, employees, and teams, and it’s always being updated with the most current capabilities that we have. Our Virtual First Team has really gone above and beyond making us successful.”

And that success hasn’t stopped with Jason. Technical Program Manager Jimmy Mastrom also joined our team recently — something he never thought would have been possible a few years ago.

“For me, Dropbox’s Virtual First approach reopened opportunities I thought were unavailable. A few years ago, after leaving active duty, I intentionally traded tech opportunities in the DC metro area to be closer to our family in Atlanta. That decision was the best one for our family, and now Virtual First has enabled me to start an exciting role at Dropbox in which I can have an impact in this new remote world.”

This kind of important relocation decision making is a common occurrence for many veterans, who after leaving the service find themselves with the ability to move, work, study, and live almost anywhere. Jason elaborated, “Active duty service members have to make a number of decisions as they transition to the civilian workforce. Do I go to college and work, do I live closer to family, do I uproot my children from school to move to a new job, etc? These can be difficult decisions, but Virtual First makes some of those decisions easier.

With Virtual First you can live almost anywhere and work for Dropbox. I recently hired a reservist who I served with on active duty. I knew their skill sets and they were the right match for the job, but after speaking with them informally, it was clear that moving wasn’t an option. The great thing about Virtual First is that I was able to say ‘don’t worry, we are a completely remote workforce,’ and after that it was an easy sell.”

Of course, the sell hasn’t always been easy. Within the service, in-person collaboration is nearly constant, making the idea of working remotely without brushing by colleagues in office hallways pretty alien. However, Jason has found that his team is still able to be highly successful thanks to our tools that make virtual collaboration easy, as well as frequent virtual social events that help them bond on a personal level.

“One of the highlights that has come out of the pandemic is how fast the technology has progressed to make a virtual team successful. Dropbox has created Dropbox Spaces, a virtual workspace that brings projects and teams together. With Spaces, teams can access everything they need for a project — like key files, tasks, meetings, and updates — all in one place. We also have other tools to use that give us a in office collaboration feel with things like virtual whiteboards and Slack huddles.

On a getting to know your co-workers better aspect, our team gets together every Friday for virtual happy hour, and we have also done a few game nights as well. Recently the team has also started a rotating Slack team member introduction, where each individual answers some questions and then the conversation is off and running with folks sharing commonalities between each other.”

We’re excited to see how Virtual First continues to open up possibilities for our veterans to work, live, and thrive from almost anywhere. You can explore job openings specific to veteran skill sets here.



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