Military Appreciation Month Spotlight: Don Johnson, Customer Health Programs Manager

May is Military Appreciation Month, and we’re excited to highlight one of our amazing Boxer Veterans and our partnership with Hiring our Heroes, an organization that connects the military community—service members, military spouses, and veterans—with American businesses to create economic opportunity and a strong, diversified workforce.

 Hiring Our Heroes is a 12-week fellowship where transitioning service members will learn the key day-to-day responsibilities of their chosen role to help them transition to a civilian career. We have successfully brought on four Boxers from the program into sales and customer success roles, and we are excited for you to meet our most recent hire, Don Johnson, and learn more about his journey with Box.

Meet Don

My name is Don Johnson, and I retired from the United States Marine Corps in February 2022 after twenty-three years of active-duty service. I joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school in 1998 from my hometown in Ventura, California.  My favorite part of being a Marine was seeing the world with some of my best friends and meeting and working with people from other countries, which gave me an education in humility and a deep appreciation for my own country. Before transitioning from active duty, I worked as a Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Planner and Knowledge Management Officer at the United States Special Operations Command, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction directorate in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.    

My wife and I have been married for ten years and have had two sons. I enjoy playing with my kids and reading books about culture, technology, and history in my free time. 

Don’s journey to Box

My journey to Box as a Corporate Fellow with Hiring our Heroes (HoH) was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had. The HoH program resources helped me prepare for what would be a three-week interview sprint with prospective employers offering fellowships. I interviewed at approximately twenty companies, but what stood out most to me about Box was the people. I could tell they valued my experience, and more importantly, I could tell they loved the Box culture and were serious about finding a good addition to the team.

It was no surprise that when I joined the team as a fellow, I quickly came to love the Box culture too! From the week I started, our culture has been my favorite part about being a Boxer. It's a fun, fast-paced, collaborative, and innovative environment that lives up to the many Box values.

Don’s favorite Box values

The value that sticks out to me the most is: “Take risks, fail fast, GSD.” Most service members can relate to GSD – but failing fast was new to me. Failing is not part of the military lexicon, but it is an integral part of learning and innovating for a technology company. Failing fast in tech means experimenting with a different hypothesis and quickly determining if the idea is good or not. 

“Be candid and assume good intent” sticks out to me as well because it allows you to quickly get and give honest feedback to modify, improve, and move forward. It creates an atmosphere of learning and growth, which is especially valuable for a newcomer to tech. I’ve seen a stark contrast in the way that ideas and feedback are given at Box versus the military, where there is a lot of process and formality. When you give feedback in the military, you are at risk of offending a senior ranking person which can stifle frank conversation. At Box, everyone's opinion matters, and as a veteran, I find myself having a unique perspective valued by my peers and management.

Box’s environment makes it easy to learn and grow in, and leadership puts a premium on taking care of its people. If a person wants to work at the forefront of powering how the world works together, Box is the technology company to be at. I highly recommend Box to any veterans interested in breaking into tech; it's an exciting time to be a Boxer!