"What The Armed Services and Coca-Cola Have Taught Me…” is an article series spotlighting veterans who are applying their skills and experiences from the U.S. Armed Forces to their work with The Coca-Cola Company. The series will continue leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Captain Melissa Pulliam approaches career and life choices with excitement. “In the Army, you had to be flexible and versatile, whether that be deploying overseas, moving to a new post, or taking on a new position," she said. "Through my military career, I came to enjoy new experiences and the excitement they brought.”

In just 14 years, she has lived on three continents, pursued multiple degrees and journeyed down different career paths with the United States Army and as a civilian, before finding her way to Coca-Cola. Here she explains why pursuing vast and varied experiences has been the key to her success.

Serving Multiple Forces in Multiple Places

Graduating from the United States Military Academy in May 2000, CPT Pulliam began her military career as Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps and was assigned to the 307th Signal Battalion at Camp Carroll, South Korea. While in South Korea, she served as a Platoon Leader and Assistant Operations Officer managing the installation and maintenance of secure telecommunications systems in support of command centers for the United Nations, United States Army, Air Force and Navy, spanning 600,000 square miles.  

Veteran, Melissa Pulliam
In 2012, Pulliam joined Coca-Cola as a Distribution Center Manager in Oceanside, Calif. 

A year later, after leaving Korea, CPT Pulliam joined the 25th Infantry Division (Light) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. She served as a Company Executive Officer where her duties also included serving as the Officer-In-Charge of her Battalion’s Quick Reaction Force. She was responsible for preparing 100 soldiers and millions of dollars in equipment for rapid combat deployment. In January 2004, CPT Pulliam deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II as a Battalion Signal Officer. While in Iraq, CPT Pulliam coordinated and led several humanitarian missions in and around Balad, Iraq to rebuild schools, medical centers and city halls. 

Around the World and Back Again

After serving in a variety of service capacities within the Army, CPT Pulliam left the Armed Forces in 2005 to attend law school at the University of North Carolina. She graduated with a law degree, practicing law for three years, while also studying to get her Masters in Business Administration. In 2012, she made another career transition when she joined Coca-Cola as a Distribution Center Manager in Oceanside, Calif.

“At Coke, like with the Army, it’s a culture of teamwork. When my military commitment was up, I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization where I could continually learn -- one that shared my 'same team, same mission' mentality.”

Today, CPT Pulliam is once again putting her passion for variety into practice as an associate in the Business Leadership Program – a rotational program for future leaders.

“At Coke, I see many opportunities and the ability to grow from taking on different experiences. I am excited to see where my Coke Journey takes me.”

Coke's Commitment to Veterans

Beginning in 2015, The Coca-Cola Company will partner with American Corporate Partners to roll out a dedicated mentorship program for veterans to help translate military experience to the civilian workforce. A total of 50 Coca-Cola mentors will be announced during our Veterans Day activities on Nov. 12, 2014. Visit www.acp-usa.org/Mentoring_Program to learn more about this important initiative.