Jim Giudice was thriving as a business major at Ohio State, with ample job opportunities on the horizon, when he decided he needed to test and develop himself in ways the business world could not. Naturally, he joined the Marines.
“Like most folks in the country, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were just headlines in the news for me,” says Giudice. “They didn’t impact our day-to-day lives tremendously. I had a desire to see what this was all about.”
Giudice served four years active duty as an officer in the Marine Corps, leading a Marine recon platoon on a seven-month combat deployment to Afghanistan. He’s currently an officer in the Marine Corps reserve, meaning he could be called to active duty at any time.
When Giudice returned home in 2013, he stayed true to his mission of challenging himself. Instead of taking the easier (for him) MBA route, he decided to pursue his law degree at the University of Richmond.
While Giudice deftly navigated the fraught transition from active duty to civilian life, he knew that many of his fellow soldiers are not so lucky. “We always say the Marine Corps does three things: make Marines, win battles, and return quality citizens,” says Giudice. “We weren’t doing as a great a job returning people back to society.”
In 2017, Giudice became a regional representative for Marine for Life Network, connecting central Virginia vets with employers, service organizations and community resources. “I had experienced that culture shock when I got back,” he admits. “Things change when you get out of the military. There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. I tried to help veterans understand what the world would look like when they got out.”
Giudice, who works full-time as the chief legal officer for Credova Financial, stepped down from the voluntary Marine for Life rep position in December 2021, but remains deeply involved in the veteran community. He says that when he connects with these men and women, who often are unmoored and deeply missing the camaraderie of the armed forces, he tells them to be proactive. “You want to come up with a plan,” says Giudice. “You can’t just hope to meet the right people, networking is a much more active endeavor.”
Giudice says he personally understands how trying this time can be, especially because so many veterans miss that sense of belonging and purpose that the military gave them.
“You won’t go out and do a hard week of field training with your colleagues,” says Giudice. “But once you’re able to build up trust to a degree where you’re able to have those deeper conversations, sharing and talking about experiences, that can be a really good thing.”