Learning and Growing in My Journey from the Military to Nielsen

Ruben is a Technology Manager and Scrum Master at our Global Technology & Innovation Center in Tampa

Ruben is a Technology Manager and Scrum Master at our Global Technology & Innovation Center in Tampa, U.S., where he’s an active member of HOLA, our Hispanic employee resource group, and SERV, our veterans’ employee resource group.

Hi, my name is Ruben. My journey with Nielsen started in 2016 after serving for 21 years as a Communications Officer in the U.S. Army.

But before I tell you about my Nielsen journey, let me first tell you about my early life that made me who I am today. I am the youngest of five; I have three sisters and one brother. As a child growing up in a little town called San Lorenzo in Puerto Rico, life was not always easy: I lived in an old wooden house, walked through mud to get from place to place, collected scrap metal to sell, raised animals and played sports. One time, we even sold my cow so we could buy my dad and me airline tickets to see my aunt in New York! At a young age, my parents and grandmother taught me to study, work hard, dream and never quit.

As a child, I developed a passion for the military and dreamed about serving my country. That passion led me to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in college and to become an Army Communications Officer. My military journey initially took me to the heart of Texas, then to the pine trees of Georgia, the Amazon jungle in Colombia, the flatlands of Kansas, the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, the beaches of Miami, the castles of Germany, the desert in Kuwait, and finally to the humidity of South Carolina. During my time in the military, I learned all about accountability—accountability to my leaders and also accountability to my subordinates. In doing so, my team developed a trust that ensured we got the job done. Now, I develop trust and accountability to help Nielsen succeed.

My transition from the military to civilian life was not easy, and Nielsen was my first job as a civilian. To be honest, I was a little concerned about the new job and the responsibilities that came with it. But I have been blessed with the team that I joined, who welcomed me with open arms right from the start. I remember arriving on the first day all dressed up in a suit, just to find everyone wearing casual attire. Everyone laughed with me, and that’s when I knew that I belonged here.

Nielsen has provided me with the necessary tools, training and opportunities to make the transition easier. Since joining, I have been able to certify as a Scrum Master, an Advanced Scrum Master, and I trained in Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise, along with many other leadership, technical and professional trainings. Now a Scrum Master, I am responsible for monitoring scrum processes and running scrum meetings, increasing our efficiency, motivating our teams and arguing for changes that will ensure quality and timeliness. My training and experience in the military prepared me to be flexible, adapt to changes, be a mentor, multi-task and be a team player—all of which are required for successful agile and scrum practice.

But what I love the most about Nielsen is the diversity. I have the opportunity to give back to the company and the community as an active member of our SERV (Support & Employee Resources for Veterans) and HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Leaders in Action) employee resource groups. Every year I represent Nielsen at a volunteer event that provides health care, shelter, supplies and food to local homeless veterans.

I also participate in our mentoring program. I think mentoring is more effective than formal training, which is often built as a one-size-fits-all solution. Unlike formal training courses, mentoring often results in much deeper, personalized conversations and feedback. Currently, I mentor two young Hispanic team members. We communicate in both English and Spanish, resulting in better dialogues and experiences.

Working at Nielsen makes me proud and happy. I get to connect with veterans and the Hispanic community and to share my skills and experience with others, which constantly motivates me to do better. I consider this job a journey, a journey where you learn and grow every day.