Blue Devil of the Week: Finding a Fit for Veterans at Duke

Marine Corps experience gives Brian Royer’s role extra meaning

Name: Brian Royer

Position: Recruiter and Veterans Outreach Coordinator with Duke Human Resources Recruitment

Years at Duke: 2

What he does at Duke: After his time as an active U.S. Marine ended in 2006, Royer met regularly with counselors who helped him make sense of the post-military life that stretched before him.

“I had to learn how to adapt to civilian life again, said Royer, who reached the rank of sergeant and served in Iraq in 2004 and Japan in 2005. “I had been in combat zone for most of my time in the Middle East. Through counseling, I learned that it is a strength to acknowledge when you need help. It’s a strength to confront your fears and learn ways to work through them. It’s a strength to ask for what you need.”

Now 34, it’s that military experience that helps fuel Royer’s work Duke Human Resources Recruitment. As a recruiter, he fills jobs for an array of entities in Duke Health System, aiding hopefuls through the application process and helping managers find the right fit.

But his role as veteran outreach coordinator is especially meaningful. It allows him to represent Duke at veteran-focused events and help applicants with military backgrounds find work. He knows the struggles veterans face adapting to life outside the military and said it’s deeply satisfying to offer some of them hope.

“I understand the struggle that countless veterans endure,” Royer said. “Many veterans aren't blessed with the support from family, friends, and loved ones that I had. With that understanding, I will always have a passion to help veterans and those who are in need.”

What he loves about Duke: “I have a tremendous amount of support at Duke and in Central Recruitment. My managers, Michelle Jones and Director Denise Motely, provide everything I need to be successful. I am grateful to work on such a tremendous team and lucky to work with an amazing group of co-workers.”

A special object/memorabilia in his workspace: Tacked on the walls of his workspace, Royer has some inspirational quotes. One that he leans on often reads: “Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond.”

He said this comes in handy when trying to match applicants with hiring managers.

“I make an effort every time to listen when having a conversation– whether it’s speaking with a hiring manager, co-workers, candidates, and veterans,” Royer said. “Listening allows me to understand what is truly needed and then offer resources to directly meet those needs.”

First ever job: Royer’s first job was as a sales associate at Ross, a clothing retail chain. He remembers helping customers on the floor and working the register alongside his twin brother, Adam, who was also on the staff at the time.

“My mother was a teacher for 40 years and she was always helping others,” Royer said, adding that he and his brother likely picked up her disposition. “She taught us to be kind to others, give when you can, and to always try your best no matter what.”

Best advice received: Royer said his wife, Laurel, and his mother and step father, Marilyn and Randy Goldberg, have always reminded him that no obstacle is too big to overcome.

“You can do anything you set your mind to,” they told him. “If there is a will there is a way. Never give up and always move forward in life.”

Something most people don’t know about him: Royer and his twin brother share a birthday with his older brother Justin.

“I don’t know if my older brother was too happy about that at first,” Royer said. “… My mom would always do a cake for me and my twin brother and Justin would have his own. But he would have his friends over and then we would have ours. It just kind of worked out.”

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