Sarah Kelton

November 8, 2023

Sarah Kelton plays many roles in her life. At Berkeley Lab she is a senior talent acquisition partner, a recruiter, in the Human Resources division. In her personal life, she is a mother and military wife. Elements sat down with Sarah to discuss the intricacies of military family life and what Veterans Day means to her.

How did you get started as a recruiter?

I fell into it. I started my career in Human Resources many moons ago. I had a job in HR, but I was going to be a lawyer. When I was accepted into law school, the school said you'll need to bring a check for $30,000. I didn't have to check for $30,000. So I said, you know, maybe I should see if this HR thing works out. 

Then I met my husband, and it was after that I stumbled into recruiting. We moved so often [as a military family], and when there wasn't an HR job available at our next duty station, I started a job in recruiting and discovered I liked it.

What, from your experience as a military spouse, do you bring to your work at Berkeley Lab?

One thing that affects military spouses is that a lot of times they don't have the same employment opportunities because there are factors that are counting against them. For example, in less than one year, I lived in three states, each over a thousand miles away from the other and very different. You can imagine how difficult it is to keep employment in those circumstances. So, I have an affinity for the military spouse community because I have been in a position where I felt the despair of "how I am ever going to find employment again." It is difficult. 

I also have a big affinity for the military community, and that's what keeps me going in recruiting. My passion is to do military recruitment, and that's why I'm very involved in the Hiring Our Heroes program. I have personal relationships with them and do some volunteer work with them as well. 

What would you want those who haven't experienced it to know about the military service experience? 

I would like people to be aware of the kind of sacrifices that service members' families go through. I had a child, alone in the hospital, while my husband was deployed. It's a typical event in the [military spouse] community to be living with no family around. [Military families] make a lot of sacrifices in terms of our children's lives, our own life, our own education, and our careers to follow that service member and their career. 

And there are the daily things that the service member sacrifices. As an example, my kids had a Halloween parade at school. My husband is never going to be able to go to those events. He won't be able to go to story time at the school. It's something that he is probably never going to be able to participate in. 

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

It's a day that we honor all people who have served in the military and all the sacrifices those individuals have made. It's a day to think about those who are currently serving and think about those who have served. I think about those who served their country and are now working a civilian job like at Berkeley Lab. And I think about the history of the military and all those who have served. It's a day to honor them and be thankful they were willing to make that sacrifice. 

Are you a veteran or supporter of veterans? The Veterans Employee Resource Group is open to all employees, veteran or civilian. 

Learn more about Berkeley Lab Human Resources veteran programs.