Rising Leaders Spotlight Series: Bryan Stromer
USBLN highlights various young leaders with disabilities in its Rising Leader Spotlight Series. If you are a corporate partner (or potential partner), and would like more information on USBLN’s Rising Leaders, please contact Liz (email@example.com). If you are a young leader with a disability, and would like more information on the Rising Leadership Mentoring Program or the Rising Leadership Academy, please contact Keri (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The number of students with disabilities attending higher education in the United States now represents 6% of the student body. As with any graduate, their professional success will stem from a number of things, including work ethic, opportunity, and, for some, having a mentor to guide them.
Quality mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on young people in a variety of situations – personal, academically and professional. Initiatives like the USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program were created to further those opportunities. This six-month career mentoring strategy brings together employers and college students with disabilities or recent graduates with disabilities in a mutually beneficial way. Through the USBLN’s association with over 130 corporate partners, we match at least 70 individuals to business professionals that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to meet. The Rising Leaders Mentoring Program connects students like Bryan Stromer to experts that provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
While Bryan believes most major companies recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace, he feels actively investing in programs such as the Rising Leader Academy underscores the commitment to diversity and inclusion. According to Bryan, the program exposes participating organizations to “a group of strong candidates that may be overlooked in the traditional recruitment process.”
Bryan sees the Rising Leadership Academy as a unique initiative that allows companies to transition from talking about hiring more people with disabilities, to actually hiring them. “I believe programs like the Rising Leadership Academy will help breakdown the stigmas around disability by showcasing talented candidates with disabilities who are looking to work.”
Bryan understands some disabilities are still heavily stigmatized because of a tendency to primarily focus on the challenges that people with disabilities face. However, he’s also encouraged by changes in attitudes as more and more companies recognize the innovations that disability and universal design can bring. “By actively recruiting, retaining, and promoting individuals with disabilities, [corporations are] not only empowering the company with great new talent, but also empowering individuals with disabilities to use their unique perspective to bring about the next technological innovation.”
For Bryan, that company is Microsoft. Bryan recently joined Microsoft as a Product Marketing Manager, and is excited to be working for a company whose mission is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” He considers their partnership with the USBLN as a prime example of how Microsoft reinforces this mission. He’s also hopeful that more companies will follow Microsoft’s lead, and take an active role in the recruitment of candidates with disabilities.
The USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program is designed to support students and recent graduates with disabilities as they navigate the professional world and answer unique questions that relate to entering the workforce. Visit usbln.org for more information about Rising Leaders Mentoring Program, and the Rising Leaders Academy at the 2018 USBLN Conference.
Rising Leaders Spotlight Series: Paul Trevino
The Rising Leaders Mentoring Program connects students like Paul Trevino to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
Rising Leaders Spotlight Series: Hannah Chadwick
Hannah recently accepted a position as Program Coordinator for the USBLN, where she gets to work on a number of projects. As a Rising Leader alum, Hannah’s assistance with the Rising Leaders Initiatives will be invaluable.
“Our company was able to connect with high potential talent like Ally”
Ally’s story is a true win-win, both for her and BAE Systems. She is engaged in company activities, such as BAE Systems' disability employee resource group, which enhance the company’s opportunities to attract top talent who also happen to have disabilities.
“Any employer would value a combat war veteran”
LeAndre Yarrell is a retired United States Army Sargent who served in Afghanistan. LeAndre’s career plan is based on setting goals for himself, and acquiring the professional skills, experience, and accomplishments that will lead him to the C-Suite level.
“Disability helps me with problem-solving strategies”
Ray Parker believes the USBLN and the Rising Leadership Academy were invaluable assets for him as a student with a disability transitioning into a working professional.