“Any employer would value a combat war veteran”
How a Combat Injured Veteran Advanced His Career
USBLN highlights various young leaders with disabilities in the Rising Leader Spotlight Series. If you are a corporate partner (or potential partner), and would like more information our USBLN’s Rising Leaders, please contact Liz (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 (email@example.com).
LeAndre Yarrell is a retired United States Army Sargent who served in Afghanistan. After his military service ended, LeAndre enrolled in Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware. While at Wilmington, LeAndre applied, interviewed, and was accepted into the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), through which he was invited to apply for the US Business Leadership Network’s (USBLN) 2015 Rising Leaders Mentoring Program (RLMP).
LeAndre was matched with Dan Ellerman, a former director at Northrop Grumman Corporation and now at Accenture. Because of LeAndre’s active participation in the Rising Leaders Mentoring Program, and a strong recommendation from his mentor, LeAndre was accepted as a participant in the USBLN’s Rising Leadership Academy. During the Academy training sessions, LeAndre learned valuable life lessons, including embracing his Post Traumatic Stress disability. LeAndre also maximized the networking and interviewing opportunities at the USBLN National Conference, and immediately following.
In 2016, LeAndre graduated with a degree in Computer and Network Security, and accepted a position at Incyte, a pharmaceutical research company, as a Security Analyst. There, he was responsible for the development and implementation of security policies, standards, and procedures to ensure the protection of corporate data against unauthorized users, access, modification, or destruction.
LeAndre was with Incyte for two years. Throughout those two years, LeAndre maintained in contact with Dan Ellerman, and grew his professional network. In May 2017, LeAndre relocated to the Washington DC area for an outstanding job offer from Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Quality mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on young people in a variety of situations – personally, academically and professionally. Initiatives like the USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program were created to further those opportunities. This six-month career mentoring strategy brings together employers with college students with disabilities and 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 in their field of study, area of interest, and to whom they would not otherwise have access. The Rising Leaders Mentoring Program connects students like LeAndre Yarrell to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
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.
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. With this new job opportunity, LeAndre feels he’s well on his way toward achieving his career goal. “I knew LeAndre was an exceptional individual with talent and skills any employer would value. It’s been a career high for me to watch LeAndre grow, build confidence, and succeed in his chosen field. I can’t wait to see the impact and legacy he will leave behind,” said Dan.
LeAndre has also set life goals for himself, including community outreach. He’s particularly interested in raising awareness about PTSD, and securing benefits for veterans. He’s also committed to helping low-income communities. He currently coaches youth basketball leagues, and helps with food and clothing drives. His greatest ambition is to one day open a center where kids can play basketball, receive a hot meal, and feel safe.
The USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program is designed to support students and recent graduates as they navigate the professional world, and answer unique questions that relate to being a person with a disability in 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: Bryan Stromer
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.
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.
“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.