January 31, 2018
“Any employer would value a combat war veteran”

How a Combat Injured Veteran Advanced His Career

Read more about LeAndre

Disability:IN 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 ([email protected]). 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 protected]).

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 Mentorship Exchange.

LeAndre Yarrell portraitLeAndre was matched with Dan Ellerman, a former director at Northrop Grumman Corporation and now at Accenture.  Because of LeAndre’s active participation in the Mentorship Exchange, 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 Disability:IN 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 Mentorship Exchange 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 Mentorship Exchange 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 Mentorship Exchange 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 Mentorship Exchange, and the Rising Leaders Academy at the 2018 Disability:IN Conference.

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