Exelis Action Corps hosts veterans for leadership development program

Program participants discuss the importance of learning agility and executive presence during their first day of the program's onsite, three-day session.

Veterans receive same training as CEOs and senior executives – only tailored for military experience

Veterans from across the country gathered in McLean, Va. Jan. 24 for the start of a four-month leadership development program designed to help veterans apply military experience to leadership roles in the civilian sector.

Exelis Action Corps has partnered with global talent consultancy Korn Ferry and Points of Light to deliver the Leveraging Military Leadership Program to an inaugural class of 35 veterans with military experience ranging from junior enlisted to senior officer ranks in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.  

The three-day, in-residence transformational leadership development experience has helped veterans make their skill sets even more relevant, securing their place as a 21st century leader.  Additionally, the next three months of career-development sessions, will help veterans chart their professional journey, learn how to apply their leadership skills in civilian positions, and clearly articulate their differentiated value proposition.

Global leadership experts from Korn Ferry and Exelis senior executives led three days of onsite instruction, group exercises and lectures.  Highlights included a panel discussion with Korn Ferry executives Chris Cantarella and Jamey Cummings, and Exelis Chief Human Resources Officer John Procopio.  All three panelists shared what steps have made them successful throughout their professional journeys and the importance of adapting to new environments

“You know military culture; your new company has a culture too.  You must learn it.  Listen and adapt to that culture…Your key skill is agility, you must use that to make yourself successful,” said Procopio.  “The best career strategy can be derailed by a failure to understand culture.”

The three-day onsite session was only the beginning of their learning experience.  Now back home, the program attendees have delved into the remainder of the four-month program with online, integrated learning components and one-on-one individual coaching.

“These leadership development services are the same level that Korn Ferry delivers to Boards, CEOs and senior executives,” said Erica Jeffries, Exelis chief inclusion and diversity officer. “Korn Ferry’s expertise in leadership development, coupled with insight from Exelis employees who are also veterans, provided the winning combination to make this program the true success that it is.”

Jeffries, a former White House fellow and Army helicopter pilot, is the force behind the program’s creation.  While participating in an Exelis leadership development program, designed and led by Korn Ferry, she was planning a project to set veterans up for success as they depart military service.  Korn Ferry was eager to extend its reach to serve veterans and their families.  It was clear that a partnership between Korn Ferry, Exelis Action Corps and Points of Light would provide veterans the rare opportunity to experience world-class civilian leadership training.

“The Korn Ferry volunteer team has been privileged to work with these accomplished veterans, helping them successfully move into the next chapter of their careers,” said Noah Rabinowitz, Korn Ferry senior partner and key program faculty member.  “This comprehensive experience will help them network, plan and strategize for the next phase of their life and career.”

These distinguished veterans were selected through a competitive process from a pool of more than 100 applicants.  Many of the participating veterans hold public and private sector management positions across a variety of industries.

“Without the support of Points of Light, we would not have received the level of interest we did for the program in such a short time,” said Jeffries. “Because Points of Light spread the word of this rare opportunity throughout their Community Blueprint Network, we could select from a large pool of qualified candidates.”

The Leveraging Military Leadership Program will convene at least two more times this year and quarterly beginning in 2015.  The next class opportunity details and application information will be posted here by March 15, 2014.