James Schmeling, managing director and co-founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), will participate in the 2012 U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) 15th Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla. The IVMF and the USBLN announced a formal partnership in August, focused on advancing service-disabled veterans in employment and entrepreneurship through supplier diversity certifications and innovative employment programs with business and industry partners.
Schmeling will moderate a breakout session on veterans, “Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining and Advancing Wounded Warriors.” Panelists for the session are Brian W. Williams, vice president, military and veterans affairs, JPMorgan Chase; Alford “Al” L. McMichael, founder, Drew Foundation (Ret., 14th Sergeant Major, U.S. Marine Corps, 1999-2003; first African-American 1st Senior Non-Commissioned Officer for Allied Command Operations, NATO, 2003-06); James L. Herdt, CEO, Herdt Consulting Inc. (Ret., 9th Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy, 1998-2002; “triple qualified” authorized to wear Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, and Enlisted Submarine Warfare Specialist insignias; certified Master Training Specialist); and James D. Rodriguez, director, veterans programs and military recruitment, BAE Systems Inc.
The session will focus on the business case for hiring a veteran, including veterans with disabilities, or “wounded warriors,” based on studies that suggest a robust, specific and compelling business case for hiring individuals with military background and experience. Panelists will discuss practices in employing veterans with disabilities-including recruiting, hiring and educating managers and coworkers-and practices related to EAPs, resource and affinity groups, accommodations and related topics. The inclusion of academic, business and military leaders will ensure robust discussion and resources for conference participants to take back to their companies. Additionally, Herdt and McMichael will focus on enlisted veterans and family members, who currently have the highest unemployment rates. The session will also provide opportunities for USBLN member companies and attendees to begin sharing leading practices for employment with each other, continuing peer-to-peer networking.
Schmeling will serve as a panelist on a breakout session on supply chain (diverse suppliers and corporate representatives), “The Value of Certification-Making Certification Work for You.” Session moderator is Patricia J. Richards, director, Disability Supplier Diversity Program (DSDP), USBLN, with panelists Schmeling; LaKesha White, senior compliance manager, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC); Cindy Ulven, president, Accelerated Engraving and Signage, certified DOBE; and Sam McClure, director of affiliate relations and external affairs, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
The session will focus on the need for and value of certification, often questioned by the very groups it is intended to support. Panelists will discuss certifying as a disability entrepreneur- (including service-disabled veteran-), woman- or LGBT-owned firm, and how businesses are able to address concerns of qualifiers and business legitimacy and concentrate their efforts on discussing their business capabilities and proven performance with corporate decision-makers. Panelists, including three from nationally recognized third-party certifying organizations, will explain the certification process, including required documentation; and how to use certification as a tool in a business’s marketing arsenal and the benefit of f multiple certifications. Supplier diversity purchasing may provide significant employment opportunities not only for the veteran-owned business, but for employees the business hires to support business growth, SDVOSB supplier diversity certifications may open the door to business opportunities that non-certified business may not be able to access.
In addition, the USBLN is also presenting a plenary session on veteran employment, “Welcome Home: Corporate America Creating Career Opportunities for Wounded Warriors,” focused on companies that have developed innovative recruiting strategies to hire returning military who possess the right job skills, as well as those that are engaged in creative programs and community partnerships to prepare America’s heroes for careers in today’s economy.