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From Combat to Cosmetics: A Marine’s Transition from the Battlefield to the World’s Largest Beauty Company

The FourBlock Podcast

Release Date: 01/25/2021

Paying It Forward: How an Air Force Veteran and FourBlock Alumnus Is Helping Others Transition show art Paying It Forward: How an Air Force Veteran and FourBlock Alumnus Is Helping Others Transition

The FourBlock Podcast

On this week's episode of the FourBlock Podcast, we welcome FourBlock alumnus Brian Arrington, USAF (ret), M.S., CEO and Founder of VETS2INDUSTRY LLC and VETS2INDUSTRY Foundation Inc. and a Business Initiatives Consultant with Wells Fargo. Brian joins host Mike Abrams to discuss his 20-year service in the Air Force, his military retirement and transition, and his subsequent work creating to help more veterans and their families get connected with the resources and benefits available to them and to ensure the success of every veteran and their families after military service. VETS2INDUSTRY...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“Even in my moment of deepest despair, I couldn’t quit, because that wasn’t who I was. That wasn’t how I was wired.” In an incredibly inspiring two-episode series, Colonel Gregory D. Gadson recounts his experience serving our nation in the United States Army for more than 26 years; the harrowing injury that nearly took his life and cost him both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand; his remarkable recovery and what got him through it; and his subsequent career as an actor, entrepreneur, artist, and advocate for wounded warriors, veterans and those with...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“Even in my moment of deepest despair, I couldn’t quit, because that wasn’t who I was. That wasn’t how I was wired.” In an incredibly inspiring two-episode series, Colonel Gregory D. Gadson recounts his experience serving our nation in the United States Army for more than 26 years; the harrowing injury that nearly took his life and cost him both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand; his remarkable recovery and what got him through it; and his subsequent career as an actor, entrepreneur, artist, and advocate for wounded warriors, veterans and those with...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“I’m no different than anyone else. When we go through transition, we go through these cycles of grief, self-pity, doubt, confusion, and all these emotions that are normal – that's human. The challenge is understanding them, embodying them, and rapidly turning them into action. How do I devise a plan to act and move forward?” Hit by a sniper’s bullet at the pinnacle of his military career, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Derek Herrera turned misfortune into his life’s work when he was paralyzed from the chest down. His military career came to a halt, but his life did not. He decided to...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“The real recovery, mentally and psychologically, was being around the people that I wanted to be around doing something of value and doing something of purpose.” Hit by a sniper’s bullet at the pinnacle of his military career, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Derek Herrera turned misfortune into his life’s work when he was paralyzed from the chest down. His military career was over, but his life was not. He decided to leverage his experience with paralysis in the business world, getting a Master of Business Administration and then launching a medical technology business. In this two-part...

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The FourBlock Podcast

This week, we’re sharing a LinkedIn Live interview that FourBlock Founder Mike Abrams recently did with FourBlock Podcast co-host Lindsey Pollak and Cappfinity’s Nicky Garcea, called Future Strong. Each week, Future Strong co-hosts Nicky and Lindsey host Future Strong, a LinkedIn Live show where they discuss everything to do with careers and early talent career transition. Mike recently joined Lindsey and Nicky for episode 10 to explore the topic of the military-to-civilian transition. In this episode, Mike shares FourBlock’s mission & history, explains why FourBlock focuses on...

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The FourBlock Podcast

Now a Data Curator at Tesla Government Inc, U.S. Army Veteran Andrea Castle helps her clients realize the full potential of their data by directing outreach, knowledge management, and training efforts. In conversation with host Mike Abrams, Andrea recalls why she joined the Army, and recounts what it was like to enlist for a “peacetime Army” in a pre- 9/11 world and end up being deployed to a “wartime Army” in a post- 9/11 world. Andrea describes her unique experience over two deployments to Iraq as an Arabic linguist with the U.S. Army; discusses her transition to the civilian...

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The FourBlock Podcast

*Please note - trigger warning: sensitive topics are discussed during this episode, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addiction, survivor guilt, and suicide. “I’m not the only person suffering from this. There are many, many people – veterans and non-veterans – who are suffering from this who need to know it’s a real thing and that there is hope to get past it.” This week, hosts Mike Abrams and Lindsey Pollak welcome U.S. Marine Corps veteran, award-winning photographer and writer, and licensed (FAA) commercial UAS pilot David Daly to the FourBlock Podcast. Deployed...

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The FourBlock Podcast

This week, host Mike Abrams welcomes U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, national intelligence professional and FourBlock Career Readiness Instructor Ellis Craig, who shares how he overcame some of the challenges and uncertainty he faced during his military transition and in his civilian career, how he made his way into the professional intelligence community, and how he worked his way up to his dream career. Ellis also shares expert insights and actionable advice for veterans in transition based on his two-plus decades of federal government experience in military operations, domestic defense, and...

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The FourBlock Podcast

This week, host Mike Abrams welcomes private sector IT leader and FourBlock Career Readiness Instructor Bernard Beaullieu to the podcast. In this episode, Bernard shares his expertise about the staffing and recruiting industry, discusses the different approach his company takes when it comes to IT recruitment, and shares invaluable insights from his extensive work and volunteer experience with transitioning service members and veterans. Bernard founded Beaullieu & Associates in 2007 to be the antithesis of today’s recruiting practices by offering a unique, high-end approach to IT...

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More Episodes

“One of the best things that any of us can do in this world is to support others and help them get to where you are, or at least help them be able to shape a vision for themselves, so they can get themselves to where they want to be. “

This week, we welcome Louis Desforges, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and human resources executive. In this episode, Louis shares insights and lessons learned from his own military transition as well as his transition from working in finance to human resources. Louis and host Mike Abrams also discuss the purpose and value of networking, navigating corporate culture as a veteran, and why Louis continues to give back to the veteran community.

Louis served nine and a half years as a U.S. Marine, starting with his first duty station at Marine Barracks 8th and I in Washington, D.C. and later at the Pentagon. Louis then left the East Coast and headed to Camp Pendleton, where he honed his skills as an infantryman in 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. While there, he deployed to Okinawa Japan, completing jungle warfare training and combined arms training with the ROK Marines, who are the Republic of Korea Marine Corps.

Following this deployment, Louis returned to his native New York for his fourth duty station, spending three years recruiting the best and the brightest to the Marine Corps. While a recruiter, Louis was selected by the Meritorious Promotion Boards to Staff Sergeant for outstanding performance.

In April 2003, he returned to Camp Pendleton, deploying within five months of arrival with Dark Horse, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines to Fallujah, Iraq. While serving in a forward operating base for his entire deployment, Louis not only led his platoon and attachment of Iraqis and other foreign troops, but he also served as company convoy commander during combat operations.

Rounding out his enlistment, Louis returned to the States to teach a legion of grunts how to engage in modern urban warfare. He completed his military service in 2006 and immediately enrolled at Pace University to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Finance, graduating magna cum laude in three years.

After a stint in finance, Louis transitioned careers to human resources. He went back to school for his graduate degree, earning a master’s degree in Human Resource Management. Starting as a manager four years ago at global beauty company L’Oréal USA, Louis was promoted three times, serving in four different roles. He currently serves as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, focused on building an enriching culture for veterans, reservists, and military spouses.

ABOUT US

Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace.

General Charles Krulak coined the term "Three Block War" to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat.

But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block. 

FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers. 

Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, FourBlock founder, director of the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, and author of two military transition books. He’ll be representing the military transition perspective.

Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey will be representing the civilian perspective of this issue. 

Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at fourblock.org/

Sponsor our program or host a class to equip more of our veterans at fourblock.org/donate.


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Podcast episodes are produced and edited by the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.