Editor’s note: In March, the Walt Disney Company and President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced an important new initiative to recruit and hire military veterans across all segments of the company.
“Heroes Work Here. Employ excellence. Hire veterans” is Disney’s pledge to find career opportunities for 1,000 veterans over the next three years. The company has launched a national campaign to encourage all employers to hire veterans. Additionally, employees will be encouraged to serve veterans organizations through Disney’s VoluntEARS program.
In honor of Independence Day, Front Row spotlights an ESPN employee who also is a military veteran. Today’s profile is Rafael DelValle, an ESPN security specialist. A 29-year U.S. Army veteran (1980-2009), the former Master Sergeant earned two bronze stars, a meritorious service medal and five Army commendation medals among other citations.
He accompanied ESPN and the ABC, Marvel and Disney partners to our recent Veterans Career Expo in NYC in May. There, he socialized with veterans seeking jobs and talked about his experiences and shared career advice that might help them land a position with a good employer.
Hometown: Bristol, Conn.
Favorite Sports Teams: Giants, Yankees and Knicks
Where did you serve and what were your responsibilities?
I served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation Golden Pheasant (Honduras), Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Operation Desert Shield.
My responsibilities varied over the years. In my last year of service, I was a Senior Advisor for battalion level and regional support brigades.
Why did you choose to work for ESPN?
ESPN is a global company and they have a great concept to serve sports fans everywhere. There will always be sports. I spoke with a few friends through networking and found out there were a few jobs open. So I applied and got hired.
How does your military background help you with your current role?
Everything that the military does deals with security in some way. What they teach is to motivate us to focus on missions as a team and this is what we do every day at ESPN. So what I have done and learned in the Army has transformed and transferred over to working in security here at ESPN.
What does the military teach you that can be applied to civilian life?
Any career veteran is going to be efficient with certain skills such as a disciplinary approach to work, leadership, ability to work as a team, respecting integrity, problem solving and knowing ways to perform under pressure.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
I am grateful for my time in the military. It has taught me so much about freedom. I’m grateful for the individuals who fight for our freedom every day. They give up so much to make sure that we can have our freedom and continue our lives.