Jan 25, 2021
“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.
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.