ESPN, ACP Mentorship Program Helping Veterans and Active Duty Spouses

Cait Cohn



ESPN is dedicated to celebrating our veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces as part of its annual America's Heroes: A Salute to our Veterans initiative in November in recognition of Veterans Day, and throughout each year to celebrate and honor their service and sacrifices.

In honor of Armed Forces Day being celebrated on the third Saturday of May and Military Appreciation Month celebrated throughout May, ESPN is proud to reflect on its role and commitment to serving our veterans and active duty spouses by helping them find their next careers through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice through American Corporate Partners (ACP) - a nonprofit organization that helps retired military veterans find their next careers through mentoring, networking and online career advice. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN's parent company, has been a partner of ACP's since 2013, and in 2019, the ESPN Veterans Employee Resource Group announced a mentorship initiative with ACP as part of ESPN's 40th anniversary celebration. The program allowed employees to support post-9/11 veterans and active duty spouses transitioning into civilian life by entering into a one-year mentoring partnership. In total, 45 ESPN employees mentored 45 veterans and active duty spouses as part of the anniversary.

"ESPN and The Walt Disney Company are very involved with volunteer work and support of our military and veterans in numerous ways," said Brent Colborne, ESPN's senior director of Content Strategy, Programming and Scheduling. "Being able to take the experience I have from my 15-year career at ESPN to help service members with their transition into civilian life and into the workforce is an incredible honor."

As part of the mentorship experience, ESPN employees provided one-on-one mentoring for either veterans or active duty spouses and helped build their résumés and shared tips on how to prepare for job interviews. Mentees also received advice on achieving career-advancement and maintaining work-life balance. ESPN employees worked with their mentees to ensure they understood job opportunities, helped grow their networks and provided insight and advice, while also celebrating their accomplishments.

When asked about her experience as a mentee, Carena W., a veteran of the United States Army shared that she chatted with her mentor, Tonya Cornileus, ESPN vice president of Human Resources, twice a month and texted with her often. "Her mentorship has been instrumental in my professional development," the Army veteran said. "She offers sound advice, encourages my big dreams and ambitions and celebrates successes with me. I think I'm the luckiest mentee on the planet right now!"