“There is nothing more American than a great comeback story.” That’s what ACP Mentor Brad Rossi told his Protege, Navy Veteran Daniel Kelly, after their first mentorship meeting. Brad sensed that Daniel’s incredible trajectory – from Sailor, to convicted felon, to current MBA candidate – would inspire and motivate those lucky enough to hear it.
Daniel’s experience with ACP exemplifies the power of mentorship to turn challenges into possibilities. Like many Veterans, Daniel faced external and internal difficulties after leaving the service. In 2016, the struggles that dogged his transition culminated in a suicide attempt, resulting in a felony charge and three-year prison sentence.
Daniel left prison with an intense determination to forge a new path in life. Along with receiving medical treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress, he completed a Bachelor’s degree and became the first college graduate in his family.
In 2023, Daniel reached out to ACP to receive personalized mentorship and connected with Brad, a Founder and Managing Partner of the private equity firm Allied Industrial Partners. From their first meeting, the pair have approached Daniel’s life experiences as assets that could bolster his professional prospects.
“[Helping] Daniel tell his story and navigate obstacles, and witnessing his continued perseverance and success, have been the most rewarding aspects of our mentorship,” says Brad. “[His] superpower stems from... his ability to persevere and overcome life’s challenges.”
Daniel is emphatic about the value of a Mentor who approaches the relationship holistically. “The program has [worked] wonders for me so far,” he says. “Brad and I meet regularly, and he's always ready to share his insights and experience... Brad allows me to be myself and be vulnerable with him.”
Last year, Daniel was accepted into Quinnipiac University’s MBA program, and he’s entering it with confidence buoyed by Brad’s guidance and support. “Brad has helped me with the skills...to build professional connections, and the ability to create conversations with confidence that helps me maintain those relationships,” he says. “He's helping me with skills I never knew [I needed] and quite frankly, skills that aren't taught in school.”
“Daniel has one of the most compelling personal stories that I have come across in my career – one of peril, triumph and perseverance,” says Brad, a former ACP Protege who plans to continue his volunteerism as an ACP Mentor. For the Veteran community, “simply having someone who cares [and] who can serve as a sounding board and open up doors by making introductions is incredibly valuable, which is why ACP’s mission is so important.”
You too can play a pivotal role. By dedicating just one hour a month, sign up as an ACP Mentor and become an influential force in the journey of a Veteran or Military Spouse. To those who have served and are currently serving, to include active-duty Military Spouses, seize the opportunity today - apply to be matched with a Mentor and start your own journey of professional growth! Your commitment can make a lasting impact.