March 2024 - Mentorship Success Story

Hailey Brindamour


Transitioning out of the military is an exciting step for many service members who ar eager to embark on the next phase of their career. But the leap into civilian life, in its speed and uncertainty, can also resemble a heart-pounding trip through whitewater rapids. Whether you have been in for four years or 24, having a Mentor rowing beside you can offer safe passage through choppy waters.

That’s been true for Adam Creel, a Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps with 20 years of service. Like many Veterans, he had an impressive game plan: finish his Bachelor’s degree; enroll in a Master’s program; complete his PMP certification. The missing ingredient was wisdom from someone who had achieved civilian success and could help him maximize his transition time.

Over the past eight months, longtime American Corporate Partners Mentor Dave Hollander has filled that role for Adam. Dave, a digital transformation executive with 40 years of experience, is now in his eighth ACP mentorship and still connects regularly with previous Proteges. His time with Adam has been rewarding, and even a little surprising, for both men.

When they initially connected, Adam wasn’t sure of his goals for the mentorship program. Dave noted that while Adam was participating in a SkillBridge internship with First Command Bank, his priorities and passions were curiously unclear.

Dave started off by helping Adam organize the many tasks ahead of him. “[W]e are working through a 'to do' list and prioritizing each item based on what needs to get done while he is still in service,” Dave said early in the year. “I am hoping that this ends up in a plan of sorts to help him focus his energies.”

“The past few months have been interesting for me to say the least,” Adam says of his transition. “I have had the roller coaster of emotions, which are common to all... Defining myself, discovering my why, and exploring future careers are simple bullet [points] on the surface but enormous icebergs underneath.”

Adam is now pursuing licensure as a Financial Advisor in California. He still doesn’t know exactly what his professional future holds, but his conversations with Dave have bolstered Adam’s faith in his own ability to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

As a seasoned Mentor, Dave recognized that Adam needed more than a linear approach to getting a job. “It is a process for sure,” says Dave, “and I am honored to be here for Adam to help him successfully make this transition.”

“I have taken [Dave] through twists, turns, and depths I didn't expect in our relationship between mentor and mentee,” says Adam. “To my surprise, Dave has been there with compassion and poise at every point. I have yet to doubt him but I have doubted myself through this process and having him as a sounding board has helped me come to understand myself more.”

ACP’s Mentors go beyond the basics and get to the heart of what it means to thrive. To make an impact, apply to mentor a Veteran or Military Spouse today. Veterans and active duty Military Spouses, apply here to connect with a Mentor and define your own success!