Introducing Ryan Letts: Skills for a Civilian
By Pamela Drake
Our Stories: An Intimate Connections Series
Have you ever wondered what to do with your life or how to achieve the things you want? The single most important thing to know is that you do have options. The military, for example, is a place where you can learn some very useful life skills. Of course, you can learn these skills elsewhere, but the military provides an option as a fast way to get them quickly and establish your goals.
Ryan Letts, an army veteran, took the skills he learned and successfully transitioned to become a business advisor at the Brooklyn Small Business Development Center at City Tech’s Chapel Street location. Even though his primary duty is to provide business assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs, Ryan faithfully serves the veteran population in New York City and New Jersey by providing much-needed information and services to transitioning service members veterans and their families.
1. What is your biggest challenge or stumbling block(s) and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
My biggest challenge was attaining a proper education and finding the resources to pay for it. I went to the military to get assistance with paying for college.
2. Is this something you would recommend to others?
Overcoming our inner demons can be the greatest challenge we will face in our lives. The military was helpful with challenging me to face my inner self. In the end, I was the better for having had such an experience.
3. What tools or personality traits do you think is indispensable for accomplishing your goals?
Having soft skills or emotional intelligence (that is the ability to empathize or understand someone’s emotions) is probably one of the most important tools you can have.
4. What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
I would have sought more mentorship because I could have achieved a lot more.
5. What do you mean by more mentorship? How can someone find more mentorship and how can mentorship help?
Mentorship is applicable for a wide range of uses such as finding the career, starting a business, building relationships etc. Having someone with experience to help navigate a desired goal is helpful and often times not quantifiable.
6. What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
That I shouldn’t take anything for granted and show appreciation to the people who help and support you.
Although Ryan is in the stage of completing his academic journey, he continues to use what he has learned to help others. Having learned how to challenge strength in adversity, he wants to be remembered for empowering the underprivileged.
Maybe you’ve been considering the army (or any other branch of the military) as an option. Whatever path you choose, just know that you do have choices, and the skills and education gained will last a lifetime.