Changing Lives Together

Employee Spotlight: Herman Whitehead

Q: Describe your role at Sheppard Pratt.

I do outreach with homeless veterans. In my role, I strive to assist veterans in job-related manners by helping them find and get trained for jobs.

Q: How long have you worked here?

I’ve worked here since 2004 and just hit my 16-year anniversary in July.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a hard-driving worker focused on helping veterans. I have a lot of compassion for helping veterans and doing my job.

Q: Tell us what your program does.

The Homeless Veterans Employment Program is designed to help veterans compete in the local workforce. First, we find out what kind of job they’re looking for. Often, they need training for the jobs they’re interested in, so we focus on building their skills. Then, we help with applications and interviews, and we coach and mentor veterans during the first few months they are on the job. A few vets that stand out to me recently are one who just entered real estate and another who went back to school to be a nurse.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

After checking in with my manager, I get on the phone or on the road. I regularly check in with folks at Veterans Affairs and other veteran organizations to see if there’s anyone who could use our services—whether it’s a job, training, or work clothes. I also spend a lot of time taking veterans to interviews. As a matter of fact, I took one gentleman to an interview a couple of weeks ago, and he got the job! He’ll be driving a forklift for a major internet retailer.

Q: What advice do you have for the veterans you serve?

Just keep going: Move on and move up. It might get worse before it gets better, but you have to keep going.

Q: What motivates you? What gets you going every day?

My thinking more often than not is, hopefully I can do some good today. I care so deeply about the people I serve.

Q: What has been your proudest moment at work?

Every time someone gets a job—there are high fives all day long! There was one veteran who got his real estate license a while back, and he went big time. Another veteran sends me a text with blessings every day, Monday through Sunday!

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to build things; I’m building a shed right now. Now that I moved out of the inner city, and I have grounds to care for, I’m planting and gardening. I just got a lawn tractor and a pressure washer for Father’s Day.

Fast Facts About Herman