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Salute to the Military program – Guest speaker Captain Derek Herrera
November 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
On November 21, 2014, Captain Derek Herrera medically retired from Active Duty in the US Marine Corps after 8.5 years of service as an Infantry and Special Operations Officer. After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 2006, he has spent his first six years in the Marine Corps building and leading teams of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers in locations including Iraq, Haiti, the Middle East and Afghanistan. On June 14, 2012, Derek was shot and paralyzed from the chest down while leading his Marine Special Operations Team on patrol in the Helmand River Valley, Afghanistan.
Derek never had any desire to be a motivational speaker, but has always tried to live in a way that would honor the men and women who have sacrificed to help him get to where he is today.
Although his story is inspirational, he spends less time telling his story and more on living his life in an honorable way. Derek has begun to share some of the lessons he has learned with the hope that others can benefit from his experience.
Captain Herrera recently graduated from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he earned a Master’s in Business Administration. While at UCLA, Derek was awarded the John Wooden Global Leadership Fellowship. Recently, he founded Spinal Singularity, a company that designs medical devices to improve the quality of life for people with Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury and Disease (SCI/D).
Derek Herrera has overcome significant odds to rebuild his life and move forward. Over the past three years, Derek has been able to achieve incredible feats physically, spiritually, and entrepreneurially. After sustaining a complete paralysis at the T5 level (chest) he returned to work in 6 months, completed his first triathlon in 9 months, took his first steps in an exoskeleton in 10 months, and entered business school just 13 months after his injury. He has attained significant accolades since his injury and credits each and every award he has received to his wife, his family, his community, and the memory of those that no longer have the opportunities he does on a daily basis (the men and women who were killed in action).
In addition to the external support Derek has utilized to achieve his goals, he believes his resilience has been solidified by the mindset he has adopted and the mental approach he was able to forge during his recovery. Derek will briefly share some of the insights he has gained about the essential elements of resilience and how meaningful and impactful it can be for anyone in their daily lives.