My Journey into Consulting

NH Way


November 3, 2017

Being a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I bring a unique perspective to my daily work at North Highland. As a consultant today, my career is all about working with clients to understand and develop creative, innovative solutions to their critical challenges. My primary expertise is in procurement and management information systems initiatives for state and local government organizations, non-profits, integrated health systems, Medicaid and Medicare health plans, and hospitals. My work often accompanies a need to navigate challenging or unanticipated situations—a reality that my Navy experiences have prepared me to confidently handle.

NavyIn the Navy, I served as a Law Enforcement Specialist, where I provided a range of critical services—including security for service members, protection to government officials, and preliminary investigations into UCMJ violations— to every part of the Navy. This role took me all over the world, equipping me with a global perspective that no study abroad program or previous job placement could have ever offered me. From 1993 to 1994, I was deployed to Diego Garcia, Chagos, where I provided logistics support to operational forces in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Then, from 1995-1997, I served at Commander, U.S. Naval Activities, United Kingdom (COMNAVACTUK) as an echelon three command subordinate to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe. Through these experiences, I learned to adapt to unfamiliar environments, make the most of the resources available to me, and design and execute on strategies—all while building an ability to continually adjust based on performance. Most importantly, I developed a steadfast commitment to integrity – doing the right thing for my team, my country, and in the communities where I served.

After my deployment and enlistment, I made the decision to further my education at Liberty University. I approached this new path with a strong awareness of my military background, and interest in applying my Navy skills and expertise in a new, civilian setting. It was not without trials and tribulations as I transitioned from military life to civilian life. At the start of my college education, I began to struggle academically, and considered withdrawing following my first year. During this time of uncertainty, my older brother Bryan had just been drafted into Major League Baseball as a relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Over the Fourth of July weekend, my family and I traveled to Boston to watch him play his first game in Fenway Park. In stark contrast to the feelings of celebration and joy I felt for the start of my brother’s MLB career, I was also struggling with my identity and path forward.

During this weekend, my mom took me for a long walk in the streets of Boston, where she encouraged me to reflect and apply the strength, courage, and commitment to serve our country to obtaining my undergraduate degree. I truly could not have persevered without the support of my loving mother and family, who continually encouraged and supported me through this time. As I continued along my educational journey, I uncovered a passion for helping and leading others to solve complex problems. As I look back, I realize that my former military experiences helped to nurture this passion. It was in my interest in helping others that I decided to focus my education on healthcare. Once I received my Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Liberty University—where I was on the Dean’s List and inducted into the National History Honor Society—I then went on to obtain my MBA from Eastern University with a concentration in healthcare.

I’d value my skills and experiences from the Navy as highly, if not more highly, than my formal education and previous civilian employment experiences in preparing me for my professional role today. My service in the Navy provided an unmatched foundation in written and verbal communication, community service, team work, time management, research and analysis, and problem-solving—all imperatives in my role today in consulting. At the end of the day, I’m confident that I’m uniquely equipped to navigate challenges and maximize the value of available resources to deliver proactive, innovative solutions to clients today. Most importantly, serving in the Navy helped me to build a solid foundation of integrity. I know I’ll always be committed to doing what’s right by my clients and firm.

The Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is also featuring Leighanne’s story ahead of its 2017 Veterans Career Fair.