No limits: How stepping outside of his comfort zone helped one veteran achieve success at Xerox

Brad Lieurance was never one to settle. From his time in college through his 25 years in the Army to...

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Xerox committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Xerox is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

Brad Lieurance was never one to settle. From his time in college through his 25 years in the Army to his career with Xerox, he has pushed the limits and achieved success in ways he never thought possible. Now Lieurance is using his experiences to encourage others to step outside the career comfort zone.

Lieurance was always a go-getter. He went to college on a baseball scholarship and relished the game. When an accident left him unable to play, Lieurance found himself feeling down and needing some focus. “I always appreciated the full-person approach to life,” he explained. “I needed structure, physical activity, and a challenge to be fulfilled.” Without baseball, Lieurance thought the military could be a good fit, so he left college and enlisted in the Army in January of 1986.

During his long Army career, Lieurance excelled. He served as an Infantryman for many years, but eventually sought something more. He applied to the Army's Green to Gold program on a recommendation from an Officer he served under, which offers enlisted personnel the chance to attend college and become Commissioned Officers. Lieurance earned his degree and returned to the Army as an Infantry Officer, working his way up to Captain. Eventually he was selected to study for a master's degree through the Long-Term Health Education and Training Program (LTHET). After he completed his degree program he worked as a Comptroller and CFO for Army medical facilities across the world, a career move that saw him through the rest of his service, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Brad Lieurance(Courtesy photo)

In 2011, Lieurance was ready to explore a career outside the military. “I took a normal path when I left the Army,” he said. “I only pursued government contracting jobs because that was familiar.” He worked as a contractor for several years, but found himself feeling unfulfilled: “I was doing the same job that I had been doing in the Army, but without the uniform.”

After a stint flipping houses, Lieurance stumbled onto an opportunity that changed his career trajectory. “I was playing golf with the CEO of Dahill/Xerox in San Antonio,” he said. “He needed someone to consult for him for six months and asked if I was interested.” A career with Xerox was not on Lieurance's radar. His background was military, financial and medical — he had never thought about a career in technology.

He wasn't sure how his experience would benefit him at Xerox, but again, Lieurance wasn't about to shy away from a challenge. He accepted the position and quickly began to succeed within the company. “After my initial contract, I was offered a position as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives,” he said. “I was working on something entirely new: business process reengineering.”

After a year, Lieurance was promoted to Vice President of Service. It was quite a change from his early days as a government contractor. “It was difficult to have such a steep learning curve,” he said. “Luckily, I had plenty of experience dealing with challenges. The rest I could learn.”

Lieurance's success depended not just on stepping outside of his comfort zone to accept a position with Xerox but equally on Xerox, which was willing to take a chance on a veteran with no experience in the industry. “I had a lot of experience, but none in technology,” Lieurance said. “I was limiting myself by not considering careers outside of my norm.”

Xerox saw something in him: leadership experience. In his position as VP of Service, Lieurance uses his skills in many capacities. From managing the Information Technology and Solutions team, to overseeing the Customer Care Center and Field Service personnel, Lieurance leads from the front and cultivates his employees to be ambassadors for Xerox. “The military taught me to lead, and I have expanded those skills to include CTLT: coaching, teaching, leading, training,” Lieurance said. “This strategy of grooming the whole person helps employees to become more knowledgeable, to grow within the company, and to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

“Xerox values military experience,” he added. “They know that veterans come with a specific set of skills that can be molded to fit the company.” The mutual valuation of military experience has not only helped Lieurance grow and succeed at Xerox, but Xerox has grown and succeeded thanks to the talents of veteran employees.

Lieurance's advice for veterans is straightforward: Don't limit yourself and don't let others limit you. “When leaving the military, take advantage of this opportunity to stretch yourself and try something new,” he said. “Find a company that values your military experience and is willing to take a chance on you as an employee.”

Xerox actively recruits veteran employees through military hiring fairs and local outreach. Lieurance sees many opportunities for veterans at Xerox. “The military is very reliant on technology, so it only makes sense that a technology company like Xerox would be a logical next step for today's veterans,” he said.

By not limiting himself and being willing to take a chance, Lieurance found an unexpected yet rewarding career with Xerox. His experience should encourage other veterans to follow suit, so that they too can reach their full career potential.

This post was sponsored by Xerox