skip to main content
Leslie Rodriguez

Leslie Rodriguez

Leave No Veteran Behind

"Surround yourself with people who motivate you and can provide guidance."

Career Roadmap

Leslie's work combines: Non-Profit Organizations, Armed Services, and Helping People

See more careers and stories that connect to your interests.

Take Roadmap Quiz

Day In The Life

Chief of Staff

I help manage a non-profit organization that assist veterans with employment and educational debt relief. 

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    Maria Cruz Buitrago

  • Associate's Degree

    Business, General

    Harold Washington Community College

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Principals & Practices of Human Resource Management

    DePaul University

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be a Chief of Staff:

Associate's Degree: Business, General

Bachelor's Degree: Principals & Practices of Human Resource Management

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life took a while to figure out

  • 1.

    Graduated high school and went straight to work at fast food restaurants and factories. There I learned work ethic and the customer service skills needed to work in any industry.

  • 2.

    Joined the Navy and I realized just how big the world truly is. I served 8 years then used the benefits to get my bachelor's degree. 

  • 3.

    When I returned from Afghanistan to Puerto Rico, I decided to move back to Illinois. It was the best decision I made because it set in motion everything that has led me to be who I am today.

  • 4.

    Started to work at LNVB and it opened me to a world of opportunities. Not only did I have a great job but I was also introduced to networking & exposed to so many different professionals & companies.

  • 5.

    I finished my associates at Harold Washington Community College then enrolled at DePaul University and finished my degree.

  • 6.

    With my BA degree, I was able to get a part-time job as a Business Services Specialist at Moraine Valley Community College where I gained more experience in workforce development.

  • 7.

    Married an amazing man who always supports & encourages me. Having a support system at home is important to succeed professionally. It's better to be alone than with someone who doesn't provide this. 

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Myself:

    You wouldn't amount to much. I didn't have many professionals in my life to guide me or inspire me so I never believed I would amount to anything. I constantly told myself I wasn't worthy or capable of going to college or achieving an actual career.

  • How I responded:

    Pushing through and learning where that self doubt came from. Negativity is contagious, especially in family, so I made it a point to surround myself with people who encourage me and push me to be the best version of myself. I didn't do this until well into my late 20s and it made the biggest difference. Once I surrounded myself with professionals who have clear goals and love to grind, that is when I did the same because they held me accountable and believed in me like I had never felt before.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

Click to expand

  • My mother died in my arms at 11. This was a very traumatic event in my life but I learned if this did not break me, nothing could. This made me more resilient.

  • As a teen mom, my son became my driving force. My decisions no longer just affected me, they affected a whole other human being who I was responsible for.

  • I went to about 5 institutions before finishing my degree. It wasn't until I surrounded myself with people who had degrees that I was able to finish mine. Again, surround yourself with people who motivate you and can provide guidance.