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 DLA’s Cornish Pays It Forward via Mentorship

Living within the metropolitan Washington, DC area, it came as no surprise that Elijah Cornish chose to seek employment in the federal government sector. In fact, he’s been with Fort Belvoir, VA-headquartered Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) since 2010. He currently serves as senior acquisition program specialist, and is a member of DLA’s ombudsman/industry engagement team.
“Part of my duties consist of developing and executing DLA’s Industry Engagement Strategy, including preparing the DLA director and other general officers and senior executive service members for meetings with industry partners, leading multidisciplinary teams and assisting with resolving concerns,” explains Cornish, who holds a Bachelor of Science in occupational studies and is working on a master’s degree in public administration.
Given that the government consistently partners with industry to support its various mission requirements, Cornish sees the government sector as a viable career field for years to come, and underscores the many career paths within the federal government.
“The fact there are so many different career options within the federal government to choose from, I predict there will be a need for increased personnel,” he forecasts.
For those interested in a position similar to his, Cornish identifies some of the most-needed skills. Among those he cites are extensive knowledge of the acquisition process, the ability to formulate acquisition policy, excellent communication, and the capacity to effectively collaborate with personnel at the operational and leadership levels.
When asked what he enjoys most about his job at this 27,000-employee agency, Cornish is quick to answer, “Just about everything!”
He does, however, also comment on the extra sense of gratitude and appreciation he feels for American warfighters: “Knowing that DLA’s number one priority is supporting our warfighters is vitally important to me.”
Involvement in professional and community activities for Cornish includes participation in Blacks in Government, NAACP, Red Cross, mentoring and other outreach activities.
“As I continue up the ladder within the government, one constant stands out: the fact that, to date, all of the supervisors and mentors I’ve had over the years have stressed the importance of ‘paying it forward,’” he notes.
Today Cornish continues that endeavor as he mentors individuals looking to accomplish a fruitful career in government, as well as those in need of mentoring in their day-to-day lives. Quoting Michelle Obama, he is fond of saying, “Mentoring is about providing comfort and stability in a world that often lacks both. And it is about showing young people that the world is filled with opportunities, and then helping them seize those opportunities.”
For more information about DLA, visit dla.mil, dla.mil/Careers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn.
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