Alumni Testimonials

Jeffrey Yarvis

, Class of 2018
I've really grown. I think that I'm a much better leader. And I feel like having said that, I bet I have a lot more to learn still.
Jeffrey Yarvis, Class of 2018

I was trying to accomplish those three things: finding out where the gaps in my own training were, how would I transition and what opportunities would another degree create for me, and what kind of a degree should that be. And then, also, how can I continue to benefit from this growth process.

There are all the serendipitous things that happened along the way. Along the way I got promoted into a position I didn't think  I would get. That was also followed by a second opportunity for promotion, not in rank, but in position and authority. Immediately upon getting this degree, almost instantaneously, one of the universities said, you know we're moving into this other direction, and we're going to do it at the doctoral level. We want you to come in and be part of that process as we grow, so that I'm able to impart some of what I've learned in this process to others. Because it was never really about me. I'm a social worker by profession, I'm a soldier by profession, the work that I do is always about service above self. I get involved with my community. What I've found is that the more you take in, the more you're able to transmit back, which actually was something I wasn't expecting to have happen in this process, and that's felt very, very good.

I think the real point to this program is that you're never beyond learning. There are two types of leaders: there are senior ones and there are experienced ones, and I try to be the latter. I'm not going to hide in my rank, or what I know, or that I have a degree and tell you that I know more about leadership than you do. Future graduates should always keep that in mind. That this is like a black belt and there are many degrees of black belts to follow, and this is just the first one.

I had some mentors along the way that said, you know, if you are continuing to go into executive medicine if you are striving to move beyond where you are, if you're not satisfied and you view life as an evolution, your career as an evolving thing, then you should take on something like this.

I have a doctorate, and I'd say that this degree was as rewarding and challenging, and humbling as the doctorate was. Many people around me said, you already have a bunch of degrees, how are you going to benefit from that? My wife was one of those people who said, why are you doing this, you've been in school forever? Why do you need this, is this something that you have to prove? I said, this one's for me. This is to make me better. This isn't to leap to the next step. If I do well in this step, maybe the next steps will be opportunities that I couldn't possibly have imagined for myself and I'm going to let those come to me.

I would say to anybody who's looking to do something like this, this is a very, very impressive program. But, it's not for the faint of heart. You have to have a certain amount of ego strength because you feel like you've accomplished quite a bit already and to take some hits in the chin. And if you can't do that, this is not a program for you because has been extremely humbling. But in that, in those trials and tribulations, I've really grown. I think that I'm a much better leader. And I feel like having said that, I bet I have a lot more to learn still.