ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff will give a keynote address at Disney’s first-ever ‘Veterans Institute’ workshop on November 14, 2013. Building on its successful Heroes Work Here initiative to hire, train and support military veterans, Disney will host the free Veterans Institute workshop at Walt Disney World Resort to inspire other companies to employ servicemen and women transitioning to the private sector.
On January 29, 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. In February 2007, just 13 months after being wounded in Iraq, Woodruff returned to ABC News with his first on-air report, "To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports." The hour-long, primetime documentary chronicled his traumatic brain injury (TBI), his painstaking recovery and the plight of thousands of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with similar injuries. Woodruff continues to cover traumatic brain injuries for all ABC News broadcasts and platforms and was honored with a Peabody Award in 2008 for his reporting on the subject.
In February 2007, Woodruff and his wife, Lee, co-wrote a bestselling memoir, In an Instant, chronicling his injuries in Iraq and how their family persevered through a time of intense trauma and uncertainty. The Woodruff family established the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to raise money to assist injured service members, veterans and their families.
“Returning veterans need tools and opportunities in order to move onto the next chapter in their lives. I'm pleased to participate in an event that enables companies to reach out to these heroes so that they can thrive after they return home,” said Mr. Woodruff.About ‘Veterans Institute’ The day-long Veterans Institute, co-sponsored by Heroes Work Here and Disney Institute, is designed to help companies build effective veteran-hiring programs of their own. The event will feature experts from Disney’s Heroes Work Here, government officials, veterans, and non-profit veterans service organizations, who will share their experiences, best practices, and tips for making a successful transition from the military to the civilian workforce. Veterans Institute is the latest effort in Disney’s long history of respect and appreciation for the U.S. Armed Services, and it will leverage the success of Heroes Work Here, which Disney launched in March, 2012 with a commitment to hire more than 1,000 veterans by 2015—a goal the company has already surpassed. This past March, Disney increased its hiring goal to create opportunities for another 1,000 former service members in the next two years. Highlights of the Veterans Institute workshop will include: an inside look at Heroes Work Here; renowned keynote speakers, panelists, Disney on-air talent and personalities; customized Disney Institute courses; advice and insights from experts and elite veterans support organizations; and stories from veterans about their own transition to the civilian workforce. Featured speakers and presenters who are currently scheduled to appear include:
- Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
- Rosye Cloud, Senior Advisor on Veteran Employment, Department of Veterans Affairs
- Dr. Susan S. Kelley, Director, Transition to Veteran Program Office, Department of Defense
- Rich Morales, Colonel, U.S. Army and Executive Director, Joining Forces
- Teresa Gerton, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor
- Mike Haynie, Executive Director and Founder, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University