Walter Mendenhall was born in Chicago, Illinois. Despite being diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of 5, Walter overcame adversity to keep pace with the rest of his classmates and not fall behind in his studies. With the help of his mother and a series of education professionals, Walter successfully progressed through elementary and junior high and entered high school with his peers.
Around this time he developed a love of sports and as such became very active in his school’s sports programs where he established himself as a leader on each team that he joined. Throughout the course of his high school career he played three-years of varsity basketball, football, and ran track. Walter ended up graduating with a 3.2 GPA and a scholarship to the University of Illinois to play football.
While at Illinois he was a member of the football team and twice earned academic All-Big Ten honors. After graduating from University of Illinois, Walter played his last year of football at Illinois State University. He then transitioned into the National Football League (NFL) where he played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals.
Having accomplished his lifelong dream of making it to the NFL, Walter’s desire for mentoring and teaching young people prompted him to walk away from football to focus on pursuing his passion for teaching the next generation of leaders. While pursuing his Master’s degree in Higher Education from National Louis University, he accepted a series of coaching and teaching positions at local high schools in the Chicago area, and began mentoring youth in partnership with various community organizations as well as via his own organization “Male Mogul Initiative”.
In order to broaden his reach, Walter began touring the country speaking at national conferences and various universities and has worked with organizations, and institutions such as; Nike, NFL, Young Entrepreneur Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, University of Illinois, etc.
Walter is a currently a PhD. candidate, Director of Program Development and Teen Programming at Circle Urban Ministries and a successful entrepreneur, mentor, and speaker.