Entry #18, December 1, 2010
Article from DesMoines Register:
What I do: As project director I am responsible for the outreach, admissions and career placement components
of the Job Corps program for the State of Iowa. Job Corps is a nationwide job and employability training program for young people ages 16-24, funded by the federal government. We currently have a training center in Denison, Ia., and will be opening a new training center in Ottumwa in the summer.
Background: I was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. I joined the U.S. Navy for a brief stint as an officer and was stationed in Newport, R.I. I earned a degree in sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, which is an all-male historically black college where Dr. Martin Luther King is probably the most noted alumnus. I recently earned my master’s in business management from Minot State University in Minot, N.D. I lived in Minot for a short period while I studied, but it was part of a management training program with Job Corps and I learned a lot and made some lifelong friends. I moved to Des Moines almost two years ago for this job. I am a soldier in the Salvation Army and a big brother to three awesome sisters, and “dad” to my dog, Remix.
Why I do what I do: I have always loved working with teens and young adults. For the longest time, I did it on a volunteer basis, so when I finished college and had the chance to do it professionally, I jumped at it. Doing what I do is more of a passion than just a career. I couldn’t be successful at it unless I truly believed that I was giving young people the opportunity to better themselves.
To get away from work, I like to: I am an adventurer and like to try new things. Over the summer, I took up golf and biking. I have also been spotted on the ski slopes and white water rafting. I am also an avid movie fan.
The skill I’ve developed most while on the job: The ability to draw on the strengths of others to supplement my weaknesses. For the longest time I lived by: “If you want something done right, then do it yourself.” That only goes so far. Eventually you have to delegate things and trust that other people can do them as well as or even better than you can.
Best motivational book I’ve read lately: “Memo to the President Elect” by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. It was written just before the end of President Bush’s term and released before President Obama was elected, while most people still thought Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. I found her suggested strategies for leading a country transferable to leading an organization.
My leadership philosophy: Train others to take my place. The best measure of my legacy will not be what I am doing now, but which of my policies and practices will stand the test of time and still be in place several years after I have left. The best way to do that is to create a shared vision with my coworkers and successors so that no matter what happens to me, the organization will continue to work towards the greater good of those that we serve.