Each month the Office of Leadership will be posting a blog post on what inspires people to be great leaders. Rear Adm. William Kelly, assistant commandant for Coast Guard Human Resources, and Mr. Curtis Odom, director of Civilian Human Resources, Diversity and Leadership, kicked off the “ Inspire ” series in March with a video asking for you to keep the leadership dialogue going and to share what inspires you to be a leader. The 2017 Inspirational Leadership Awards Winners will be highlighted in this series and will share what has inspired them to be great leaders.
Lt. Kimberly Angel was selected as the 2017 Witherspoon (Active Duty) Inspirational Leadership Award winner for her outstanding leadership while assigned to the Coast Guard Command, Control, and Communications Engineering Center (C3CEN) in Portsmouth, Virginia.
As the Independent Verification and Validation Section Chief, Angel provided safety of navigation, maritime domain awareness, and law enforcement capabilities for 2,000 shipboard assets and 38 command centers. Angel expertly juggled her responsibilities while leading a diverse team where she committed to the professional development of her members. She was also the Tidewater’s Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Group president and a proactive member of the C3CEN Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council.
In her own words, Angel shares how seeing others grow has been a huge part of what has made her an inspirational leader.
I’ve never set out to specifically be a great leader and most certainly never thought the words inspirational leader would be associated with my name. With 19 years in the Coast Guard, I’ve always been passionate about personal growth. When learning something new, I get excited about that knowledge and become eager to share. New information presents itself in different ways, a podcast I may have listened to on my way to work, a recent book passage or even a short conversation with another colleague. Being motivated and excited about learning something new and working in an environment where you feel safe to share that knowledge is key. I love to see others grow and achieve their personal goals. This is one of many reasons I pursued becoming a company commander and how I’ve thrived in the leadership roles I have been so blessed to serve in. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing a piece of knowledge that maybe seemed useless at the time, learning later that information somehow inspired someone, as you watch them succeed at things they never thought possible.
Throughout my career I have encountered leaders who were willing to develop and help others achieve their goals. This was important for me to see and experience early in my career. Joining the military was my way out of a small town and a way to change my destiny. I wouldn’t have been successful without someone looking out for me and guiding me along the way. I can remember being encouraged to pick an A-school, pick a duty assignment and get qualified. My whole career has seemed fast paced and speckled with great leaders who reached back and pulled me up to the next level. These examples have molded me into the Coast Guardsman I am today, eager to learn and eager to see others succeed. All of us have had bad examples of what not to be as a leader and many of us have had bad leadership days ourselves. I truly think what is important is the ability to learn from every situation and bounce back. Some of the best leaders I know aren’t afraid to own the mistake, apologize and move forward. There’s no need to dwell or beat yourself up, you have people depending on you. As Gen. Stanley McCrystal put it, “Leaders are good because they are willing to learn and trust. If you are a leader the people you’ve counted on will help you out. If you’re a leader the people who count on you, need you on your feet.”
We all come to the Coast Guard through different accession points; we’re united by our core values of “Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.” We’ve all been trained to serve, to work as a team with a common mission and a shared sense of purpose. When you take the next step higher, whether advancement or promotion, earning a certification, etc., reach back and bring someone up with you, it makes the ride so much more enjoyable and they’ll thank you for it.
Note from the Leadership Awards Panel: I was honored to be the president of this year’s leadership panel, comprised of amazing individuals that spanned the entire Coast Guard family — active, reserve, officer, enlisted, civilian, Auxiliary. We had a very difficult time whittling down 152 well-crafted nominations. Our deliberations were long and thoughtful and we left no stone unturned in selecting the best of the best. Panel members often noted that this was an extraordinary opportunity that inspired us. In fact, one teammate with three decades of active and civilian experience stated that he left the panel each day with a spring in his step. We truly have the best leaders and followers of any organization. Let’s continue to work together to perpetuate that track record. Thanks everyone – Capt. Greg Stump