Each month the Office of Leadership has posted on All Hands 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 were highlighted in this series and shared what has inspired them to be great leaders.
Editor’s Note: This Inspire series will resume on All Hands when the 2018 Inspirational Leadership Award Winners are announced.
Ms. June Ledwith was selected as the 2017 George R. Putnam (Civilian) Inspirational Leadership Award winner for her outstanding leadership. As a housing officer in Sector Northern New England, Ledwith’s efforts have led to an accurate portrayal of local housing costs and helped improve the financial situation of all members within those housing zones. Ledwith also led an all-volunteer, six-member team that spent 200 hours establishing an inaugural Women’s Leadership Symposium. She stepped in to professionally deliver the diversity segment when the speaker canceled at the last minute, ensuring 63 personnel from four states received expert information and engaged in an honest dialogue on the topics of leadership, suicide prevention, challenges women face, and diversity. Ledwith noticed the need to bring civilian employees together and invigorated the Civilian Advisory Board (CAB), organizing quarterly meetings and trainings and authoring a Sector CAB Instruction.
Ledwith shares how her passion for helping others and empowering others to go and do great things is what has made her an Inspirational Leader:
“I have never thought of myself as a leader; more of a person who sees a need and jumps in to fill that niche. I have always worked in the support services field and used to believe the positions I’ve held were based on available opportunities at the time, but I have come to learn that I have a passion for helping others and spending a career working with active duty members and families is my destiny and exactly where I am supposed to be.
I am inspired by an organization that empowers its members to go forth and do great things. I am fortunate to be a part of Team Coast Guard and to have commands that have embraced my enthusiasm and commitment to helping others, whether it’s hosting a women’s symposium, or coordinating a self defense class. Like most, I have faced some challenges and setbacks in my life, but these failures did not define me – they helped me to grow, taught me to rise up and overcome, and strengthened my conviction that I will not be defined by my stumbles in life.
The week I was notified that I was the recipient of the George R. Putnam Inspirational Leadership Award was the same week I lost my younger sister to an illness. As imagined, our family was and is still devastated. My parents always taught me life is not fair, but what matters is how you rise up and face the challenges, obstacles, and barriers you will encounter throughout your years. My parents rose up and faced this tragedy with grace, dignity, and the conviction to move forward and continue to live, to be kind, and to be generous to others. My parents inspire me to do well in this world.
My father wanted to join the Coast Guard and follow in the footsteps of his brother, my uncle, but was turned away for sight issues, so he joined the Marine Corps and is a Vietnam veteran, which makes our family immensely proud. Though he could not join the Coast Guard, I would like to think that in some small way, through my accomplishments as a federal employee, that our family has left a positive impact on this organization. I live my life getting up every day with the hope that today I will be better than I was the day before. If in some small way I make a difference in someone’s life, I have achieved that goal.”