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News | April 6, 2018

Pairing learners with leaders

By Kimberly Fritz DLA Energy Public Affairs

Curious about what she could learn from senior leaders, Rachel Dunlap became the fourth participant to sign up for the Defense Logistics Agency Energy Shadow Program.

She selected DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Martin Chapin to follow for the week of March 12-16. Dunlap is the first government civilian to shadow the brigadier general.

Dunlap, the DLA Energy Business Process Support Directorate’s Reports and Analysis Division chief and 13-year DLA Energy employee, said she seized the opportunity to get more insight and gain an understanding of the responsibilities, interactions and perspectives of the leaders at the top of the organization. 

The shadow program, developed as part of DLA Energy’s mentoring program, provides its workforce with another opportunity to manage their career objectives, said Strategic Communications Group Strategic Analyst Consondra Christopher-Davis.

Shadow experiences span three to five days and offer multiple levels of leadership observations since employees may shadow any leader within the organization, she added.

Hand-in-hand with the DLA People and Culture Plan, the DLA Energy Commander’s strategic focus areas is on managing talent and developing future leaders.

“The important thing to me is a two-way program,” Chapin said. “The shadow gets to observe and gain understandings of senior-level management and leaders gain perspective from the shadow as well.”

Dunlap attended progress reviews focused on the preparation for a visit by the Honorable Robert McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness.

“The VIP visit was excellent,” she said. “I was able to see a portion of the preparation for the visit and the execution of the presentation was and questions generated. It will help me in the future to develop presentations for senior leaders.” 

Dunlap attended end of the day wrap-ups with Chapin, DLA Energy Deputy Commander Guy Beougher, and DLA Energy Chief of Staff Army Col. Doug Henry, where they discussed ongoing events and challenges.

“I included Rachel and asked her opinion to get her insight about the engagements,” Chapin said. “I’ve gained good insight into teleworking and other topics while talking with my shadow.”

Dunlap said each day was unique and dynamic, but the candid one-on-one discussion she and Chapin had between meetings were the best part.

“I absolutely accomplished what I hoped to,” she said. “I will be able to apply some of the lessons learned to my daily job such as organizational techniques, strategic focus and meetings with a purpose, and I’ve gained an understanding of some of the current operations here.”

While Dunlap is the first to shadow Chapin, Chris Boeding shadowed Beougher and Callie Lake shadowed Kevin Ahern earlier this year.