FORT BELVOIR, Virginia, March 30, 2017 —
How have you paved the way for future generations?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Future generations will pave their own paths. My life experiences have proven that life comes with turns. My success as an African American woman has opened doors, leaving a trail for younger generations to pave their own path in gold. As a leader, my purpose is not to have my followers stay behind, but to train through my actions and experience so that one day they surpass me.
I have persevered and overcome obstacles through my entire professional career. Serving eight years in the U.S. Army and ultimately continuing to invest into our country as a civilian for Defense Logistics Agency Energy has not been a small task. I started as an office automation clerk (GS-04), with the goal of becoming a contract specialist.
I started working as a secretary and continued to focus on my dream. I began taking additional college courses in preparation for my next transition. Yet, I found myself on a new journey. I was only a part-time student, but in order to adhere to the recently modified requirements to enter into the acquisition career field, I quickly became a full-time student. All throughout, I was also a single parent striving to keep a high grade point average while working full-time and raising a child (no easy task). There was no guide for what I was going through. I had to make up my mind to create a new “yellow brick road.”
When DLA announced a new program that provided an opportunity train in two career fields, I set my sites on preparing for the multifunctional program. As a selected candidate, I finally started my career in acquisition. I started my training as a commodity business specialist. I worked for two years in natural gas, which is now DLA Energy Installation Energy. I then rotated to contracting in bulk petroleum supply chain services. During this time, I continued to pursue my education and even accelerated my degree program so I could formally step into the acquisition career field at the end of the program.
Today, I serve as the division chief (GS-14) in the DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Supply Chain Services CONUS Storage/Services Contract Division. I am responsible for the oversight and management of performance-based service acquisitions under four major programs (environmental, alongside aircraft refueling, military-based contractor-owned, contractor-operated optimizations and government-owned, contractor-operated fuel services. As the division chief, one of my responsibilities is to lead a team of 21 personnel (three supervisory contract specialists and 18 contract specialists).
Hard work and determination yielded a fruitful career and it paid off. The breadcrumbs left from my journey are words of inspiration, proven determination, seasoned experience and faith. For individuals who observe my path, you have a glimpse of what striving for success can endure. One must set their eyes on the prize and get to work.
I encourage those starting out on their journey to let their experience mold and shape them. Yet, be humble and learn from every turn you take. For everything in life, there is a purpose. My purpose is to help other women in the workforce achieve their success. I know how hard it can be to reach a goal so I pay it forward. I am committed to mentoring, coaching and always sharing my story as a way to inspire and motivate others.