Editor’s note: Every year March is designated as Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. In honor of this tradition, Defense Logistics Agency Energy is recognizing some of its top-notch female employees who are making a difference as champions of Warfighter support.
My name is:
A wife, a mom, a daughter, a Navy veteran, and a DLA professional!
Describe your job in a sentence:
As a DLA Energy Europe and Africa staff analyst, I am the “air traffic controller” for my team keeping everyone safely moving in the right direction, altitude and speed so the mission gets accomplished with minimal turbulence.
How long have you worked at DLA?
14 months. I was hired under veteran’s preference for DLA Energy in Kaiserslautern, Germany after following my husband’s career in the Army for 28 years. Prior to that, I was a commissioned Naval officer and served a three-year tour. I was a surface warfare officer trained in navigation and naval engineering. I was stationed on the U.S.S. Cimarron (AO-177), which was a fleet oiler ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I was the officer of the deck for all major maneuvers, which means I drove the ship. I was in charge of the Auxiliary Division that included cargo fuels. I managed the storage, quality and transfer of about 8.5 million gallons of JP-5 fuel and Diesel Fuel Marine F-76 fuel. We operated in the Pacific refueling battle groups three weeks out of four every month. Ironically, I now work for Energy, so that background knowledge has been super useful. My goal is to forward my career as a Department of Defense civilian. My husband is willing to follow me around and support me now as I did him.
What is your favorite thing about working for DLA?
I really love the mission. “Fueling the Warfighter” is relevant and critical every day. DLA Energy Europe and Africa’s regional headquarters is located on an Army installation in Germany. We interact with soldiers and airmen who are conducting missions from large-scale exercises in Europe to small-scale ground operations in Africa. It is exciting to interact and personally know the customers who receive and use DLA resources every day to carry out our nation’s work. When you live and work in an overseas military community, your customers are literally your friends and neighbors.
What are your best memories of working here?
The best part of my job is the privilege of working in the command suite. As a staff analyst, I work with every DLA Energy employee in the region. I see how the work of specialists from many divisions come together for a common goal. In my time at DLA Energy, I have learned that the organization is saturated with very talented employees who have critical logistics skills. I am witness to how all of their individual efforts morph into the accomplishment of our larger mission.
How do you make a difference?
Our area of operation includes all of Europe and Africa, so our employees travel to unusual and austere locations such as Djibouti and Nairobi. Many hotels do not take credit cards and they are not able to rent vehicles so they have to get permissions and security escorts to travel to some of their fuel locations. We also have a number of locations in Eastern Europe, former east bloc countries, like Ukraine, Latvia, Romania that require more security paperwork and clearance steps in order to travel there. Many locations require we use U.S. Embassy approved hotels where American military and government employees stay while on official travel. Because European flights are not loaded in the Defense Travel System, we work closely with the Scheduled Airlines Traffic Offices, Inc. in getting the approval authorizations so that the agents can book the flights and hotels manually through their system. Travel over here is just a little more complicated with more things to consider. With more than eight years working as a travel agent in government travel programs, my experience enables me to facilitate our employees’ complex travel requirements. I enjoy training the travelers to use the DTS program and help them with issues they encounter. I am gratified when I can help make that program easier for them.
How do you resolve conflict in the workplace and at home?
Open communication. As a mom of two teenagers, I have learned that no one knows what you are thinking or feeling and you should not make assumptions. You have to talk and sometimes lay your feelings and opinions out in the open. Explain yourself and when asked, make a recommendation. Listening is just as vital. Being heard and understood can sometimes be the resolution people need. If a decision is required to resolve a conflict, then make a decision in the best interest of your entire command or family. Do not be afraid to make a decision. Right or wrong, make the best decision you can. “The road of life is full of flat squirrels that could not make a decision,” which is not my quote originally, but I have used it in teaching my now college and high school age children about decisiveness. I really believe as a leader, making a decision and moving forward is key. Not everyone may agree with a decision, but at least the team can move forward. No one likes a leader or manager (or parent) who can’t or won’t make a decision. Indecisiveness paralyzes you and those you influence. My daughter said this quote is going to be her senior quote in the yearbook when she graduates.