Assistant Director – Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
MY GREATEST STRENGTH
Being a consensus builder. I’ve learned to find a common ground with others, and others’ opinions, in an effort to move forward.
My father. My dad helped me expand my world view, and see the world differently. His talks helped me learn to be more malleable and open to guidance. That fundamental support helped me get to college and get ahead in my career.
In college, the dean of the school of agriculture guided me through my educational career and propelled me toward my career goals.
My first employer also saw my openness and willingness to be guided, and helped me ascend the career ladder.
HOW I MOTIVATE OTHERS
By being an example, and being accessible. I am always available to listen to ideas, provide guidance, and help others progress.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE
Our greatest challenge is that we are too often not sufficiently committed to the success and well-being of our families and our communities. We develop a sense of responsibility and accountability by accepting the guidance of our families and community elders, and understanding our responsibility to ourselves and those around us.
I give back to the African-American community through my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, and have been doing so for 45 years. I work with young African-American men, teaching them to work with community elders, family, and mentors to be responsible and accountable to themselves and our community.
My fraternity also offers numerous programs to help teenage boys and young men succeed, including Guide Right and Kappa Kamp. Each of these programs provides mentorship and guidance in STEM careers. Kappa Kamp incorporates a weeklong opportunity in the outdoors to learn about science, technology, and survival. I currently serve as chairman of my chapter’s scholarship endowment. Each year, we sponsor 10 young men who have recently graduated and are attending college. Each award recipient gets $2000 a year for 4 years.
Growing up on a farm in rural Arkansas, we had chores. The programs I work in help African-American kids become responsible and accountable for their success. After a young man is helped, there is an expectation that he will reach back and help future generations.
There is one lesson I live by: Responsibility lies totally with me. I can’t wait or depend on someone else to do things for me. Whether I succeed or fail, it is my responsibility to give it my best.
My balance comes from being comfortable with my “self.” Knowing that I’ve given my best, and learning from my mistakes to avoid repeating them, gives me peace of mind. And of course, I celebrate my successes.
I also find that getting outside and away from the office to walk, hike, hunt, or fish is therapeutic for me.
When it comes to dealing with people and doing good, I’m fearless. I’m not reluctant or afraid to dive in on any issue.
Be aware of the environment in which you work. Bring your very best skills, knowledge, and ideas to the table. Then, make sure you bring something extra—something that lets you add value. This can be as simple as a thought or idea shared with your colleagues or supervisors. Also, accept change and adjust to your environment.