The opportunity to share my lessons is an honor. To have lessons to share is a humbling. When I started this journey twenty-four years ago, I had no idea I would still be on it. My journey as an officer is filled with challenges, rewards, doubts, growth, lessons and experiences. All of them contribute to where and who I am.
Grow into understanding
God has been unwavering in his grace and mercy over my life…my career. Growing as a leader, having more responsibility and more expectations (Luke 12:48); faith had to be my cornerstone. Leaders are constantly observed by those around them including aspiring individuals. Each decision, each act, each word says something about you as a person and a leader. The more you believe and grow in your faith, the more your patience and understanding grows. Surround yourself with positive affirmation, keep your moral compass stabilized, and exercise your beliefs to maintain balance.
Aim to achieve more
Always do your best. The Navy is a tough environment. There are times you have to work 5X harder to achieve the same results as your peers. Enjoying what you do, will make you want more, do more and achieve more. New assignment, new environment, learn fast, stay focused and confident. Continuously look for the opportunity to learn and improve. . .as a person, as a Sailor, as a leader.
Be the best you, you can be
Be confident in yourself. Recognize your ability, knowledge and experiences brought you where you are. There is not a requirement to fit in or be the same, however teamwork is key. Consistently communicate and continue to gain education.
We are all different, our minds, outlooks, and talents . . . these differences build strong teams, leaders, and accomplishments.
Be a mentor, be an example. The road was paved but every day there are new trails being blazed. People learn and observe from everyone one around them. These experiences enable them to paint the picture of their future. . .their goals. People often seek out someone with something in common; career paths, life experiences, personality, etc. Be a positive influence. Share your experiences and knowledge. At some point, your representation is no longer about you but those that you encounter and see an opportunity for themselves.
Explore every opportunity.
This speaks for itself.
In all those lessons, this quote by Maya Angelou sums it up my outlook the best, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
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Captain Thomas is the Chief of Staff at Office of Special Projects in Washington, DC. She is from Riviera Beach, Florida and a graduate of the University of West Florida in Pensacola earning a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting. She was commissioned in November 1997 through the Officer Candidate School Program. She earned a Masters of Business Administration from Troy University in 2008 and a Masters of Art in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, RI in 2013.
Her shore duty assignments include serving as Executive Officer, NAVSUP FLC Norfolk, VA; Electrical Devices and Nuclear Reactor Programs Division Chief, DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, OH; Deputy Chief of Logistics Support and Services; US Southern Command in Miami, FL; Afloat Configuration and Force Stock Control Officer, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, Norfolk, VA; Support and Facilities Department Head, Naval Telecommunications Station, Puerto Rico; and Naval Acquisition and Contracting Officer Intern, Defense Contract Management Agency Atlanta, GA.
Her operational tours include Supply Officer, USS BATAAN (LHD 5); Supply Officer, USS MITSCHER (DDG-57); and Disbursing Officer and Material Stores Officer, USS NASSAU (LHA-4). She also served as an individual augmentee with Multi National Forces Iraq Contracting Officer in Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq.
Personal decorations include a Defense Meritorious Service Medal (one bronze oak leaf), Meritorious Service Medal (one gold star), Joint Service Commendation Medal (one gold star), Navy and Marine Commendation Medal (one gold star), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medals (two gold stars), and various service awards. She is qualified Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer and Naval Aviation Supply Corps Officer, also a member of the Navy Acquisition Professional community and a Joint Qualified Officer.