Post hosts Junior Officer Council leadership conference Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Story and photo by Dawn Arden
Assistant editor
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The Junior Officer Council held its second annual leadership conference on Friday at the Pershing Community Center.

Key speaker, Brig. Gen. Duke Deluca, U.S. Army Engineer School commandant, talked to the junior officers in attendance about the continuing resolution, the budget and how it will affect the upcoming stage in their careers.    
Panel members field questions from the audience during the second annual Junior Officer Council leadership conference on Friday at the Pershing Community Center. The panel was comprised of senior leaders from Fort Leonard Wood.

Deluca stressed that time management is one of the more important skills a young officer needs to develop.

“Everybody can’t operate at peak skill and readiness 365 days a year,” Deluca said. “There is still not a human being that can do that, so you are the manager of that.”

He said that junior officers now have the advantage of combat experience to help them succeed that he himself was not as fortunate to learn from.

“As a company commander, I did not have your experiences in combat. I did not have them to draw on; I tried to get them from other sources, but the reality is I did not have it; you have it,” Deluca said. “You have so much raw ingredients to make every team that you manage a Super Bowl team, so I’m really excited to see that in the coming years.”

The conference, which was open to ranks second lieutenant through captain and warrant officer through warrant officer two, also held a seven-person panel consisting of senior officers from Fort Leonard Wood. The panel was assembled for a question and answer session.

Panelist member Col. Marie Dominguez, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital commander, addressed the women of the conference directly.

“You really need to look for those opportunities where you can take leadership. If you haven’t had leadership developing positions, you won’t have developed to take the company command position. So look for those opportunities,” Dominguez said.

Col. Daniel Larsen, 1st Engineer Brigade commander and also a panel member, shared some good advice that was once given to him.

“I once had a senior NCO tell me that you lead through doors and floors — through your presence while walking into a room, by walking into training to visit it. You lead though doors and across floors, but you don’t lead by windows, as in Microsoft Windows. You have to get out of the office and make sure that you are leading by presence, through door and across floors and not though windows,” Larsen said.

Col. Kevin Vereen, 14th Military Police Brigade commander and panel member, stressed that the Army is a business about the people.

“Take care of your people. If you take care of your people it’s amazing what they’ll do for you and how much they’ll come through,” Vereen said.

On balancing career and Family life all members agreed that communication and spending time at home were very important. Col. David Kryszak, Dental Activity Command commander and panel member, said there is an easy way to tell if you’ve got the right balance.

 “If you have too much leave than you’re not balancing your life; you’re working too much,” Kryszak said.  So look at your LES and if your leave level is too high then you need to change what you’re doing.”

The question was asked of the panel members, “What lessons did you learn as a junior officer that is still with you today?”

“Don’t be afraid to fail. I see a lot of young officers hesitant to take the tough jobs or hesitant to sign up for a project because their afraid of failing. Don’t be afraid to take those tough jobs and then look for mentorship if you need it,” Dominguez said.

Lt. Col. Eric Towns, 3d Chemical Brigade executive officer, shared what he learned early in his career.

“I learned early on that you couldn’t get away with only utilizing one influence technique,” Towns said. Your job as a leader is to get people to do things — if you’re not able to pull out of the ruck sack at appropriate time the appropriate influence technique you’re not a good leader.”

“What that takes on your part is a cultivation of interpersonal savvy and that’s hard to teach people, so you have to really concentrate on it yourself in your self-development program,” Towns said.

He also agreed with Dominguez, in saying that you can’t be afraid to fail.

“Success is not measured by an absence of failure. We’re a very human focused profession and humans are prone to failure,” Towns said. “Success is not measured by an absence of failure, it’s measured by how you deal with failure.”

The conference lasted throughout the day covering various subjects to help build the junior officers into stronger senior officers.

A check was presented to the Junior Officers Council from 3d Chemical Brigade and the Chemical Regimental Association.  
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 April 2013 )