Law Enforcement and Leadership: Learning to Lead By Example
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. After high school, I attended Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida where I obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Business and Spanish. While I attended FSU, I became a police officer. I gained many valuable life experiences as a 19-year old, barely out of high school. There I learned the importance of developing communication and leadership skills. One of the first opportunities I had in leadership is when I became a Field Training Officer.
I can remember training newer officers and not having a clue how to make them better. I felt lost at times and I did not know how to find the answers. There was no real rule book or straight forward guide that taught me how to lead others. Fortunately, I had a few leaders in front of me who showed me how to train and build up these newer officers. It was not a consistently structured system but it worked for me.
After a few years, I moved onto working with the federal government as a Border Patrol Agent in Laredo, Texas. While I never had any official leadership roles, I found myself on a daily basis trying to learn more about helping others. There was no exact answer and I had to rely on a combination of people’s viewpoints to gain a better understanding of leadership. I could remember taking a leadership training while I was working for the Border Patrol. It was between 4-8 hours and the only thing I remembered from the training was one of the instructor’s talking about how space and leadership is connected.
During my time as a Border Patrol Agent, I decided it was time for me to expand my knowledge and increase my big picture thinking. I chose to pursue a Masters in Business Administration. It was an experience. The graduate program helped me think on a bigger picture of business concepts. It provided me with the knowledge of understanding the various parts of businesses. In my last semester for my MBA and my last year as a Border Patrol Agent, my son was born.
After his birth, a decision was made to move back to Florida, where more family was located. This is the part of my life where I learned about the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I was hired in late September as a Correctional Officer in Coleman, Florida. I admit, it was a step back, both financially and in career progression. But I knew in my heart, it was the best decision for my family.
Once I moved back to Florida, I was in my final semester for my masters degree. Surprisingly, it was the first course I took that was heavily focused on leadership. It was during this semester where I saw a change in my view on leadership. The concepts I learned and applied to past and future goals were amazing. The worst part about the class was it was only one semester. It left me desiring to learn for more. Unfortunately, I did not learn right away because I assumed someone was going to come and teach me more without me looking for it.
After two years with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I was promoted to a Lieutenant in Pollock, Louisiana, where I currently reside. I earned a leadership role that I had wanted for a long period of time. Once I was in it, I was similar to how I felt was when I was a Field Training Officer. The biggest difference was I had to know how to lead without any formal training to do it. People, many people, was counting on me to make them better. They were counting on me to know how to lead them. I was provided with training but I do not feel it was enough to handle the ever-changing situations law enforcements officers are faced with on a daily basis. It was not enough to keep up with the demands of leadership.
Even with a masters degree and in a leadership position, I wanted more knowledge. I wanted to be more influential. A few months after I arrived in Louisiana, I joined a local Toastmasters club. This organization is designed to increase communication and leadership skills. It has assisted in my progression in both those areas and it has meant so much to me. In the summer of 2017, I was selected as the President of the club. Once again, it increased my appetite for leadership development and I was still ambitious for more.
In 2017, I was introduced to the John Maxwell Team. I was not certain of what I was getting myself into until I began the curriculum. It was everything that I wanted to become, plus more. It helped me challenge myself as a leader and set me on a path to discover who I was designed to be.
After becoming a certified coach, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team, I officially opened my own business in September 2017. My business focuses on the areas that I have experienced over the past 14 years as being a leader. I take current and future business leaders and formulate methods to help them climb to new levels and increase their legacy.
I provide one-on-one coaching, group leadership trainings, keynote speeches, workshops, seminars and leadership assessments. The best part of my business, aside from the people, is I offer my services both in-person and virtually. I wanted a business model where everyone from the CEO to the homemaker had a chance to work on leadership development. I did not want only people in organizations or people who only had time out of work to develop myself. I want to make sure there are chances for everyone to succeed and grow together to make our society better.
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