“It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. Work outside of your comfort zone as much as you can, it forces you to grow and expand your way of thinking."
I am a Deputy Program Manager (DPM) for our Department of State (DoS) Diplomatic Security Services in an important overseas U.S. Embassy. In my role as DPM, I am responsible for ensuring contract compliance and execution. I assist in providing overall support, leadership, management and direction to the overseas leadership staff in order to provide the appropriate services and protection for the United States Government.
My job is to assist and support our hard working men and women overseas in order for them to protect personnel, property, and assets for the United States, helping spread U.S. diplomacy around the world.
Before coming to SOC, I worked on a DoS Diplomatic Security contract overseas. I was familiar with the industry, but I only knew it from the OCONUS perspective. I was lucky enough to come on with SOC, which gave me the opportunity to learn the other side supporting operations from the U.S. It is a whole different experience from this side.I have a very operations-driven mindset. I think very black and white and in this career field, things are very cut and dry. You know what your mission is and you have to accomplish it. Period. This works really well with how I naturally operate. My interest in diplomatic security peaked the more I saw all the moving and shaking involved in getting the daily mission accomplished. The more I learned, the deeper I wanted to dive in.
I also work well within the culture of this industry. I think it is a contributing factor in my success. I can excel here as I am determined to never give up, to be the best for our U.S. Government customers. In diplomatic security, you are always faced with challenges you cannot give up on and must be completed. Not only for the sake of the company and mission, but for the people you have working for you down range as well. The cool thing is, there are new missions to accomplish every day. Some are bigger tasks than others, but it keeps things exciting. The constant challenge keeps the job very interesting and it keeps you hooked!
It’s rewarding when you receive a report from the customer for the down range teams’ impeccable work and professionalism displayed after a hectic and challenging day of missions overseas. Probably the most rewarding for me, however, is seeing personnel new to SOC deploy with us on the diplomatic security program for the first time. The overseas location I support is a location like no other with a very unique style of mission. Seeing the new personnel walk into this life changing industry, loving it and thanking you three months down the road for helping provide this unique opportunity for them is by far the most rewarding.
Diplomatic security is an ever changing world to operate in. There are always new challenges to solve. At the end of the day, it’s that challenge that makes me better and better at what I do. I learn daily in my position, and without being challenged, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
No doubt when SOC won the existing contract I support it was exciting – a new territory, a major challenge. Our stand up of this contract was a huge success, and is to this day! Looking back, that time is filled with great memories, priceless learning experiences, and ultimately a great success story. We are going into our third year of the contract and it is running great!
Give your 110% best every day, keep your integrity as your most valued trait and never compromise that. Don’t give up and always keep the safety of your personnel down range and the customer first.
It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. Work outside of your comfort zone as much as you can, it forces you to grow and expand your way of thinking. Surround yourself with good leaders. A leader can be a person in a parallel position that you look up to in the way they operate. Learn from those around you, even those that do things the exact opposite of how you would do things.