Every November on Veteran’s Day, we thank Veterans who serve our country in both the past and the present. In honor of this day, we chose a team member who is a Veteran to spotlight this month. We sat down with Stephanie Robinson, former Commander in the United States Navy, to ask about her Navy experience, skills she took with her into civilian life, and most importantly – to thank her for her service. Here’s what she had to say:
Would you briefly describe for the readers your role as Commander in the United States Navy
I had the good fortune of serving in the United States Navy Reserve as a cryptologic officer. I was full-time active duty for my first two years, serving at the Navy Security Group Activity (NSGA) in Misawa, Japan first as a junior watch officer and later as a division officer, responsible for 50 sailors working 24/7 shifts in signals collection. After returning to the states and civilian life, I stayed in the reserves serving in various roles, including Executive and Commanding Officer of different units. I was recalled to active duty several times for as few as three months and as long as two years. It was a great tour of duty. Commander was the last rank I achieved.
How did your role in the Navy prepare you for the role you have currently at Cohesive?
The easiest answer is ‘be mission focused and be flexible.’ The number of variables that can affect a successful military mission can be large and can vary at every step of the process. Many of those same variables affect our projects. From weather to personnel concerns to the way the room is situated for a workshop, we are expected to produce results despite and often because of the landscape. Mission focused, flexible response.
How did your experience in the Navy shape or change your civilian life, post service?
Great question (what you say when you don’t know how to answer). I’m a bit of a girl scout literally and figuratively. God, country and family and usually in that order. I love precision, and tradition and I am a proud patriot. In that respect, I can’t separate my Navy experience from my civilian experience because, except for the uniform, I approach both the same. Do the job. Do it well and to the best of your ability. Have fun and meet great people along the way. Develop juniors, learn from seniors. Know when to lead, follow, get out of the way and when to walk away altogether. It’s all the same.
What skills from your experience as a Commander in the Navy do you take with you to client sites, or help you manage your team?
Servant leadership is recognizing that to lead is to serve. It’s a premise that’s drilled in early and often in officer training. You don’t just lead your people; you serve them. I strive to bring the principles and practices of servant leadership into everything I do for the company, for clients, at church and in every other aspect of my life.
Is there anything you miss about military life
I miss name tags.
All kidding aside, I miss the sense of common mission. When you’re on a military base, every person there, including the civilians ‘get it.’ Everyone gets why we’re there and seems to understand the necessity of individual sacrifice and inconvenience to advance a common goal. It’s an intoxicating feeling when the whole group is laser-focused on achieving the same goal. I see flashes of it and savor when it happens on projects and in some of our small teams. But there is nothing like being on a military base when there is a joint activity happening, and everyone is focused on the successful outcome of that activity. That’s when you get to see the real-life applications and meaning of teamwork."Serving was my honor" - Stephanie Robinson
Thank you to all the Veterans who did serve or are currently serving this country.