Welcome back to our Authorized Training Partner (ATP) Spotlight series! Today we’re speaking with Meghan Michael, RBLP-T, who is also a founder and partner at the Collective Resilience Institute.
Hi Meghan, thanks for chatting with us!
You went from a military career in the Navy to working in human resources, with that as a focus as an Adjunct Professor at Lourdes University. What drove you to pursue HR when you transitioned into civilian work?
I was HR in the Navy as well. I started as a P-3C Orion Naval Flight Officer and did about nine years of active duty. During that time I deployed to Asia and the Middle East, flying missions over Afghanistan right after 9/11. Flying over land was a new mission for the submarine-hunting design of the P-3C. But in true military style, we flexed to meet the mission. Flying in support of the troops on the ground was an experience I will never, ever forget for the rest of my life.
I then went on shore duty in a Navy schoolhouse where I learned about curriculum development and teaching. During this time, I was able to earn my masters degree in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego too. I decided it was time to leave the Navy and went into the Reserves. In the Reserves, I was able to get a job at another schoolhouse. This is where I learned about the Navy HR community. I enjoyed training and education so much, I decided to apply to return to active duty and was accepted as an HR officer.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
When I retired in 2017, I did not want to work in the corporate sector. I felt that I needed to be more available to my family. I had planned to take a one-year break after retirement to just relax. However, that only lasted about three months before I started looking into starting my own business. With my education and training background, I was also interested in getting back into the classroom. So, in 2018, I began teaching as an adjunct professor at a local university in the College of Business and Leadership.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
I would have to say my parents and my husband. My dad was a high school teacher and coach (of many sports!) my entire life growing up. I grew up in a family that always encouraged education, learning, and growth. My parents always pushed my brother and I to learn, grow, try new things, and not be afraid to fail. It was part of my identity before I even joined the Navy. In 2006, my husband, knowing how much I love and missed it, encouraged me to go back on active duty.
What drew you to creating a company to provide authorized exam prep training for the RBLP certification?
I have always loved group facilitation. Beginning with group swim lessons in high school to teaching courses in the Navy and now coaching youth sports. There is something that draws me to the group dynamic, and I thoroughly enjoy being in that environment. Jeremy and I started talking a while back about what a course would look like as a group versus the one-to-one teaching model and realized we had some similar ideas. We also had a lot of different ideas that could make this option desirable for people who enjoy group learning. I really had no plans to start a company until the opportunity and the right partner presented themselves. It was quite organic and it has been fun, frustrating, and of course, a learning experience to launch CRI.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
This is a tough one, but I think I would narrow it down to the ability to adapt and react quickly and confidently to chaotic or stressful situations. In the case of the RBLP, it would be the team’s ability to adapt and react.
What are the three most important components, in your opinion, that you try to convey to every team that you train under the RBLP certification program?
I think the first component is the importance of creating a positive climate, developing cohesion, and providing purpose in building resilient teams. So many leaders want to jump in and start “fixing things,” but neglect to place any focus on the people. As leaders, it is important to understand that our role is to train and teach people to eventually replace us. Many leaders fear being replaced if their team is smarter or more creative than they are. What they don’t realize is by encouraging learning, people begin to trust us, and will do anything to support us as leaders. The last important component is that as leaders, we must always model the behaviors we want our people to display. Too many people lead with the motto “Do as I say, not as I do”. That never builds trust, and ultimately will never build a resilient team.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
There are many experiences in my career that I was able to relate to this certification training. One of my most significant was taking over an organization that was really struggling; they had failed their tri-annual assessment (military folks will understand this one) more than once. There was no trust in the chain of command, no accountability, and just an overall bad feeling. Some people said that it was one of the worst organizations of its kind in the entire country! A lot of people outside the organization told me the people there were lazy and no good. When I arrived, I realized nobody had invested in these people. They didn’t know why they were there (purpose) and were not being held accountable. They needed someone to invest in them, as people. We started from the basics and focused on our purpose. We began having some fun, and establishing high standards of accountability. It took over a year, but we eventually got to the point where we became a learning organization. People wanted to improve processes (on their own), help each other, and invest in each other. We even got to the point where people were asking to be assigned to our organization. I was very happy to influence this group of people and demonstrate that an organization can change from what they were to a resilient team.
In your time as an Authorized Training Partner, what is one of your best memories of working with a client and why?
Well, I have only worked with individuals so far. I have truly enjoyed hearing peoples’ experiences and seeing the light go on as to how it relates to the concepts of the RBLP. I often exclaimed “wow, this is exactly what I was going through or experiencing” during my own training sessions.
Pivoting a little bit from the program – tell us a little about yourself outside of work! What other activities or hobbies do you love?
Well, I am a mom to two very independent teenagers and a wife to a Marine Corps veteran. I am proud to say that we have been married for almost 19 years. With both of us serving on active duty , we learned how to be a very resilient couple! My free time is taken up by my kids’ activities (namely sports). I also coach a high school girls’ rugby team. I also serve as the Chairperson of my local school district’s Parent Safety Task Force as well as Co-Chairperson of the NW Ohio Military Affairs Committee. Additionally, I mentor veterans transitioning from active duty to the civilian sector.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
“Remember where you came from…”. I am not sure anybody famous ever said it, but my dad told me that a very long time ago and it has always stuck with me. No matter where I am in life, always reach back and help others along their journey. Be a good example to others and just be kind.
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!