We have a new feature on the RBLP blog, which will introduce you to our cadre of instructors in the program. Our first interview is with Alvin Keen, RBLP-T.
Hi Alvin! Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
I am originally from Southern California. I grew up around the beach doing skateboarding and couple of summers of surfing. Great music, and the Apollo program were the culture of SoCal. I was in Boy Scouts and liked it and, but we could not afford it so had to leave. I enrolled in Army JROTC and loved it and excelled.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
I joined the California Army National Guard in 1980, when it was not popular to go into the military. I started out as an enlisted soldier and then became an officer. I retired in 2014 from US Army Reserves as lieutenant colonel after 34 years of service to this great nation. The best slogan the US Army had was “Be All You Can Be,” and I tended to embrace this in my professional military career as a reservist as well in my professional career as well. At the same time, I worked in aerospace at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing for nearly 24 years in commercial and military aircraft programs, and the space division.
I worked full-time while completing my BS Degree in Finance and that took eight years, but I’m thankful that I never quit. All of my education degrees and certifications I have always completed while working full-time and being the reserves at the same time.
You’re also an adjunct associate professor at both the New England College of Business and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. What do you enjoy most about teaching at these two schools?
I greatly enjoy being an adjunct faculty member to serve working professional adults furthering their education goals. The best satisfaction is when I attend graduation ceremony and students bring their families for me to meet. At these moments, I see the joy and pride that these families have in their graduate. Being part of this journey is the reason I enjoy this, seeing how my efforts helped someone.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
I thank the Good Lord who brought several role models in my life that were able to help shape and influence my career at pivotal points. These role models are military officers, professional colleagues and couple of friends. Each of them helped give that inspiration, words or comments like “I know Alvin that you can do this and will excel.” As a leader, I see this is the challenge in developing others – to see the potential that is not developed or stretched yet and needs some incentives of encouragement to grow further.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
I liked the introduction video and material that I viewed and thought, this is something that I have done and do and want to do for the certification and as an officer-leader. It reminded me of book I read in MBA at Pepperdine for organizational theory class titled, “Managing At the Speed of Change – How Resilient Managers Succeed” by Daryl Conner. I still have that marked up book from that class.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
Resilience is the strength that you have as a leader that reflect your experiences in life which has caused you to not quit when others do. Instead, it gives you the personal energy to still push forward and lead others when they do not see it possible.
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?
The three areas that I have mentioned so far are:
- You already have the leadership experience, so this is a very relevant certification.
- You are going to learn more about experiential learning as a model and how to apply it in your leadership role.
- You’re a continuous lifelong learner so glad to see you in this program as part of a growing certification.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
The times drive the necessity to continue learning and growing professionally. I always look and scan the future to see what is the next area that I should be looking at or considering. As I tell my students: If you are not growing and pushing for some certifications, your competition is.
In your time as an RBLP instructor, what is one of your best memories of a training program that you’ve accomplished with a company and why?
I was responsible for developing a workbook for project managers to manage from proposal, execution, and closure. I lead a team that would design and build an integrated project workbook in Excel with metrics, developed the training materials, and designed videos to help from the crawl-walk-run approach for running 25 standard reports for every project. I selected the team members that had the passion for excellence and could help implement this change. It was a great challenge to plan, and it worked to break down the barriers and help the organization implement this tool.
Pivoting a little bit from the program – tell us a little about yourself outside of work! What other activities or hobbies do you love?
I’m an avid history reader and lately getting into podcasts, but I do enjoy the books still. I also resumed playing tennis last year and had joined a league, and I like to play golf. My wife Patricia and I ride motorcycles, so looking to get an Indian Bagger cycle. We also enjoy going for walks with our dogs and getting back into rucking as a way for more challenges.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
“Inflexibility – it was the worst human failing: you could learn to check impetuosity, you could overcome fear through confidence and laziness through discipline, but rigidity of mind allowed for no antidote.” – Anton Myrer, “Once An Eagle”, p. 44
What would Sam do? This is the question that you learn to ask from this book. As a book nerd I still enjoy the learning that great classic books teach.
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together! As always, we are #StrongerTogether.
alvin keen alvin keen alvin keen alvin keen