It’s time for another chat with one of the terrific faculty members we’ve assembled at #RBLP, as part of our ongoing #MeetTheTeam series; today’s discussion is with Chris Salmon, RBLP-T!
Hi Chris! Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
I am Uhuru Christopher Alexander Salmon – a mouthful I know, but I generally go by Chris. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica on February 5, 1973. My family moved to Miami, Florida in 1986. I am the eldest of four brothers and I joined the United States Army at the age of 17 as 19D (Cavalry Scout). I served in the Army for 30 years, retiring in September of 2020 as Command Sergeant Major (E9). During my service I had the privilege of meeting and marrying my wife of 20 years, Teresa Salmon.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
Prior to joining the RBLP team I served 30 years in the United States Army. During those years, I was able to complete an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts and two graduate degrees: a Masters of Science and Management and a Masters of Education. I began my Army career in September 1990 as 19D (Cavalry Scout), and during the following 30 years I served in every team and leadership position in my career path, culminating with being appointed as a Command Sergeant Major (E9).
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
My inspiration to join the Army came from my cousin, Andrew. When I was in the ninth grade, he was a senior in high school in an Army JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps). He always spoke highly of wanting to serve and see new places. Somewhere along the line I picked up the same aspirations. I initially had no plans to serve for 30 years, but the challenges of being a soldier and leading others took hold, and before I knew it was time to retire.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
On my last assignment in the Army, I served as an instructor at United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. I really enjoyed being able to teach, share knowledge, and my experiences with the next generation of senior non-commissioned officers in the Army. Upon retirement, my teammate Kanessa Trent introduced me to this program and pointed out that I could continue to help other service members as well as expand my own learning by working with a more diverse group.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
I would describe resilience as being able to endure and overcome adversity in situations that occur, not only for yourself but also for the ones you love and work with.
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 most important components that I try to convey to leaders are:
- (1) We lead people and manage systems. In order to build an effective team, we must remember that every person is different and if we don’t understand those differences, we cannot effectively lead them or utilize their strengths.
- (2) Building trust is essential to building a resilient team. It takes time and personal commitment to build the trust with your team.
- (3) Never assume that you are finished. The ability to lead resilient teams requires constant attention and will always be in a state of change as the situation or needs change.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
My best personal experience that inspires me would be the first time my sergeant told me that he trusted me to lead a small team, because he was watching me and was impressed by my efforts to learn and help others.
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?
Working with the Giving Back clients that RBLP supports. Being able to help these organizations with leader development and building of resilient teams has been very rewarding.
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 enjoy watching documentaries on history, and catching up on TV shows that I never had time to follow. I enjoy reading, mostly thrillers and science fiction. I have also picked up a new hobby building and playing with remote control trucks.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
I read this in a book once and it stuck with me:
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent”. —Douglas MacArthur
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!