It’s time for another #MeetTheTeam interview, giving you insight into the wonderful team of faculty here at #RBLP. Today we’re speaking to Julie Williams, RBLP-T!
Hi Julie! Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
My name is Julie Williams, but my friends call me Jules. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I am the youngest of six siblings, the daughter of a Marine and most gracious mother. I joined the Air Force at the age of 17 and just recently retired as a Senior Master Sergeant at a little over 22 years of service. While all careers have ups and downs, the person I am today is because of what the Air Force community instilled within me. I am beyond grateful for that opportunity. I am a mother of an amazing and talented 15-year old-daughter, and she is my most prized accomplishment. Both of my parents gave me an example of what a hardworking, strong and confident person should be, and I try daily to instill that in my daughter. Respect first and foremost followed by confidence and a “I can do anything” attitude.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
When you stop learning you stop growing. I fully believe that to be true so when I joined the military I jumped on the free school train and have been going to school on and off ever since. About eight years into my career I received my Bachelors of Business degree and then took a longer than normal hiatus before starting my Master’s program. I graduated with my MBA in Project Management in 2016 and sprinkled throughout the years that I was not taking college courses I jumped on any opportunity to learn in the form of leadership seminars and other certifications. I also have close to 20 years of supervisory and leadership experience and there is nothing I love more than watching others succeed.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
I cannot say that there is just one person who inspired me, but many who have made a lasting impression of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to become. The first would be my brother. He is older than me by 18 months and joined the Marine Corps directly out of high school. The freedom and selfless dedication I saw in him steered me directly into the military. After I had joined there were two people in particular stood out to me and I found myself wanting to emulate parts of who they were and how they lead. One was a Chief, the other at the time a Lt. Col who ultimately ended up officiating my retirement ceremony as a Colonel. Both of these leaders had traits and values that I knew I wanted to strive for. With retirement approaching, it was actually my brother who talked to me about RBLP and the amazing message they teach. It’s funny how things go full circle sometimes, and now both he and I work for RBLP and are able to inspire and educate others.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
Teaching and facilitating leadership education is something that speaks to my soul. It was the most rewarding part of my career and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. So when the opportunity was presented to me – by my brother, it was something I just could not pass up. It is an honor to be able to teach and progress those around me.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
When I think of the definition of resilience I think of life and how it comes and goes in waves, good times, struggles, bad times and the in-between. Life is never the same and resilience is the getting back up and pushing forward when life hits you hard. It is the glass is half full, positive attitude when you feel like the world is against you. Resilience doesn’t mean getting it right all the time, it means that when you don’t get it right or you are down you have the aptitude and mindset of pushing forward and leaning into the issue to navigate your way out. Resilience is less of a definition and more of a character trait if you ask me – it become autonomous with a person who doesn’t let the less than in life hold them down.
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 entire curriculum is invaluable – but to choose three components I would have to say, transparency, expectation management and delegation/empowerment. All three of these components go hand in hand in creating a successful leader and team. Transparency at all levels is something that is crucial to mission and team success. There is nothing worse than feeling like you aren’t seeing the whole picture and walking around blind. As leaders and teammates ensuring everyone has full knowledge of scope is crucial and leads into expectation management. A teams expectations can only be managed if they are aware of what is going on. From there delegation and empowerment lead to building up new leaders within the team. The “I am the leader” and “Only my way is correct” way of thinking will kill a teams cohesiveness and resilience. As a leader if you are not training others to take your place then you are doing it all wrong. No one is that important to think that they cannot be replaced.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
Oh to choose just one….there are so many. As I train an individual – during our dialog – past experiences both good and bad come to mind. It is usually the negative encounters that bring to light what should have been done and I am able to tell those stories to reiterate keys points within the training. People remember the bad more than the good because there is an opportunity for growth and learning because of it. “Fail everyday” was written on a whiteboard in my office before I retired and I preached that to anyone I could. Without failure there is no growth – you cannot be stretched or changed without being uncomfortable and failing some of the time.
In your time as an RBLP instructor, what is one of your best memories working with a client and why?
Most of my training with an organization other than RBLP was prior to me being an RBLP instructor. However, during my time as an instructor with RBLP I have enjoyed seeing people eager to learn and expand their leadership toolset. Many who go through this course already have a leadership foundation but through dialog together were able to glean new aspects of leadership from each other’s past experiences.
Pivoting a little bit from the program – tell us a little about yourself outside of work! What other activities or hobbies do you love?
Outside of work I love to travel, eat delicious food and spend time with my daughter and friends! I am a self-taught licensed home baker in the state of Arizona and spend my spare time creating baked goods for customers. I also enjoy camping, the beach, reading and weight lifting. I’m up for just about anything as long as I am in good company. Recently being retired I have found the joy of being able to nap again when I want! Ha! But in all seriousness having time for what is important to me, my daughter, retirement has never looked so sweet.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
I found a quote in a magazine back when I was in high school that I have kept with me all this time and is currently on my fridge. The quote is: “The best way to figure out who you are, is to get to the place where you don’t have to be anything else”. This speaks volumes to me in the fact that I am an individual, no one else is me, and to become content or acceptive of that I need to realize I don’t need to be anyone else. This applies to anyone – we are all imperfectly perfect and the goal should be to strive to be the best version of ourselves, not a replica of someone else.
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!