Our 2021 roster of insightful faculty Q&A’s continues in our #MeetTheTeam series; today we’re speaking with Robin Fortner, RBLP-T!
Hi Robin! Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
Absolutely, thank you very much for the opportunity. My name is Robin Fortner. I was born and raised in New York City. I joined the Marine Corps in 1990 and recently retired after 30 years. I have two beautiful and intelligent daughters who have been my “why” throughout my career.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
After high school, I attended a State University in New York for a year before shipping to Recruit Training. I always told myself that I would finish my bachelors degree, although often times my plan was put on pause while I struggled to find the balance between being Mom and Marine. After balancing my work career and life, I finally graduated with an undergraduate degree in Intelligence Studies. Shortly afterward, I enrolled in a dual masters degree program with Webster University, graduating with honors in Leadership and Management and Human Resource Management.
I consider myself a lifelong learner, I continue to find every opportunity towards continuous learning. My next venture is to finish my Program Management Certification and enroll in a doctoral program.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
My first role model will always be my mother, who instilled in me early on the power to achieve in spite of any circumstance. Throughout my career I have been privileged to work with many leaders who have also set the right example. I have strived to emulate those qualities of authentic leadership, which continues to propel me on my trajectory.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
Having had to rely on my own resiliency, the concept of building resiliency from a leadership perspective has always been at the forefront of my daily walk and message. My desire to instruct with RBLP comes from the teams that I worked with at my last unit. Participating in team building sessions across the command and watching their drive and commitment has fueled my passion. I truly believe that the investment leaders make into the development of their workforce will only yield positive results. I knew that achieving the RBLP Certification, coupled with my experience, I would be able to continue to teach and influence leaders at all levels.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
It is inevitable that at some point you will trip or fall down. The key is to get back up, and resiliency is “how” you get back up. Building this conceptual fighting spirit into organizations is the essence of RBLP. Starting at the team level, the program is designed to ensure members possess specific characteristics and practices needed to persevere through challenges and adversity in which organizations will face.
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?
There are many important components but if I have to choose three, it would be:
(1) Creating a Positive Climate. It’s important to establish a firm foundation in which to build from.
(2) Encourage Constructive Dialogue. Effective communication is an absolute must in any forum. This is one area that even the best leaders must continue to improve.
(3) Knowledge diffusion. There are many benefits to sharing knowledge across the organization, asking “what do you know and who needs to know it” is essential to the success of an organization.
Overall I try to convey that every component starts and ends with the people.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
During my certification training, I was mostly inspired by a previous unit who had recently undergone a major structural change. Often times, organizations are met with resistance to change and this disruption to the perceived “norm” can cause a drop in morale, trigger anxiety, and decrease performance among other reactions. I utilized this experience to truly illustrate and implement each RBLP concept. It was absolutely apparent how building resiliency within that organization at every level was key to overall success.
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?
The conversations – it’s rewarding when you can go through a session and you can see the client recognizing RBLP concepts in their own leadership experiences. Their passion begins to take over during the discussion with every response. I can recall just sitting back with a head nod and a smile knowing that they get it.
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 traveling and visiting historical sites. Right now, I love spending time with family; if there is one thing the pandemic has created, is more time spent at home. Given my long military career, I thoroughly embrace this quality time.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
One of my favorite poets is Maya Angelou. I am inspired by her words and they resonate through my leadership style. One quote that inspires me to inspire other is: “…People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!