After completing a year of a physically and mentally demanding Department of Defense leadership program, Jessica Brockmeyer, executive officer for the U.S. Army Public Health Command's Laboratory Sciences Portfolio, has emerged as a stronger leader.
Brockmeyer is one of only 63 civilians from across the Department of Defense to complete the prestigious Executive Leadership Development Program, or ELDP, this year. The program provides participants with a joint and interagency training and leader development experience.
The 10-month program was filled with activity. Participants spent 7-12 days a month training with various governmental agencies, testing their mettle by firing weapons, jumping from towers, and completing obstacle courses with U.S. military personnel. They travelled to various bases, some overseas. They also wrote papers, participated in many group collaboration projects and read several books.
"One of the hardest parts of the program was juggling your regular job with the deployments," said Brockmeyer. "We all have responsibilities at our home stations, so to be successful, we quickly learned to find a balance between the program requirements and our daily duties."
In addition to the academic requirements, ELDP participants met stringent physical requirements.
Despite the long days and strenuous activity, Brockmeyer said she is indeed grateful to be part of this year's graduating class. She values her time spent in the field training with many DOD military units.
"This training was compelling because it caused you to think about why you are serving," said Brockmeyer. "Doing some of the same things that the troops do was an eye-opening experience for me, and served as a reminder that we DOD professionals are here to support our troops."
To further mark her achievement, Brockmeyer was also selected to serve as a commencement speaker during the ELDP graduation June 11. Although Brockmeyer was thrilled to represent the USAPHC during the commencement program, she wanted to be sure that she did a good job.
"Being selected as a commencement speaker was an honor and privilege, but also a little intimidating" said Brockmeyer. "I wanted to be sure that I not only represented the Public Health Command well, but that I also represented my fellow classmates well by successfully communicating what we learned."
Employees at the USAPHC expressed no surprise that Brockmeyer performed so well in the program. They said she demonstrates great dedication and commitment.
"I've been fortunate to work with Jessie now for many years, and she has always demonstrated an eagerness to learn and a willingness to take on new, challenging assignments," said Gerri Miles, chief of the Laboratory Operations Division in the Laboratory Sciences Portfolio at the USAPHC. "Jess is passionate and an optimist about the future. I see Jessie as courageous and inspiring; she is willing to do what has not been done."
Many people across the USAPHC say that encouraging employees to grow themselves professionally is a key objective in shaping the USAPHC workforce.
"The Public Health Command places great emphasis on education, training and development of employees," said Karen Lunas, USAPHC training officer.
Although ELDP may not be for everyone, she hopes more USAPHC personnel will apply to the ELDP, and be accepted into the prestigious program.
"Civilian leadership development and career planning is the process of systematically matching an individual's aspirations with opportunities for achieving them," said Lunas. "The ELDP is just one of the many avenues available to achieve this goal."
The ELDP is open to full-time Army civilians in the GS-12 through GS-14 or equivalent pay grades, with a minimum of three years of service as a permanent Army civilian. Participants must also possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college of university, pass a physical exam and meet certain security requirements.