After serving 24 years of federal service, Sherri Langston, a program manager in the Army Public Health Center's Health Risk Management Portfolio, has had quite a rewarding career. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, she served three years as an officer in the active-duty Army, to include service in the first Gulf War. She has traveled extensively--working as an Army civilian in various places including Baumholder, Germany; Fort Lewis, Washington and her current location at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
But if you ask Langston if she could change one thing about her Army career, she has a quick response.
"I wish I had a mentor," she said.
One of Langston's personal philosophies is to not mention a problem without offering a solution. So when applications were solicited for the Army Medical Department's Civilian Corps Mentorship Program, Langston eagerly applied.
"I wanted the opportunity to help guide someone who could benefit from my experience as an Army employee," said Langston.
More than 130 applications were received, and Langston was one of only 35 employees selected to participate in the AMEDD Civilian Corps Mentorship Program.
After learning she was accepted, Langston was excited about the future.
"I saw it as an opportunity to mentor others and to simultaneously share what I learn with other personnel who work with me here at the APHC," said Langston.
Langston attended initial training in January 2016 at the Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. . During the three-day training, personnel were provided mentorship and leadership training together and were able to meet their assigned mentor/mentee, sign a mentoring agreement and begin establishing goals. . The pilot program is scheduled to be conducted for a year and will be evaluated quarterly with standard reporting requirements. .
One of the highlights of the training was meeting her mentee, Katrise Newman at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Newman said she looks forward to learning from Langston.
"I applied to the mentorship program because I wanted to excel in my career field and I needed guidance from someone that could help me on the path to become a supervisor first," said Newman. "My impressions of Ms. Langston have been very positive. She is as eager as I am to help me progress. She stays in contact with me to ensure we are on one accord. I believe that she is a great match for me!"
Gregg Stevens, Deputy to the Commanding General at the AMEDD Center and School, has been working to develop a mentorship program for the AMEDD Civilian Corps for many years, and is excited to see it come into fruition. . The program will initially be focused on mentorship for 15 Corps members in grades GS 1-10 or equivalent, with the mentors being Corps members in grades GS 10-15 or equivalent, and will expand to senior grades as the program develops.
He said a goal of the program is to become a robust mentorship program for more civilians to participate.
"The MEDCOM Civilian Mentorship program is a great opportunity to develop both junior and senior members of our team," said Stevens. "Mentees get guidance, assistance and encouragement in planning and developing their future. Mentors get to lead and learn as they provide their guidance since no one learns things better than those who teach them. The best part is both mentees and mentors add to their capability and capacity to make contributions to the Army Medicine mission."
Although Langston never had a mentor, she is thrilled to be paving the way for those who follow her.
"Working for the Army can lead to wonderful opportunities for employees who are self-motivated," said Langston. "I've had quite a fulfilling career, and I want to shape the next generation of leaders by serving as a mentor to others in my field."