By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)June 25, 2018
Although it is June, this edition of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Surface Warrior Spotlight shines brightly on January -- Karen January, a traffic management specialist with the G33I Operations Directorate.
Arriving at SDDC in July 2016 through the Civilian Logistics Career Management Office Intern Program (CLCMO), January graduated from Hampton University in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Systems Organization and Management.
"I owe my current career to being a part of the Civilian Logistics Career Management Office Intern Program. It was a life changer," she said.
"Also, I wanted to show myself and my parents that it is never too late to go back to school and to see where your life can take you," she added.
Working as part of the U.S. Central Command Mission Integration team, January was nominated by Navy Cmdr. Patrick Brown, the former chief of International Movement Operations, for her "exceptional work in SDDC's mission around the globe."
Her coworkers describe her as "motivating," "hard working" and "very friendly." Without fail, when you call her she always answers with a "Good morning (or good afternoon) thank you for calling SDDC, this is Karen January, how can I help you?" with an uplifting tone.
She says it's all about the customer and being there for them when they need you -- "and to do it with a smile on your face."
Now it's time to bring Karen into the Spotlight.
Q: Before working at SDDC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
A: I was a Lab Manager at the Hampton University School of Pharmacy. I spent 15 years at Hampton and while I was there I decided to go back to school and finish my degree. That was one of my life's greatest challenges. To go out and start a new career through the CLCMO was a risk, but I am happy with where it has taken me.
Q: What aspect of your role at SDDC do you enjoy the most?
A: Dealing with the customers. I really enjoy giving good customer service.
Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: I really wanted to be a surgeon. The human body has always fascinated me.
Q: What have you always wanted to try but never did?
A: Bungee jumping. I've just never done it because I am afraid of heights.
Q: If you could switch your job with anyone else within SDDC, whose job would you want?
A: It would have to be the commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen. I think it would be fun to be in charge, and I think I could do a pretty good job at it.
Q: If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be?
A: Former President Barack Obama. As an African-American woman, it was inspirational to me to be able to live during the time of our first African-American president.
Q: What is one thing about yourself that would surprise people if they knew about it?
A: I played the violin for seven years and I also love acting.
Q: What are two of your life's highlights so far?
A: Becoming a homeowner and being accepted into the CLCMO Intern Program.
Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
A: I would like to be a Public Affairs Specialist. They get to meet lots of interesting people in their job and I think that would be fun. (Editor's note: That's true… we get to meet people like Karen!)
Q: What is your favorite travel spot?
A: I really love going home to visit friends and family back in Virginia.
Q: How would you describe your personality?
A: Fun, loving and caring. I try to be that way every day.
Q: If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you bring, and why would you bring them with you?
A: It would be my bible to read, a sleeping bag for comfort, and plenty of drinking water.
Q: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
A: I would love to go back to the time when Jesus was here on Earth. He is the salvation and the one thing I can't live without. He means so much to me, so I would love to see him and his miracles in person.
Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
A: It is all about knowing when to lead, but also knowing when to follow.
Q: What life lesson would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
A: Keep your circle small.
Q: What would you do (for a career) if you weren't doing this, and why would you want to do it?
A: Even though I am happily single and have my beautiful Malteepoo, Lailah, I would love to be a housewife and mother. Having unconditional love from your children is priceless.
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory, and why is it your favorite?
A: Going on summer vacations with my family.
Q: What are a couple of things on your bucket list?
A: I would love to travel to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage and to travel all around the U.S.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I really enjoy reading, shopping and visiting family and friends.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Condoleezza Rice's book.
Q: Throughout your life, where have you lived?
A: While I have moved away from my home once -- which was a big deal for me - I have only lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia and Belleville, Illinois.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: I fear the unknown.
Q: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Pizza…because you can keep changing the toppings.
Q: What is your proudest moment at SDDC?
A: To be chosen for the Surface Warrior Spotlight.
Q: Finish this sentence; I am happiest when…?
A: I am sharing time with my family and friends. They mean the world to me and I wouldn't be who I am today without them in my life.
SDDC's "Surface Warrior Spotlight" program highlights different members of the SDDC workforce every few weeks through a series of interview-style questions that focus on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Take a look at January's Surface Warrior Spotlight video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/5Z4_EQ_lPF4