Photos, story by Sgt. Melissa Lessard, III Corps Public Affairs
(FORT HOOD, Texas, Oct 4, 2021)--Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Hoover, the People First Centers deputy commandant, started hearing the murmurs of a people first initiative when she first came to Fort Hood a year and a half ago. She wants Soldiers to never stop changing, to be innovative and to never stifle progress with the attitude of “this is how we’ve done things.” She discusses how the III Corps and Fort Hood People First Center can change the future.
Why did Fort Hood or the Army decide to establish the People First Center?
I think the Army as a whole lost its sight of the basics. We always say “take it back to the basics” as a leader. We were so well developed in war time that we actually lost our garrison sights. So the center was developed to bring leaders back to their basics and give them the tools they need to train their Soldiers and themselves.
What would you like to tell Soldiers or leaders about the center?
To be open minded. To be flexible. To utilize their ability. The People First Center is not necessarily what they think it is right now. When people think of people first they think of foundational day. That is not what the center 100% is geared towards. Just come into it with an open mind and to be supportive and to help spread the word.
What would you say to someone who has a bias walking through the door?
I think at first there is going to be a lot of bias. I think at first it is going to be very challenging for seasoned leadership to step back and to be completely open minded about what it is. So when they walk in you have to focus on the fact of opening up to a learning environment. And that’s learning no matter what your rank is or what level you are. That’s what I would ask them, take off your rank, take off your assumptions of what you think that the people first center is and let us give you the experience. Once that’s done I think they will see that it is a great tool to utilize.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the People First Center?
Oh it’s amazing. So when I first got to Fort Hood I started hearing about People First Center or People First Initiative should say. I was over at 11th Signal Brigade then I got moved to III Corps. When I was in HHBN I started hearing about the rumblings of the people first center and seeing what the people first initiative was actually doing. It was changing, it was doing a lot of different things that we don’t have time as leaders. We are so busy, we are so fast pace and it started to take us back to that foundation. When you start to listen to what people first really is and what the initiative is trying to get at it’s so important because it’s the things we forget. We have our ACFT up, we have the range, we have rotations, we go overseas, and the people first center is that opportunity for us to become grounded again.
What is your legacy?
What I want them to take away is to never stop changing. To always be innovative. And never look at ‘this is how we’ve done things.’ To look at the center as ‘this is how we can change the future.’
The People First Center is still currently in development with a pilot class scheduled for Oct. 4-6. Hoover believes that the People First Center is the way that the Army will get away from “this is how we’ve always done it” type mentality and assist with grounding Soldiers and returning to the pre-war or garrison state of mind.
For more information on the center please see https://www.army.mil/article/250634 and https://www.army.mil/article-amp/250764/iii_armored_corps_people_first_center_a_groundbreaking_initiative . For more information about the People First initiative please visit https://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2021/03/26/ .