Opposite Ends: enlisted and officer Soldiers attend board
Spc. Mackenzie Maynard, a Practical Nursing Specialist assigned to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, sits at an oral board as part of the Regional Health Command-Central Best Leader Competition. The competition promotes esprit de corps throughout the Army while recognizing Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers that demonstrate commitment to the Army values and embody the warrior ethos. The competition challenges the Army’s best leaders in a demanding, continuous, and realistic simulated operational environment. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Jacob Lang) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BLISS, Texas - Spc. Mackenzie Maynard, assigned to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, walked out of the final event, the oral board, with a grin as she completed the week long Regional Health Command-Central Best Leader Competition (RHC-C BLC) on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

Maynard smiled as she recalled walking out of the board room.

“I’m glad I got to compete. I gained a new confidence in myself.”

An oral board is a series of questions asked by board members to test a candidate’s knowledge and potential as a leader.

Maynard, who works at William Beaumont Army Medical Center as a Practical Nursing Specialist, had prior experience after competing at the Soldier of the Month Board, Soldier of the Quarter Board and Soldier of the Year Board. Maynard’s Battalion Command Sergeant Major recognized her potential and recommended her to attend the Regional Health Command-Central Best Leader Competition.

“I was excited and nervous at the same time.” explained Maynard. “I’ve never done anything like the Best Leader Competition. The closest thing I’ve ever done was the Soldier of the Year board.”

The competition pushed her physically throughout the course of the week, and the board tested her mental agility as well.

Maynard said “It was definitely challenging. I was mentally tired.”

However, prior experience attending the Soldier of the Year board and preparation beforehand helped her.

“My teammates and I went outside to study questions and practice conducting ourselves properly for the board.” explained Maynard.

For Maynard, going to a board was nothing new for her as an enlisted service member.

However, boards are not a requirement for all service members. For Cpt. Sara Shadic, currently stationed at Munson Army Health Center in Fort Leavenworth, Missouri, it was her first time attending one.

“This is the first board I’ve been to” said Shadic. “Officers don’t normally attend them.”

Inexperience with the process of attending a board along with the week worth of events prior finally caught up to her.

“I was exhausted even going up the stairs.” Shadic laughed. “I had to take a minute to collect myself physically and mentally when I got up to the board room.”

Despite her inexperience and exhaustion, she was happy for the opportunity to attend.

“I was relieved when I finished,” said Shadic. “I think I did okay. I definitely could have done better, but I’m excited to learn from my NCO’s about that.”

The board varies between each service member that participates, but for Spc. Maynard and Cpt. Shadic, the leadership attributes they gained pushed them to become better leaders.

“I was asked a lot of situational questions. “The board helped me realize what kind ofleader I want to be,” Maynard stated.