This Friday, May 10th marks Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and I'm honored to be featuring such an incredible woman who knows exactly what that type of sacrifice requires. Meet the amazing Kathleen!
A special message to our Military Spouses
I was a military spouse; my husband was a Colonel for 30 years in the United States Marine Corps. Spouses are the fabric of the community and your resiliency is impressive. You are amazing, just do it people. The beauty of being a spouse is that you are never alone. You are the support network that you give to each other and that you make throughout your community. Thank you for what you do. On May 10th I want to recognize all military spouses across our nation. They are to be honored for their selfless sacrifice.
We Thank You!
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
I am the General Manager for Navy and Army East programs overseeing a military housing portfolio that includes more than 25,600 homes across military bases in New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina. My responsibilities are to lead all project operations and development ensuring financial viability of this region.
Prior to joining Lendlease, I served 21 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. My service was in a variety of positions and units throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the United States. I also served as a Battalion Commander and deployed my unit to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 03.
Expectations to succeed were instilled in me from a young age. My father always emphasized that I would go to college and I would make my own way. Because we did not have much money growing up, he told me to figure out how to pay for school by checking out the local ROTC office and maybe they could give me a scholarship. Well it was a good suggestion and I did receive a scholarship and my undergraduate BA from The Ohio State University -“Go Buckeyes”. I also was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and while in various assignments I was able to complete a Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Management from Webster University. I have been lucky in my careers and life. I have been honored to receive various recognitions for excellence from PHMA, Navy League, The Women’s Marine Association and Lendlease Employee Excellence Award.
My mission early on was to take care of Marines. In my 14 years with Lendlease it has been to expand on that and take care of service members’ families and their homes. This is what matters. Their contribution to our country is to provide safety and security for our country while my teams are responsible to ensure their families are safe on the home front.
I have been lucky to be a part of a team that has the tremendous responsibility to take care of our service members and their families for their housing needs. It’s a team commitment that AMCC has managed from Hurricane readiness to tornado preparation to day to day management of our communities. We are part of the community and we are dedicated to our mission.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is to be respected and taken seriously no matter what I do. I want to ensure I am honest and sincere in my work. I would advise women in my profession that no matter what you do, you must be strong and do what is right.
What leadership lessons have you learned in the military that you want to share with other women?
To young women: never have any regrets. Never stop pushing. Don’t be afraid to fail. What I told my young female Marines – being different is okay, because cream rises to the top. Don’t try to fit in. Try to Stand Out – Be Better, Be Stronger, Be Faster. You will succeed. And if given any opportunity, take it and do it well. No matter what the task.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I look around this amazing community, the Atlantic Marine Corps Community on Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station and Cherry Point Air Station and I think about all of the Marines I led onto foreign soil. I think about the families impacted as they said good bye to their spouse for six to eight months deployments, if not, longer. I think back to the day my father said to me, you will be getting an education, but you need to go to the local town ROTC office because that was my only option. From that point in my life to this current role, I would tell my younger self to take the opportunity given to you and honor your family and yourself by giving back.
Giving back can be serving our nation in the Armed Services, but it can also be serving our nation by providing employment opportunities to our spouses who have limited jobs given to them because of the military lifestyle.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
The community of women that I have been honored to be surrounded by are the many women I served alongside on the battlefield. I also look at the leadership of women surrounding me when I walk through my office doors every morning. We are providing a service for our nation’s families as we interface with our families. I love the powerful leadership of women who lead in the trenches and bring a strong foundation and renewal for our many families who were victims of Hurricane Florence.
What is your career-related mantra?
Whether it is leading Marines, or it is working in my current role as part of a large global construction and development business, integrity is what matters the most - be true to yourself. That has been my goalpost my entire life. My father always said never give up.