In Conversation: Former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly

Photo: Two Norwich cadets interview former NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly
Norwich University Office of Communications

November 27, 2017

Raymond Kelly led the New York City Police Department for 14 years under mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, becoming the city’s longest-serving police commissioner while capping a 47-year NYPD career. Between appointments, Kelly oversaw policing in Haiti for the United Nations, worked for Interpol in Europe, and led the U.S. Customs Bureau. At the NYPD, he implemented many innovations, including the push to recruit police officers who speak 106 languages to serve one of the most diverse cities in the world. The counter-terrorism bureau he established at the NYPD in 2002 was the first of its kind for a metropolitan police force.

The author of the 2015 book, Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, Kelly visited the Norwich campus earlier this month to present the Fall 2017 Todd Lecture. During his visit, the former Marine and Vietnam War veteran sat down to talk about his life and career with Jess R. Hindman ’19 and John L. Smith ’18. Hailing from Mansfield, Mass., and Houston, Tex., respectively, the two Norwich cadets and criminal justice majors kicked off the conversation.

We’d like to ask you primarily about leadership, because that’s why we’re in the Corps and why we chose Norwich. Throughout your career, what’s been consistent in your leadership and management style?

Kelly: It’s a good question. I had three older brothers in the Marine Corps. They used to bring home their “72” gear, or field equipment, including a guide book for Marines. I probably saw this when I was 13. It’s been around since 1910. But they keep issuing new editions of it. It talks about leadership traits. The general principle is, “Hey, if you act like a leader, if you sound like a leader, if you do the things that good leaders do, you’re a leader.” Leaders are made. They’re not born. I sort of took that to heart.

Photo: Portrait of Raymond KellyThere are 14 leadership principles in that book. I have a Franklin Planner that I use. In one of the dividers, I have these 14 leadership traits. Obviously, you could write paragraphs, books, about each one of those things. But some of them are justice and judgment. How do you treat people who are working for you? What you ultimately want is respect from the people you work with. How do you get that respect? One of the ways you get it is by using these traits. There’s dependability, obviously integrity, decisiveness. There’s tact. There’s initiative, enthusiasm, bearing, unselfishness, courage, job knowledge, loyalty, and endurance. Now, if you look at all of those, and you try and emulate them as best you can, people are going to see you as a leader. Someone who they respect. That’s what I try to do. There’s certainly lots of challenges, in life, challenges as a leader. But it’s sort of worked for me. I know there’s a lot of different definitions of leadership. But I wanted to keep it simple in my head.

That is a little bit of my leadership secret. Also, I’m a hands-on leader. I’m not a micro-manager. But I am hands on. I want to do things that enable me to see what personnel are doing, let them know that I appreciate what they do. Also, you never want to become one of the boys or girls. A lot of people don’t realize that. There’s a price to pay for leadership. The expression, “It’s lonely at the top.” Yeah. It is—at every level. Again, you want that respect. If you are just one of the crowd and become sort of one of your subordinates, they’re not going to respect you. These are some of the things that I think work for me.

Taking counter-terrorism work as an example, you were able to effect great amounts of change in the NYPD. What would you say has been your most effective method for enacting that change and getting people to do what you want?

Photo: Norwich cadets interview Raymond KellyWell, let’s face it: The position of authority gives you the ability to affect change. Now the question is, is it lasting? Will people resist it? Will it somehow be undermined? Just having a position of authority enables you to initiate things. I think the respect element I talked about is what enables it to sort of take hold. You know, “This person is leading this effort. Because it’s this person, I think it has merit. I am buying into it.”

What are some ways that you’ve changed your leadership style over the years?

I think leadership to a certain degree is situational. It depends on what the work force looks like and what the immediate situation is. I think you need to be flexible in terms of how you approach it. If I have to use one word as to how I lead, I would probably say “authoritative.” I have that model because in an organization like the police department, you’ve got people working 24 hours a day. The department needs the structure, the people need that structure. I think in many things you have to have that authoritative style. But then there’s the coach, and then there’s the element of counseling people. So, depending on the situation you’ve got to be able to adjust to what you believe is the right leadership style. In an emergency situation, you have to use the authority that you have. People expect that. People want somebody in charge. You have to take that position. But you don’t have to go around flexing that all the time.

How have you dealt with people that didn’t like you or the decisions you’ve made and been able to move on?

You do just that—move on. I would say this, I did learn a lesson. I made a decision, and quite frankly I don’t remember what it was, but it had to do with constituencies. You have to think about the [ones] you have when making a decision. I made this decision that did not incorporate the union or the union position. You work with the public, the media, elected officials, the boss, the mayor, that sort of thing. I just didn’t think about the union. It came back to cause a problem.

Photo: Raymond Kelly stands with two Norwich cadets, holding challenge coin giftSo, I actually drew a decision wheel, and I put all these constituencies in it. “Did I think of this? Did I think of that?” So, I learned a lesson. If you have the time to do that, you want to use the capacity that you have to check in with people and see what their thoughts are. Sometimes you have to force your hand. But if you have the time and the opportunity, you check with your constituents.

Interview condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Produced, edited and photographed by Sean Markey

Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley to Give Norwich Todd Lecture

Photo collage: Mark Milley and Todd Lecture Series event information
Norwich University Office of Communications

April 13, 2016

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University will host the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Mark A. Milley, Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in Kreitzberg Arena. Milley will present the Todd Lecture keynote address, “Leading Through Complexity,” for the ROTC Centennial Symposium.

This lecture is hosted by the College of National Services and includes a Q&A.

General Mark A. Milley assumed duty as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army August 14, 2015 after most recently serving as the 21st Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

A native of Winchester, Mass., Milley graduated and received his commission from Princeton University in 1980. He has had multiple command and staff positions in eight divisions and Special Forces throughout the last 35 years.

He has served in command and leadership positions from the platoon and operational detachment alpha level through Corps and Army Command including the 82nd Airborne Division and the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California; the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; the Joint Readiness Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and the 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, Iraq.

He commanded the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division; served as the Deputy Commanding General for the 101st Airborne (Air Assault); and served as the Commanding General for 10th Mountain Division. While serving as the Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, he deployed as the Commanding General, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. Additionally, he served on the operations staff of The Joint Staff as the J33/DDRO, and as a Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

His operational deployments include the Multi-National Force and Observers, or MFO, Sinai, Egypt; Operation JUST CAUSE, Panama; Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, Haiti; Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq; and three tours during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan. He also deployed to Somalia and Colombia.

General Milley’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Princeton University, Master’s Degrees from Columbia University (International Relations) and from the U.S. Naval War College (National Security and Strategic Studies). He is also a graduate of the MIT Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program.

General Milley and his wife have been married for more than 30 years and have two children.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Army Distinguished Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Defense Superior Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Bronze Star Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster; National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two bronze service stars; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars; Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Korea Defense Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 5; NATO Medal with bronze service star; and the Multi-national Force and Observers Medal. He is authorized to wear the Combat Infantryman Badge with star; Expert Infantryman Badge; Master Parachutist Badge; Scuba Diver Badge; Ranger Tab; Special Forces Tab; Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; and Meritorious Unit Commendation and the French Military Parachutist Badge.

Norwich University’s Todd Lecture Series is named in honor of retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Russell Todd and his late wife, Carol, in gratitude for their dedicated service to the university. General Todd, a 1950 graduate of the university, also serves as president emeritus. With this series, Norwich brings national thought leaders from business, politics, the arts, science, the military and other fields and endeavors to its Northfield campus. Lectures are streamed live from tls.norwich.edu.

For more information please visit the Todd Lecture Series website (tls.norwich.edu) or call (802) 485-2633.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.

Ideas @ Work: #22 Todd Lectures

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Since its founding in 2008 by Ellen and John Drew, the Todd Lecture Series has brought national leaders and provocative thinkers to campus for insightful talks on key topics. Past speakers represent a who’s who of military leaders, diplomats, astronauts, architects, engineers, scientists, and authors. Luminaries include General Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), genome pioneer Craig Venter, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, and former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright. Learn more at tls.norwich.edu.

More Ideas@Work:

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Ideas @ Work: #7 Climate Change and National Security

Photo: Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan speaks at Norwich Todd Lecture Series
33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Nearly a decade ago, the Military Advisory Board of the CNA Corporation, a government-funded nonprofit military research organization, identified climate change as a threat-multiplier in fragile areas of the globe. Two years ago, the panel of 16 retired American generals and admirals—NU’s own General Gordon R. Sullivan ’59 among them—issued a second report. In it, they concluded that the risks to national security from climate change were accelerating. Last year, General Sullivan gave a Todd Lecture on the topic. Citing the example of Syria, he noted how five years of drought in the country decimated farmers’ crops, forcing millions to migrate to urban areas. There, they quickly became disenfranchised by the government. “The result is civil war in Syria,” Sullivan said. The one-time U.S. Army Chief of Staff challenged Norwich students and faculty to lead the way in our nation’s response to the global challenge.

More Ideas@Work:

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Norwich University to Host Madeleine Albright for November Todd Lecture Series Event

Norwich University Office of Communications

September 2, 2015

Norwich University continues its Todd Lecture Series with “An Evening with Madeleine Albright,’’ a presentation by the former United States Secretary of State on Tuesday, November  3, 2015, at 7 p.m. in Plumley Armory.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Albright served as the 64th Secretary of State. President Bill Clinton named her to the post in 1997, making her at the time both the first female Secretary of State and the highest ranking woman ever to serve in U.S. government. As Secretary of State, Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights and promoted American trade and business, labor and environmental standards abroad.

From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of the President Clinton’s Cabinet.

Albright speaks with humor, insight and eloquence about her life and career as a young refugee who rose to become for a time the world’s most powerful woman. Albright sketches a vivid portrait of her years as Secretary of State and offers candid descriptions of the leaders she encountered in Washington and overseas. She also discusses America’s global role and the many challenges facing President Obama and other world leaders today. While in office, Albright was renowned for her courage in “telling it like it is.” Now, as a best-selling author and successful businessperson, she offers a unique and always lively account of service at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

In addition to the 7 p.m. public lecture, Albright will spend the afternoon on campus engaging with Norwich students in the classroom, offering her insight about her life and career.

Albright currently serves as chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.

She is also a professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Albright serves on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the secretary of defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute. In 2009, Albright was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to chair a group of experts focused on developing NATO’s New Strategic Concept.

On May 29, 2012 President Barack Obama awarded Albright the U.S. Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, citing the inspiration her life provides to all and the contribution of her scholarship and insight toward making the world a better, more peaceful place.

Albright is the author of five New York Times best-sellers: her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir, (2003); The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, (2006); Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership, (2008); Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box, (2009); and, her most recent book, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, (April, 2012). In it she recalls her own and her family’s experiences during and immediately after World War II, providing a fresh lens through which to view some of the modern era’s most tumultuous years.

Norwich University’s Todd Lecture Series is named in honor of retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Russell Todd and his wife, Carol, in gratitude for their dedicated service to the university. Todd ’50, serves as Norwich President Emeritus. With this series, Norwich brings the nation’s foremost thought leaders drawn from business, politics, the arts, science, the military and other arenas to its Northfield campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information please visit the Todd Lecture Series website or call (802) 485-2633.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

Media Contact:

Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

 

Norwich University presents chief information officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June Todd Lecture

Norwich University continues its 2015 Todd Lecture Series with “Leadership in the Digital Age” a presentation by Lieutenant General Mark S. Bowman, Director Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) / Cyber and the Chief Information Officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday June 18, 2015 at 10 a.m. in Plumley Armory.

At the Pentagon, Bowman develops C4 capabilities; conducts analysis and assessments; and evaluates C4 requirements, plans, programs and strategies.

Bowman photo
Lieutenant General Mark S. Bowman

Previously, he served as the Director of Architecture, Operations, Networks and Space, for the Office of the Army Chief Information Officer. Bowman played a central role in establishing strategy, policy, and guidance to integrate, build and facilitate the U.S. Army’s LandWarNet network.

Bowman was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on May 28, 1978. He has served in several joint and operational assignments and has commanded at every level from company to Signal Brigade. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Norwich University, Vt. and a master’s degree in public administration from Shippensburg University, Pa.

Bowman’s lecture serves as the keynote presentation for this year’s annual residency conference of nearly 600 students representing nine online graduate programs and two bachelor’s degree completion programs at Norwich’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Gathering from across the country and the globe under the theme of “Learning to Lead, Leading to Serve,” these Norwich students will gather for a week of capstone/culminating academic work and conferences

Norwich University’s Todd Lecture Series is named in honor of Army Maj. Gen. Russell Todd (USA Ret.) and his wife, Carol, in gratitude for their dedicated service to the university. Todd ’50, serves as Norwich President Emeritus. With this series, Norwich brings the nation’s foremost thought leaders drawn from business, politics, the arts, science, the military and other arenas to its Northfield campus. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information please check the Todd Lecture Series website or call (802) 485-2633.

Climate Change Increasing Security Threat, Former Army Chief Says

In a Todd Lecture Series speech at Norwich, GEN Gordon R. Sullivan said global warming is spurring a spate of growing risks to US interests
Office of Communications

February 6, 2015

Former US Army Chief of Staff Gordon R. Sullivan NU ’59 said climate change is spurring more instability around the world and that the security risks from global warming are advancing faster than expected.

“We are not prepared for the pace of climate change,” Sullivan said, noting that it will impact US military readiness and national power, particularly domestic infrastructure.

Already the US has been caught flat-footed by the speed of melting sea ice in the Arctic. Russia, Canada and Denmark are posturing for control of oil reserves beneath the North Pole. But the US lacks sufficient ice-hardened ships and communications and navigation gear to respond to crises there, Sullivan said.

Elsewhere, shifting weather patterns will stress the world’s ability to meet regional demand for food and fresh water, leading to further political unrest and potential mass transnational migrations. Sullivan said this is particularly true in Africa and Asia, where the human population is exploding.

Climate change will place more demand on the US military to respond to national and international crises, challenge readiness and send troops into harsher operating environments, Sullivan said.

The retired four-star general made the remarks yesterday during a speech focused on climate change and national security at his alma mater, kicking off the first Todd Lecture Series event of 2015.

Established in 2008, the free public lecture series aims to bring thought-provoking speakers to inform and inspire the Norwich campus and central Vermont communities.

Sullivan served as the 32nd Army Chief of Staff under Presidents Bush and Clinton, where he helped reengineer and downsize the US Army in the wake of the Cold War, leading it into the Information Age while facing a 40 percent budget cut.

Since 2006, Sullivan has served on the Military Advisory Board of the CNA Corp., a government-funded nonprofit military research organization.

In 2007, the panel of 16 retired generals and admirals identified climate change as a “threat multiplier,” particularly in fragile areas of the globe.

The board issued a second report last year, concluding that climate change poses an accelerating risk to national security.

For example, it linked the devastating drought of 2010 in the US, Russia and China to a steep decline in world wheat production that sparked a series of cascading effects. Bread prices spiked in Tunisia, Egypt and other wheat-importing countries in Northern Africa. The shortages and massive price increases led to food riots and unrest that precipitated the Arab Spring revolutions.

“While there were deep underlying causes for overthrow of several of the governments, the catalyst that set this off can be directly linked to weather and climate change,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s speech outlined the effects climate change is having on four major areas related to US national security: global instability, melting Arctic sea ice, US military readiness and US power.

Sullivan gave a synopsis of recent climate change trends and how they might destabilize regimes or regions in the future.

He noted that in January, both NASA and NOAA reported that 2014 was the warmest year on record since 1880, that the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, and that eight of the ten costliest US storms have occurred in the past decade.

“Globally, we have seen recent prolonged drought act as a factor driving both spikes in food prices and mass displacement of populations, each contributing to instability and eventual conflict,” he said.

“For example, five years of drought in Syria decimated farmers’ crops and forced millions to migrate to urban areas. These drought refugees found little in the way of jobs and were quickly disenfranchised with the government,” Sullivan said.

“The result is civil war in Syria.”

Sullivan said additional impacts can be seen in unprecedented wildfires and the effect of rising sea levels on low-lying island nations, some of which are planning whole-sale evacuation.

“Over the coming decades, I think those areas already stressed by water and food shortage and poor governance—these span the globe—will present the greatest near term threat for conflict,” he said.

“In the longer term, many of these areas will be threatened by rising sea level.”

Sullivan, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Norwich, closed his presentation by challenging Norwich students to lead the nation in tackling the complex problems associated with climate change.

NASA Astronaut to Speak During Norwich’s Spring Todd Lecture Series

Space Shuttle and International Space Station veteran Michael E. Fossum will speak about his 193 days in space and NASA research
January 27, 2014

 

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University continues its spring Todd Lecture Series with a lecture titled, “Report from the International Space Station,’’ a presentation by a decorated NASA Astronaut Michael E. Fossum on Thursday February 26, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Dole Auditorium, Webb Hall.

A veteran of three space flights, Fossum has logged seven space walks and over 193 days in space aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

Fossum will discuss his work aboard the orbiting national laboratory during his lecture, which is sponsored by Norwich University’s College of Science and Mathematics. A Q&A will follow the presentation.

Fossum received his commission in the U.S. Air Force at Texas A&M University in 1980. He completed graduate work at the Air Force Institute of Technology the following year before the Air Force assigned him to support NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In 1985, he graduated from test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and served as a Flight Test Engineer in the F-16 Test Squadron. Fossum resigned from active duty in 1992 to work for NASA and retired as a Colonel from the USAF Reserves in 2010. He has logged more than 1,800 hours in 35 different aircraft.

In 1993, he joined NASA as a systems engineer with primary responsibilities to evaluate the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for use as a space station emergency escape vehicle. Later in 1993, Fossum was selected to represent NASA’s Flight Crew Operations Directorate in an extensive redesign of the International Space Station (ISS).

He was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1998. After eight years of intensive training, he made his first space flight, traveling aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on a 13-day mission in July 2006 to supply the International Space Station. During that mission, Fossum made three space walks, called extravehicular activities (EVAs).

Fossum flew aboard Discovery again in 2008 with the STS-124 crew that delivered Japan’s Kibo lab module to the ISS. He returned to space in 2011 as part of Expedition 28 and served as commander of the ISS. His final EVA during this mission was the seventh in his career for a total of 48 hours, 32 minutes of EVA time, placing him seventh on the all-time list for cumulative EVA time.

Norwich University’s Todd Lecture Series is named in honor of Army Maj. Gen. Russell Todd (USA Ret.) and his wife, Carol, in gratitude for their dedicated service to the university. Todd ’50, serves as Norwich President Emeritus. With this series, Norwich brings the nation’s foremost thought leaders drawn from business, politics, the arts, science, the military and other arenas to its Northfield campus. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information please check the Todd Lecture Series website or call (802) 485-2633.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

A Lifetime of Mentoring From Colin Powel Comes Full Circle

School of Nursing Director Sharon Richie, PhD, describes her long-running professional relationship with retired four-star Army general Colin Powell
By Sharon Richie, PhD | School of Nursing Director
College of Professional Schools

December 18, 2014

I first met Gen. Colin Powell in1980 when he was a major general and I a newly minted Army Nurse Corps major. I was at my first “ROCKS” meeting in Washington, DC, a support organization for field grade officers “of color” that had about 200 male members. At the time, I was the third woman selected to the group. At a reception following the meeting, Gen. Powell introduced himself, saying that I now had 200 brothers to look after me during my career and to call upon him at any time. Later, at our monthly meetings, he always checked on how I was doing, asking “So what is your next step?”

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]The lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980.[/pullquote]

Over the years, Gen. Powell kept asking the same question and was thrilled when I decided to apply for the White House Fellows (WHF) program in1982. The non-partisan program is open to all, regardless of party affiliation. Gen. Powell had been a White House Fellow himself in1972 and valued his time and experience. Years after that assignment, Gen. Powell served as chief of staff for Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. When my WHF class visited that office, my “ROCKS” brother—Gen. Powell—gave me an encouraging wink, which spoke volumes: I was not alone. We also saw each other every year at the “ROCKS” scholarship ball at Andrews Air Force base. I still treasure the photo taken in1989 of him, myself and my former husband Paul Patrick Henri.

Leadership Lessons

In 2009 I was honored to be included in Charles Garcia’s book Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows (WHF). Garcia had interviewed over 220 WHF’s, and I was quoted along side Gen. Powell in Chapter 6, which was entitled, “Leaders have a Laser-Like Focus on their People”. Gen. Powell’s section included a story that exemplified “the sort of transformative impact that leadership can have.” My section gave examples of how I used those lessons as the chief nurse of various Army Medical Centers. The irony is that I learned my leadership lessons from my WHF mentor and from a general who kept up with a junior officer her entire career and beyond. I also was fortunate to be able to see Gen. Powell at the annual WHF seminars, which updated all WHF’s on the current administration’s work.

When selected for promotion to colonel, I asked then US Secretary of State Powell to do the honors. He said yes immediately but stipulated that the ceremony had to be held in Washington, given his schedule. I explained that I was funding all of my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins to attend the ceremony and that I could not afford to house them in DC. At the time, I was a student at the Army War College in Carlise Barracks, Penn., where I could afford to rent out a local motel for all my relatives. Given that this might be my last promotion, Secretary Powell suggested a mutual friend, a general officer who would thoughtfully review my entire career for my family at the ceremony. I thought, how sensitive of him to suggest this, and he was right. My family finally found out what I had been doing all of those years on active duty.

After 26 years of active duty, I served three years in the United Arab Emirates helping to upgrade their military healthcare system. Upon my return, I interviewed active duty Army nurses, who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those interviews later turned into a book entitled Angel Walk: Nurses at War in Iraq and Afghanistan. My dream was to have the book endorsed by Gen. Powell. Instead, he called me to say what a fine book it was, but he was prohibited from endorsing any books because of the avalanche of requests it generated in his office. I shared that his “stated” endorsement, written or not, meant the world to me. Still his question was the same, “What will you do next?” I answered that I did not know, but he would be the first to know it when it came to me.

Norwich Nursing

My unexpected invitation to apply for the position as the Director of the School of Nursing at Norwich University was a long-shot given the weather (I was in Florida at the time) and my prejudices about academia. However, once I visited the campus, met the students, faculty members and senior administrators, I fell in love. It was a dream job to be able to be with my soldiers and nurses again. I held my breath waiting for the decision, and once it came, my first action was to text my general. He answered immediately, congratulating me and saying that clearly I had one more assignment before I really retired. “I am so very proud of you,” he wrote.

The past one-and-a-half years has been a whirlwind of getting oriented to my new job and getting my arms around my students and faculty members. It has been pure joy. I continuously share with others Mark Nepo’s quote, “Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.” That quote sustains me now and led me to contact my general to ask him to share with our Norwich University community what service to others has meant to him as a leader. He did not disappoint.

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders.[/pullquote]

Amy Bidell is a senior nursing student here at Norwich and the president of the Student Nurses Association. A member of the Navy ROTC program, Amy was chosen to listen to two thought leaders, Gen. Sullivan and Gen. Powell, during the latter’s visit to campus in November 2014 in a private session with nine other cadets. Amy shared her thoughts with me about the session:

“General Powel and General Sullivan, both of whom sat at the table with us to speak, did not speak of current political or national security issues as I had imagined. Both gentlemen spoke primarily of family and the importance of having a solid support system at home throughout one’s career, whether it be a military career or not. General Powell told one story in particular in which he came home in his new uniform the day after receiving a new rank. The moment he proudly walked into the door with his new insignia, his daughter yelled to Mrs. Powell, “Mom, the GI Joe is home!”

“From both General Powell and General Sullivan I realized the importance of still having a ‘human’ element to one’s life, even if only behind closed doors. General Powell and General Sullivan are obviously both high-ranking prestigious military leaders. Yet based on their stories, it was apparent they both have an aspect of their lives that can be found in many American homes of any social class: a loving family with whom they have fun. This aspect of their life, while maybe small in comparison with the time-consuming nature of their careers, seemed to be the glue that held all other aspects of their life together and gave it meaning.”

These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980. He is the epitome of leadership, service to country and balance with a strong family life.

Editor’s note: Visit the Todd Lecture Series website to watch Gen. Powell’s 2014 Veterans Day talk at Norwich University.