Maryland Airman selected for intense civilian leadership program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sarah M. McClanahan
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs

Wearing two different hats can be quite challenging when balancing multiple jobs. For one Maryland Air National Guard member, the number of hats he wears far exceeds just two. In addition to serving part-time as the unit training manager for the 175th Force Support Squadron, Master Sgt. Robert Perry also serves as a planning commissioner for the Occoquan Magisterial District in Prince William County, and works full-time as a portfolio manager for the Transportation Security Administration Headquarters. The skills and experience required for the many roles Perry rotates through are among the numerous reasons he has been selected for Leadership Prince William’s Signature Program.

Leadership Prince William is a private, non-profit organization working with adult and youth leaders who aspire to effect change in and around their county. Through collaborative leadership programs and classes, this non-profit aims to improve their local communities and enable participants to refine their leadership skills.

“Enrolling in this program will arm me with the tools needed to broaden my leadership skills,” explains Perry. “While I have a depth of experiences leading in a military environment, I hope to expand my breadth of leadership experiences at the community level to ensure our community continues to prosper in the 21st century.”

Perry’s selection for the 10-month program was based on his accomplishments and experiences accumulated over the past four years including areas of mentorship, financial literacy, military experience, community and economic development. Additionally, he was endorsed by the elected Supervisor of the Occoquan Magisterial District.

Not only did Perry’s extensive experiences contribute to his selection for this program, but his diverse skill sets will continue to improve his home unit.

“One of the great benefits that our members bring to our capabilities is the diversity of experience and thought,” said Lt. Col. Joe Winter, commander of 175th FSS. “The non-military leadership experience that Master Sgt. Perry brings to our squadron only makes us better.”

After an initial multi-day class, participants will continue to meet once a month to observe the communities of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park with the lessons learned in mind. Participants will have learned about topics including history, government, health, and human services to enable them to look at their communities through a new lens.

With his refined and newly developed leadership skills, Perry plans to empower other Airmen through the promotion of emotional intelligence, professional development and education, and other skills. He intends to help Airmen develop short and long-term goals so they can better focus their efforts on activities that will progress their careers.

Perry’s mentorship will aid in the process of fostering new relationships and future leaders within his community and organization.

“I believe leaders are made, not born,” says Perry. “Leadership is a skill that is learned and developed over time. Building a new cadre of leaders is necessary for the sustainment of our community.”