Mrs. Limo was selected for the Meritorious Essay Award.
Mrs. Carrie Limo is a Logistics Management Specialist for the Logistics Panel, Directorate of Resource Integration, DCS/Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection (HQ USAF/A4). She has worked for DoD for the last 16 years and currently serves as the Lead Logistics Analyst for Air Force planning and programming in support of the $23B logistics portfolio. Mrs. Limo is responsible for the advocacy of logistics resource requirements through the Air Force’s Corporate Structure. Most importantly, Mrs. Limo is a wife and mom to three beautiful girls.
The meritorious essay is published here:
In the Fall 2001, it was my senior year and I went to a job fair hosted by my university. There, I was recruited for what was then known as the Department of Army’s Transportation Career Intern Program. The recruiter told me that this program was a Federal Intern Program, which would make me a Federal employee. The recruiter also explained that interns in this program were brought in as GS-07s, and that by the end of the program were promoted to GS-11. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t know anything about transportation, logistics, the GS pay scale, or how federal internships differed from any other intern program. I knew I needed a job after graduation, and I gave the recruiter my resume.
During the interview process, I learned that federal intern programs were highly competitive programs typically for recent college graduates. These programs were designed to train, develop and grow the best and the brightest for careers in federal service. Federal intern programs were typically two years of intense and focused training in a specific career fields. This training was a combination of functional and leadership courses.
I got the job as an Army intern. Within my first month on the job, I learned about the Army’s Logistics Career Pyramid. At the base of this pyramid were Wage Grade employees, along with GS-01s through GS-05s. In the middle were the GS-07s to GS-13s. At the top of the pyramid sat GS-14s through the Senior Executive Service. I knew immediately that I wanted to see the very top of that pyramid, and later learned that my intern program was the first step in my professional development.
The Army spent about 2 years and approximately $250K to train, develop, and grow me and 20 other interns. They sent me to military training courses, transportation courses, leadership courses, and then to transportation offices and operations to apply what I’d learned. When I completed the intern program, their interest in my professional development didn’t end. I was then part of a career field that sent out a variety of course offerings to further my growth as a logistician and leader. The career field also funded advanced degrees and rotations at temporary long-term training assignments. Most importantly, the career field could connect you with mentors; those that could help you navigate your career path because they had walked it before you.
As I advanced in my career, I crossed paths with fellow logisticians that had never heard of a federal intern program. Some of these logisticians had spent a decade or more in logistics and had no idea who their career field manager was or what professional development opportunities were available to them. These fellow logisticians had tremendous potential and a proven track record of success; however, they were stagnant in their jobs. The only difference between us was the way we entered Federal Service. It was at this critical point in my career that I finally understood the importance of professional development, and the importance of inspiring others to pursue continual professional development.
Through it all, I’ve learned that professional development is the difference between a career and a job. For this reason, it is so very important take advantage of professional development opportunities and to inspire others to do the same. To do this effectively, I’ve found that a more informal approach works best. It only takes a few seconds to forward an article, an announcement for tuition assistance, an announcement for a course offering, or even a membership opportunity for a professional organization. A 10-minute coffee run or a 5-minute phone call can be a mentoring session. Inviting a colleague to a professional organization’s sponsored event or out to lunch can build lasting relationships and create networks. Through these efforts, I’ve been fortunate enough to see people obtain advanced degrees that were thought to be out of reach. I’ve been able to connect people to opportunities that would broaden their skills and expertise. However, the most rewarding experience is seeing someone get a well-deserved promotion after taking deliberate steps towards their professional development.
Because of the career path I was fortunate enough to stumble on, I was groomed to seek out professional development opportunities and pursue them. Subsequently, I was able to build a resume that enabled me to successfully compete for bigger and better opportunities. These opportunities and my experiences taught me the importance professional development. I also learned the importance of sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for others to learn, grow, and develop. For those of us fortunate to have come into Federal Service on a well-defined career path, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to invest in our professional development and to inspire those around us to pursue their own professional development.