Dr. Wesley Long,
I am very please to respond to your letter regarding my successes and experiences as a recipient of of a Masters in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma in 1977.
I enrolled in the program while a Leadership and Management Instructor at the US Army Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, VA. At the time, I was a major, a person of color, and was responsible for team teaching (Huntley/Brinkley format) The Leadership Aspects of Relations in conjunction with other leadership subjects for 3 1/2 years. Concurrent with this assignment from 1973 to 1975, I was enrolled in classes through the off campus OU program. I am compel to recognize my undergraduate college classmate, COL Wilbert Bryant, USA, Ret, for prompting me to enroll in graduate school.
I grew up in the Segregated South and the HR program definitely widened my knowledge and understanding of other people. I vividly remember the extensive discussion of Cesar Chavez and his unyielding support for the United Farm Workers. The attitude at that time encouraged the workers presence in the US and now we want to kick them out. It remains a constant in my mind til this very day how we can be so mean spirited towards a group of people who have been a great asset to our country.
Throughout my military and civilian careers, I have been able to apply my HR skills. One skill in particular is that of listening "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" from Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
During my 30 year military career while serving in 3 key command positions, Chief of Staff of a 5000 member organization and key high level staff positions including 3 1/2 years years in the Pentagon, I have actively applied my HR skills. I am confident that my HR background contributed to my outstanding performance evaluations and ultimately to being promoted to colonel. My travels have taken me to over 25 countries with assignments in Germany, Okinawa, Korea, Hawaii, and two tours in Vietnam. I have been awarded 3 Legion of Merits, a very high peacetime military recognition. And on June 10, 2016, at Fort Lee, Virginia, I was inducted into the US Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame.
After military retirement, I worked for the county, and state governments and a private computer company for 6 1/2 years. Since 1984, as a professional volunteer, I have worked in a myriad of activities including the Presbyterian church at the local, district and national level. I've also participated in other social and civic organizations. I am currently a Georgia registered mediator.
This gives you a flavor of my journey. Thank you for the opportunity to participate.
LaVert W. Jones
Posted on Mon, September 19, 2016
by Stacy Smith