October 2022 - Meet SSgt Jodi Merritt
Unit: Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/Cyber Warfare Mission Systems Branch.
SSgt Merritt provides administrative support to all military, civilians and contractors working at AFLCMC/HNCO. In addition, she coordinates and manages a variety of tasks in direct support of the commander, directors and senior leaders.
What is something your proud of within your AF career?
Thus far, my proudest moment in the AF is making E-5 on my first try. When I was an E-1, my BIGGEST goal was to make SrA BTZ. I worked my butt-off to put up a good fight. I had over 300 volunteer hours, I was in a position meant for a higher rank, and I was CLEPing classes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. I took it really hard. I felt like I was working super hard and it wasn’t appreciated. After I found out I didn’t make it, I lost my motivation. I quit working so hard and I treated my job like a typical 9-5. My leadership noticed that I wasn’t performing as well as I used to and instead of encouraging me to do better, they told me that it was a good thing I didn’t make SrA, because I didn’t deserve it. Not only am I proud of getting my motivation back, I am proud of my resiliency and strive to do better...even if I was the only one who noticed. Fast forward to Lackland, I came with a better mindset and studied my butt off for E-5. I told myself that I needed to make it so that I can be a better supervisor than what I had…and I did it!
Why did you join the military?
When I was a freshman in high school my cousin joined the Army and it inspired me. I was constantly going to recruiters from different branches trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I graduated. When I sat down with the Air Force recruiter, he was super helpful and explained the opportunities, benefits, and even some of the negative experiences he had. He was definitely not a stereotypical recruiter. He was the only recruiter that didn’t make everything sound like rainbows and butterflies. I took his honesty to heart, and knowing that I wanted to travel and get my degree, I went with the Air Force.
What attributes do you like to see in a leader?
Some attributes that I like to see in a leader is empathy, advocating for their airmen, honesty, supporting, and motivating.
What is the most difficult part of being a leader?
To me, the hardest part of being a leader is seeing the potential in someone, but not knowing how to get them to where they could be. Everyone learns differently and gets motivated by different things, so it is a lot of trial and error.
What is a leaders best asset?
A leader’s best asset is trust and honesty.
What motivates you? How do you motivate a team?
I am a goal setter. Having goals and creating a roadmap on how to achieve those goals is what motivates me. I plan on motivating a team by providing an environment that is enjoyable, offering opportunities for them to do professional/personal development (such as college classes or attending professional enhancement seminars), not micromanaging and allowing room for failure.