Imagine being married at age 14, giving birth to 17 children, and widowed at 48, with five teenage children still at home to raise. If that is not enough, you are now given sole responsibility for four of your little grandchildren – all under the age of six. That is the story of the paternal grandmother of Dr. Mary M. Gillam because that is exactly what happened to her. Dr. Gillam was one of those little grandchildren.
Despite growing up in very humbling conditions, Dr. Gillam was determined to succeed. With God as her guide and her grandmother as a role model, Dr. Gillam triumphed against the odds. After achieving the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force, she was later selected to the Senior Executive Service Corps in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. Destined to follow her dream of business ownership, in 2013, Dr. Gillam established M2G Dynamic Leadership Solutions, LLC. The company is a woman-owned, service-disabled veteran, small business specializing in information systems technology management and leadership development consulting services located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that with the right training that most people possess the potential to be good leaders?
Dr. Gillam: This is a great question because it aligns with my rationale for writing my latest book entitled, “The CORE Leadership Development Model.” With a combined 30+ years of information technology, leadership and management experience, I believe—no I am convinced that there are many people with latent/undeveloped leadership potential. They possess an inherent degree of undiscovered leadership talent. Unfortunately, sometimes, the potential lies dormant and simply requires an external source to coach them through their leadership journey.
BusinessInterviews.com: What insights did you gain as an Air Force Colonel that you’ve been able to apply to running your own business?
Dr. Gillam: To put things in perspective, it is important to understand the demographics of the Air Force, which have not changed extensively since my retirement. According to the Department of Defense Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC), in December 2013, there were 64,104 Officers (19.9% are women). However, less than 2% of female officers traditionally make Colonel. This statistic alone motivated me to work hard to achieve the rank of Colonel. Persistent and hard work is not only applicable to the military but also in business. Some additional insights that I gained from the military were to focus on (1) the mission/business; (2) the results that you want to achieve, and (3) the overall performance. If the return on investment is less than anticipated, then you have to adjust the plan.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some ways that you help encourage individuals to overcome their fear of leading and help unleash their leadership potential?
Dr. Gillam: Fear can cause many people to jeopardize advancement within their careers. For whatever reason, they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and assume a leadership position. As a leader with a passion for developing people, my goal for writing “The CORE Leadership Development Model” was to design a framework that could inspire and empower men and women to overcome their fear of leading. The CORE model consists of four steps which I walk clients through. When I train individuals on the model, the first thing that I do is to get them to identify a cause in which they are passionate about. That cause in turn becomes a point of reference in which we can now work through the model.
BusinessInterviews.com: As a prolific writer, what advice would you pass onto someone who is interested in writing their first book?
Dr. Gillam: During several of my book signing tours, I had numerous people to ask me to discuss the book writing process. To fill that void, I decided to publish a short book entitled, “Self-Publishing: Lessons Learned From My Journey.” In the book, I identify several questions that every new author should consider before writing. For example, what story or message do you want to share? Second, what problem (if any) can you solve by writing your story? Third, who is your target audience? Fourth, why should your target audience listen to you? By answering these questions (which are not all inclusive), you can begin to develop a strategic plan for writing your book. When you know your target market for your book, then you can focus your marketing strategies to the correct audience.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the information technology management landscape that you’re excited about?
Dr. Gillam: Having a background in science and technology coupled with having served as a Chief Information Officer (CIO), Director of Technology, Innovation, and Engineering, and as a Director of Information Technology, I am elated about the positive trends occurring in the information technology landscape. For example, the federal government’s focus on getting more students involved in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines is huge. In order for the United States to move from 5th to 1st on the Global Innovation Index chart, we have to get more students involved in STEM. In addition, cloud computing and data center consolidation are also major points of interest for me and my company.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to write, “The CORE Leadership Development Model” and what do you hope that the average reader walks away with?
Dr. Gillam: The inspiration to write The CORE Leadership Development Model was derived from several sources. First, I believe that the art of genuine leadership is developing the next generation of leaders. Second, as a seasoned and experienced leader, I have worked in numerous organizations and discovered some leadership “heroes.” These individuals were primed for a leadership role. They just needed someone to not only give them a chance to exercise their leadership skills, but to also recognize their leadership potential. By reading The CORE Leadership Development Model, people will learn:
(1) A simple step-by-step approach to unleashing their leadership potential.
(2) How to use their natural gifts and talents to develop a powerful leadership brand.
(3) How to unmask the leadership potential hidden inside of uncommon leaders.
(4) How to exercise courage over fear and become the leader that others want to follow.
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