Portraits of Diversity
1. What is your name and what do you do in the Coast Guard? "Leonel Robles, I'm an MH-65 Aircraft Commander at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City." 2. Describe diversity in a word or two and explain what it means to you. "I grew up moving a lot as a kid. I lived in two boroughs in NYC, Puerto Rico, Lakewood, New Jersey and eventually Parsippany New Jersey. Each one of those places was unique and had a different "culture" and sometimes different languages. What was acceptable in one wasn't necessarily acceptable in others. From an early age, I learned the value of diversity, appreciating the unique differences that individuals bring to the table and above all of being respectful of others. My experiences motivated me to chase my dreams which eventually led me to a career as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot." 3. How has your experience and background prepared you to be effective at your job? "As a military officer, you're put in leadership positions fairly early in your career. Whether you're running a shop or leading an aircrew on a mission, the people we work with all have their own stories, backgrounds and motivations. I've tried my best to get to know the people I work with, where they’re from, what motivates them and where they’re trying to go. When you look at people with a holistic view I think you're able to better understand them and ultimately be a better leader." 4. Tell me a little bit about your life outside of work. "I try and maintain a fairly active life outside of the Coast Guard. I've been taking graduate classes at Indiana University and I’ve had the opportunity to travel to some cool places. Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Athens, Greece and Tampa, Florida to participate in two student projects where we helped two different organizations develop their strategy. It was a great opportunity to learn about different industries, but more importantly, an opportunity to see how folks in other professions think and tackle prob

Photo by: Auxiliarist David Lau |  VIRIN: 160225-G-QD712-648.JPG