Webster Alumnus Col. Robinson to Students: ‘Bloom Where You are Planted’

| April 22, 2013

Col. Brian Robinson credit his mentors with helping him to achieve his career goals and be a benefit to the Air Force. In his talk with Webster students, he emphasized networking and having a life plan.

Webster University alumnus and U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Robinson, installation commander of Little Rock Air Force Base, recently spoke to students at Webster University’s Little Rock Air Force Base and Metro locations to outline his path to where is today, the hard work that it took to accomplish his goals, and his philosophies on career success. In addition to being the base commander, he is commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, a command pilot and weapons officer having logged more than 4,300 hours in airlift and trainer aircraft.

Robinson shared that he was raised by a single mother who received her RN degree while raising three children. His father was also supportive of his educational efforts. In addition, three teachers showed interest in his potential as he went through public schooling. Through their guidance, he learned early on the value of education and self-improvement, including employment stints at a supermarket and a bank to pay tuition for his bachelor’s degree before joining the Air Force.

“Life deals you the reality, what are you going to do with it?” said Robinson. “I strongly believe in ‘bloom where you are planted.'”

Elizabeth Hopkins, assistant director of the Little Rock Air Force Base campus location, presented Col. Robinson with a token of appreciation for speaking to the Webster classes.

Having recently been selected as brigadier general, Robinson believes leaders have a responsibility for developing employees to reach a higher potential. He implements establishing goals with a reasonable timeline to meet them, and believes that creative thinking should be encouraged along with innovative thinking.

Robinson cites advice from mentors who helped him by pointing out opportunities that helped achieve his career goals and be a benefit to the Air Force.

“Provide honest and timely feedback; communicate with your people. Communicate strengths and weaknesses,” said Robinson. “Don’t think that ‘no news is good news.’ Be honest with timely constructive criticism so your employees can grow in performance; coach your people. Informal conversations are as important as formal ones. Counsel them if they are not meeting the mark; make suggestions on how to improve. Separate the behavior from the person.”

When asked his plan for career success, he stated that a person should have a life plan, network at every opportunity and communicate it to those around them. As networking becomes increasingly important, he emphasized that it should be done with a service mentality, not a self-serving mentality, and should not be viewed as the primary avenue. The focus should be to work hard to make a positive difference in the world.

“Work hard every day to be a part of the solution and know that you gave it your all,” said Robinson.

One of his main philosophies is having as few regrets as possible. Robinson wants to be known for being involved in efforts that make a difference, which he strives to reflect in both his professional and personal life. His mentality is that one can shape their own life or life will shape it for them. Robinson utilizes physical activity as “think time,” and as a way to reduce stress and refresh himself. He believes in life balance for himself and those who work for him.

Submitted by Elizabeth Hopkins, assistant director of Webster University’s Little Rock Air Force Base campus location.

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Category: International & U.S. Campuses, Military

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