I have 39 cumulative years of military (20 years) and civilian service (19 years). I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, without my father being a major part of my life during the height of the civil unrest, the civil rights movement, and the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK Jr., race riots, daily drive by shooting which left an indelible imprint on me growing up. I had a difficult life and often there was very little money for clothes, shoes, other life necessities, and getting through elementary school and high school was a difficult challenge. I grew up following after other people dreams, because at that time, I did not have enough self-esteem to realize that I could have pursued dreams of my own. A major turning point came when I found myself, one more time, facing the wrath of a judge. However, on this particular occasion I was given an option of either serve jail time or join the military. I opted to join the military after high school. Even though I joined the U. S. Navy, I brought my bad attitude based on my socialization with me into the military. Early in my military career, two influential sailors (Elliot Simpson and Clarence Peters) took me under their wings and became my new role models and mentors. The first valuable lesson I learned was to stop playing the victim role and stop using discrimination as an excuse for my own lack of education and self-development. They taught me to instead, look internally to see what I could have done better in a particular situation. I quickly learned my future success was defined in my character rather than my reputation defined by my life experiences. As an E-5, leading other seamen, I was a horrible leader. While I believed I was doing a great job because my team was meeting all of their requirements, my team found me to be a corrosive disruptive leader who led through shouting, fear and intimidation. To help me deal with my poor leadership skills the Navy sent me to Leadership, Education, and Development training. This course transformed my thinking and opened my eyes to the attributes of an effective leader. I learned a lot about myself and about my own blind spots and what behaviors I needed to change, delete, and improve upon. I began to perfect a new vision for my life. I began to change my life by first changing the people around me. After taking an overseas assignment in 1993, I returned to the United States as new person and volunteered to become a Navy Equal Opportunity Specialist to assist other Sailors who face the challenges of life experiences, decision making, and often find themselves doing the same thing over and over... expecting a different result. I retired from the Navy in 1996 after 20 years of service. My experience as a Navy Equal Opportunity Specialist prepared me for increased roles and responsibility as a Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist as a (GS-0260-9). Without a college degree, I have transferred my skills from the military to a successful 19-year career as a civilian Federal employee. I live by the motto, "in order to predict your future, YOU MUST create it"... Being mobile and taking calculated risks has directly impacted my career growth. I have worked for (4) Department of Defense government agencies at different locations in various leadership positions at the Headquarters, Division, District, and Field levels formerly responsible for executive leadership, policy, direction, and oversight of the Affirmative Employment, Special Emphasis, and Complaints programs affecting equal employment opportunity. I am currently a Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist (GS-0260-14), Section Chief of the External Civil Rights Division, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service responsible for upholding and protecting the civil rights of all taxpayers, including individuals with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency. Because of my passion to add value to individuals and organization keeps me coming to work every day. Literally, the best job in government. As a long-life learner of human behavior, leadership, and organization effectiveness, I specialize in bringing together intellectual differences in individuals and empowering them to work together without destroying personal relationships. Lacking a college degree did not damper my life dreams and career goals of becoming a World-class Motivational Speaker/Life Coach, author, and a Certified member of the John Maxwell Team. I continue to self-develop and spend countless hours perfecting my craft and God's given potential and talent... I clearly understand Success is a Do It Yourself Project and ONLY ME can stop me permanently. As I now look back at the challenges and setbacks I went through in my life, I realize those challenges did not come to destroy me, but to make me stronger. Through my life story, I have encouraged thousands of individuals to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their visions and dreams. My journey to success has not been an easy ride, but the story of my success is one of inspiration and encouragement to every individual who is facing their own challenges and self-defeating behaviors. My compelling life story is a stirring call to action to all who desire to turn their challenges into triumphs.