Alumni Spotlight: Jolyn Green (’13)
Jolyn Green is an alumna of Woodcrest Christian School Class of 2013 and is currently 2nd in command of the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered, after having served in the US Merchant Marine. We recently caught up with Jolyn and asked her to share with us what she’s doing now and how Woodcrest Christian School prepared her for her career.
At 23 I received an opportunity that not many people my age get, I became the second-in-command aboard a multi-million-dollar Coast Guard Cutter. When I accepted my assignment this past summer, I was honored to be entrusted with such a high responsibility job and eager for the chance to prove myself, but more than anything, I was terrified. The Fast Response Cutter I would be serving onboard, the ROBERT YERED, was home to 25 other men and women who would all fall under my command. Many of these Coasties had over a decade’s worth of experience on me, and yet the Coast Guard and the crew were putting their faith in me to do the right thing and make the right calls.
Although I have my Commanding Officer presiding over me, as the Executive Officer, a majority of the day-to-day operations fall under me which includes managing all finances, personnel, training, and administrative matters. In addition to my responsibilities as the Executive Officer, I am also a Law Enforcement Officer, a mentor to the other three Junior Officers onboard, and a shiphandler of the 154’ vessel. Not your typical job for a twenty-something year old. Yet, that is a recurring theme within the military where almost half of the workforce is under the age of 25. As we like to say, a lot of these jobs are “high speed, low drag” which means there’s a lot on your plate and you’re expected to learn your job quickly on the fly to ensure your unit’s capability of meeting operational demands.
Not your typical job for a twenty-something year old.
Within the first six months at my unit, we were tasked with recovery and relief efforts following Hurricane Dorian, a daunting nighttime recovery of a stranded vessel in the middle of the Caribbean, the interdiction of Venezuelan drug smugglers and 900 kilograms of illegal narcotics, and so much more. To say the Coast Guard or the military as a whole is a challenging environment is putting it mildly, but for those who are up for the challenge, it’s the ideal environment to either make a career or to use it as a stepping stone to hone the skills and experience necessary for whatever your next challenge. While the military is certainly a challenging career that demands more out of you than your typical 9-5 job, you are rewarded in the sense of duty and fulfillment as well as by the people you are surrounded with, people that share your same mindset and are in the same pursuit to become the best they can be. It’s a constant and continuous journey to sharpen your professional and leadership skills. There is no comfort zone. As long as you continue to put forth the effort and the work, every couple years is another promotion and new leadership position to go along with it, forcing you to grow and adapt.
To say the Coast Guard or the military as a whole is a challenging environment is putting it mildly, but for those who are up for the challenge, it’s the ideal environment to either make a career or to use it as a stepping stone to hone the skills and experience necessary for whatever your next challenge.
For me, I was fortunate to have the building blocks for success set long before I took on my first real leadership position. So yes, I was terrified, but I also knew I had the skills and the mindset necessary to succeed. When I was at Woodcrest, the faculty and teachers cultivated work ethic, taught us to take responsibility for our actions, and constantly pushed us to be better. At the time, it seemed impossible to juggle school, sports, and life, but we all made it through. We heard it a million times throughout our four years – “we are instilling habits that are going to carry you through your lives” and “you are going to be more prepared for whatever you go onto after graduation than your peers”, but it never quite became a reality until I started my tenure at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. I now had even more responsibilities to juggle, but Woodcrest had already prepared me, allowing me to make the transition from civilian to military life that much smoother than some of my classmates.
When I was at Woodcrest, the faculty and teachers cultivated work ethic, taught us to take responsibility for our actions, and constantly pushed us to be better.
Now, as I’m at the beginning of my Coast Guard career, I am forever grateful for the mindset and the work ethic that was imparted on me so early on. I look forward to the remainder of my tour on the ROBERT YERED and zealously look forward to the next challenge God takes me, knowing I have what it takes as long as I am willing to work for it. The WCHS class of 2013 (Jolyn pictured far right).
To anyone who is considering joining the military, whether that is enlisting or pursing an officer career through a Service Academy or ROTC, I would strongly recommend talking to a recruiter and someone who is currently serving. The opportunities within the military are almost limitless and they set you up for success with the necessary tools and networking for any sector within the civilian world.