ISS2 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 41 of 55

Meet BM Reserve Force Management Coordinator -- BMCS Nicholas Bernice If you believe that life is about the journey and not the destination, then you have to be open to where the journey takes you. Often, I have been asked about how I arrived at being a school district superintendent from my beginnings as a Boatswain's Mate. The quick answer, that also usually draws a laugh, is that "I am a Boatswain's Mate." The longer answer requires complexity. My civilian career has led me from being a high school science teacher, vice principal, and principal, to running a four-building school district. Fundamentally, the skills required to do each of these jobs are the same skills I acquired from being in the Coast Guard Reserve. Upon quick examination, one can find the bureaucratic structures are quite similar. There are tiers of technicians, management, and leadership that each work toward a common goal. This is true of both schools and Coast Guard structures, of course the customer difference is obvious – children and boaters, often in distress. Equipped with the understandings that are instilled in all members of the Coast Guard, I have been able to do valuable work in schools. Often I tell people that I lean on my experience as a boat crewmember, coxswain, and station officer of the day to run schools far more often than I do my experience as a science teacher. Teaching gave me a lens for good instruction, but not how to run an organization. Running a 300 employee school district is not dissimilar to running a boat crew. There are very specific jobs for each person on the team to do and important decisions to make in a timely manner based on reliable data and reflecting on experience. Our service places us in positions of leadership at very young ages for a reason. It makes us better decision makers much earlier in our careers, which yields greater dividends in the future. The skills remain the same as we take on more responsibility, only the scale changes. Working as a Boatswain's Mate has been wildly rewarding. It has been far more so than I could have predicted as an 18-year-old enlisting in the Coast Guard Reserve at the Battery Building in New York City. My feeling is that the total experience has been much more helpful to me, as I have been to the Coast Guard. This feeling of indebtedness has inspired me to take on my new role as the Boatswain's Mate Reserve Force Management Coordinator. The job is new to Coast Guard Headquarters, working with BM Rating Force Master Chief Shawn Hoefling. I am quite honored and humbled to be the first to hold the title. BMCM Hoefling and Mr. Donald Hartmayer, Office of Boat Forces (CG-731), have been working with me to define the role and how to make it the most valuable to the rating. Recently, I have edited the BM Force Notes with BMCM Hoefling and answered a number of emails from fellow reservists with questions ranging from boat certifications to the relevance of advancement standards. It is wonderful interacting with Boatswain's Mates all over the service and helping to answer their questions. I also had the pleasure of attending the a 5th District Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor workshop at Air Station Atlantic City. Hearing the issues at the subsidiary levels of the service will best equip me with knowledge and understanding needed to inform those to whom I report. I wish to offer a special "Thank you" to those in attendance for openly sharing their thoughts. One of the largest tasks this new role will present is assisting in the messaging of the Reserve Boat Forces Management Plan. The plan has been well documented in the BM Force Notes and the RESERVIST magazine. Having me assigned to Boat Forces allows a reservist, me, to be on- point to answer Reserve specific questions. My Boatswain's Mate journey has led me to many places and provided me with experiences that are unique to the Coast Guard. My thinking is that being the Boatswain's Mate Reserve Force Management Coordinator is just another stop on my Reserve journey – final destination unknown. If you had asked my 18-year-old self in the Battery Building Recruiting Office, he wouldn't have known where his ultimate destination was either. I encourage all of you to consider the journey and grow as much as you can in the roles you currently fill. I look forward to interacting with all of you in the coming years as this position continues to develop in parallel with your exciting careers. Semper Paratus! Senior Chief Bernice can be contacted via email at: 40 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2017

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