The city of Fayetteville appointed its first female police chief in 2017. Chief Gina V. Hawkins is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and Georgia State University.
Hawkins assumed her post as police chief with a wealth of experience in law enforcement; she entered law enforcement with the Atlanta Police Department in September 1988. She worked various divisions with the Atlanta Police Department including patrol, crime analysis, investigations and internal affairs. Hawkins later retired from the Atlanta Police Department in 2006 as an Assistant Zone Commander.
“When you enjoy what it is you do it’s not work, it becomes your purpose,” said Hawkins. “I love the problem-solving aspect of what I do, my biggest mentor would be my faith in God,” added Hawkins.
Hawkins in her capacity links bridges of communication between officers of her department and special divisions to the local community. She understands the importance of leader engagements with business owners, local officials and residents alike for community outreach enhancement.
“My most rewarding experience as a female leader is seeing people I lead and supervise grow (both internally and externally), seeing people overcome obstacles and challenges that brings me a lot of joy,” said Hawkins. “The most challenging experience was trying to figure out my holistic ‘work-life balance,’ my family has always been inclusive in my life. My profession, my life, who I am is everything that I do and I’ve incorporated it in all I do,” added Hawkins.
It should be noted that Hawkins entered the position as one of four female police chiefs in the Triangle Area — Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, Durham Police Chief Cerelyn Davis and Morrisville Police Chief Patrice Andrews.
The 525th Military Intelligence Brigade is composed of women in key leadership positions. There are commanders, first sergeants, platoon leaders and staff officers within the ranks.
These leaders plan, prepare and resource training for contingency and world wide deployment operations.
Capt. Jessica Masters is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, commander of Company A, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, 525th MI Bde. Masters has been in the Army for 13 years as a military intelligence officer.
“My most rewarding experience is serving as a company commander and the biggest challenge centers on the impact of toxic leaders who continue to permeate various positions of authority and influence within the military,” said Masters. “Such personnel put lack of faith in the overall organization and cause Soldiers to question military culture and values.”
Masters commands her company as an even keeled, methodical and conscientious leader. She is ever mindful of maintaining readiness, training and ensuring her Soldiers are effectively trained within their warfighting missions.
In the midst of providing leadership and mentorship there are two major influencers in her life who guide her decisions.
“I have two main influences that guide my decisions, first is God as His teachings directly apply to how leaders must act nonjudgmental, continually seek wisdom, and serve as a positive example to others and my husband (Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Masters) is the second biggest influence as a military leader. He provides support, candid advice and is an excellent example of how leaders effectively interact with Soldiers, families and the community as a whole,” said Masters.
Both influences have guided Masters through difficult times and continually push her to be the best leader for her Soldiers and unit as a whole.
The 525th MI Bde. and Expeditionary Force conduct multidiscipline intelligence operations in support of echelons corps and below, providing downward reinforcing capabilities to the division, brigade combat teams and other formations. The brigade and battalion headquarters are designed to receive, integrate, employ and sustain intelligence enterprise capabilities in support of corps, division and joint task force commanders.
Editor’s note: This is the final part of a two-part series on Women in Leadership.