R&R NCO talks leadership, opportunity and mentoring the next generation > Virginia National Guard > News

Sergeant 1st Class Nestor Cordova was not yet serving in the military when someone first thanked him for his service. It was 2011, and he attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and enrolled in the ROTC program, which sometimes required him to wear a military uniform.

“After that, I decided to do more and enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard,” Cordova said, explaining that he signed up as an 88M Motor Transport Operator because of the short training requirements of the career field.

As he rose through the ranks, Cordova has learned a few lessons about leadership. Today, he works as a recruiter on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, helping youth learn about the opportunities available in the Virginia Army National Guard.

“Helping subordinates achieve their goals is my favorite part of serving in the military,” Cordova said.

With a family from the Philippines and a cultural background that puts “family first,” Cordova acknowledged that his Filipino heritage has influenced the decisions he has made both in his life and over the course of his career. He said understanding the backgrounds of others can help leaders be more effective.

“There is value in observing diversity,” Cordova said. “You can see what motivates someone if you know more about their background and how they make decisions.”

Understanding motivators allows a leader to better understand and get to know their subordinates, which, Cordova said, “is a big part of being a leader.”

For anyone considering the military, Cordova said make sure you have a plan.

“Look at what you want to do in five years and then see how the military can help you get there,” he said.

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