Part Two: All about advice! Raymond Kemp Sr. gives us his top tips: 1) Bias towards action 2) Embrace who you are, and 3) Enjoy the journey. He also suggests finding a mentor who believes in you, helps you gain momentum to help you reach your goals and tells you the truth!
And, you will want to hear about the US President he has met who surprised him the most. He ends his interview with us with a discussion on the continued discrimination in the military. Raymond’s service is not over, as he now wants to inspire other leaders to do the right thing.
Raymond is a highly experienced Senior Executive in Leadership and Human Resources. He is an accomplished, results-oriented, forward-thinking organizational consultant with over 10 years of experience at the highest levels of the US Navy improving organizational strategies, increasing operational excellence, and boosting the performance of teams and employees in a variety of organizations.
He represented the US Navy at the NATO International Senior Enlisted Seminar, which included briefing over 200 military leaders from African and European nations on leadership development and the value of cooperative agreements. As an Inspector General, he mentored over 300 junior executives, monthly, in leadership best practices and ethics at the Naval Leadership and Ethics Command & Senior Enlisted Academy. He spearheaded the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” through face to face discussion with every crew member under his command for the purpose of building trust/resilience.
Throughout his career, he has completed combat deployments in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Fleet areas of responsibilities and participated in operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Southern Watch, Continue Hope, Sea Angel II, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Fleet Master Chief Kemp's personal qualifications and awards include the Enlisted Surface Warfare, Enlisted Aviation Warfare, and the Enlisted Information Warfare; two Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Combat Action Ribbon, and various unit and campaign awards.
Connect with Raymond to learn more about him and his background:
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Keri [00:00:02] Hello and welcome for Part Two with Raymond Kemp. We're going to talk about advice. So when we last left off like a like a teaser, Raymond, we are asking you, what advice would you give you? Have you've lived the life? So what advice would you give to your beautiful children? And also, what's the advice that you give to all these leadership institutes that you're talking to and others that you're helping and coaching?
Raymond [00:00:28] Right. Well, the glad to be back. I would say that the advice is really the same, and that is I have a bias towards action. When you have an idea and you have a sum that you want to pursue, just get after it. I'm a big fan of just building that plane in flight. And as you start making moves, especially to the children and to young leaders, when you start as you're going along the way, you apply a high level of of a positive attitude, the ABCs of leadership, attitude, belief and character. And so in that bias towards action, always maintain that high level of attitude, have a belief in what it is that you're getting after, because if you believe you can achieve and then do all things with good character. And then the second thing I would say that's a bias towards action and then embrace who you are. There may be some differences between yourself and other people, but treat them with dignity and respect, embrace who you are, and then be confident in who you are. And then the last thing is you enjoy the journey. I don't think that everything is going to be over when you get to your destination, because once you get there, you may very well be very well likely be looking for another destination. So enjoy the journey as well as a final destination and the relationship that you make along the way.
Keri [00:02:01] That's so, that's so lovely. I think that bias for action is just do something which I love that she said that because you just got to do something. Sometimes you get too stuck in your head and got to try and move and do it like you figure. You're like, I'm going to join the Navy, then do it right. You could have sat there for a few more years and tried to figure things out and. But you now I did enough. I thought about it enough. We're going to we're going to go do it now and I'm going to have this bias for action. So I appreciate that as well as your attitude. I'm going to steal from your controlling your own attitude because you can't you can't manage or others are going to say and you certainly gave us examples of that and then that character, which is so important and I'll I'll throw in there that that a theme that we've talked through, Raymond, with you is just that importance of finding mentors and another person who believes in you and can be that sounding board. So it sounds like you had, again, starting with mom and grandma, but so many people throughout your career who really helped you and mentor to you. What are some of those qualities in a in a mentor that people should look for since you've had such good ones?
Raymond [00:03:13] And and I'll say this too, Keri, is that there were some drought in there. And so the importance of having that your attitude determines your altitude. Right. So with that positive attitude, even when there are no mentors there to help, then you can still press on with your beliefs, I would say, when looking at mentors, because that's someone who is who is not necessarily looking to kind of give you the abilities and what you think of being successful. A mentor as I discuss them, as someone who does maybe that measure of belief in you and then create a measure of synergy for you to gain momentum and get going towards whatever that goal may be. So someone who is a person of integrity, someone who has a measure of courage and is not someone who is kind of about done under high pressure, someone who is absolutely going to tell you the truth and help you work your way through the the hard facts of whatever those goals may be. Because Admiral Howard once told someone, look, just because you want you doesn't mean you should be. So to have a mentor who can give it to you straight and talk to you that you have empowered to speak truth to power, and that's to you. So those are the some of the high level qualities that I would love for and I would encourage and do encourage others to look for when it comes to mentorship.
Keri [00:04:51] Hmm. Thank you for that. I think this is definitely a theme that we've heard throughout the podcast we've recorded as that importance of that person and finding that person. And they. I think that person needs to be truthful, and so we joke who's going to tell you have spinach in your teeth, less people won't tell you, they just let you have it in your whole lunchtime. And no one tells you you have spinach, your teeth. You need that person. That's your mentor, like you said, speaking truth. What? OK, so now we couldn't get to this because we were joking with her and we could have like seven hours of of talks with Raymond. OK, so now I got to ask who you've met. So many people know someone that really surprised you. Either you thought they were going to be like, look, and you're like, oh my God, this person's amazing. Or I know the other way. You won't say it. You thought the person was amazing. They were horrible. But like someone who was just so surprising that you're like, wow, that's interesting. I never thought that person would kind of be like this. Who is your biggest surprise? Who you met?
Raymond [00:05:52] So the you write about a gang of people. When I join them, join the Navy. I was that Ronald Reagan was the president. And I met every president up to President Obama, by the way, the one who just kind of caught me off guard. And I was like like a regular dude was a W. Bush opportunity to go to his his final award, final recognition as president over at the Fort Myers right there on the National Cemetery. And it was just like a super quick exchange. He was being lauded. Like you can imagine, the pomp and circumstance goes along with all that. Yeah. And I just happen to to be behind the security and was just said, hey, how are you doing here? Hey, Master Chief, I was surprised he knew my rank and he said, how's it going? And we just had kind of like to do shopping for a super quick second. And I was like, well, who knew? So yeah, he would I would say W. Bush was the person who caught me off guard the most when it comes down to who I thought would be down to earth...
Keri [00:07:09] Who caught you off guard. And I figure you must have had some kind of out of body experience. What do you think? Am I talking to the president? I think that is a real. Like what, huh?
Raymond [00:07:21] I'll tell you a super duper quick story, if I may. That is that when President Obama was elected or getting ready to have the ceremony and so forth, my nieces asked me here, you're going to get a chance to meet the president. I like what you mean. Is he going to get to meet me? Everybody, I've been in the Navy at the time, been the Navy 24 years, blah, blah, blah. And I've done all these things I do says speech. You all elected him? Yeah. Is he going to beat me? It's a question that she tells my my cousin. She's like Uncle Ramus. Is he going to meet him. Well, sure enough. So like this armed force inauguration committee member, blah, blah, blah. But I went to the children's inaugural, so and so forth. So, you know, meeting people I think has a lot to do with the the vibes that you emit. And I have I think that attitude, peace, attitude, attitude is real. Believe in achievement is real and doing all things and goodness and in order are real as well. Yeah. President Obama is great down there. Yes. My hands. But he's cool.
Keri [00:08:26] I love that the nieces are like. So Uncle Raymond, the President gets to meet him like a totally twisted or that people like stop it right now. That's what, Kelly, when you've met all the presidents and you're not. I'm just joking. And presidents of companies can get really boring compared to Raymond's. But I was thinking, Kelly, Raymond has such a good aura to use our good Southern California term of just the aura because people want to talk to you and be kind of real with you. What other kind of thoughts do you have on and Raymond's stories and his advice for for today's podcast?
Kelly [00:09:10] I'd be curious to find out. Raymond, ask the question around the someone surprising that you were that surprised you that you met during your tenure in the military. What was one of the things that surprised about being in the military in general? Because I have an idea our conception of what it must be like, the routine, the structure, the people yelling at you, all that good stuff. But what what is it that surprised you the most that that you maybe didn't anticipate? Realizing your discovering...
Raymond [00:09:42] You know, I didn't have much advice going into going in and I didn't know many people who had been in the Navy, not the uncle who had served. And I wanted to be like him in a different on a different day talk about why that was. But what kind of surprised me towards the end of my career was the measure, the amount of discrimination that was still going on. Now, I told you the story of how I joined, and I was I was a leader in the Navy when we brought women on board ships for the first time. That's pretty difficult. I was a leader in the Navy when we went to Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. And so I've led my way through some tough times. But what was surprising to me, particularly towards the end, is how there was still a very low number of women and minorities in high ranking positions and some science behind why women don't serve an extended amount of time in the Navy when it comes down to wanting to have families and things like that and the misogyny that still goes on throughout the ranks, regardless of a pay grade and professions. And so that caught me off guard, I will admit. And when I realized it, because I had been saying the Navy is a meritocracy, if you work hard, you can make it on and so forth. And I believe that just deep, deep in my heart. And then when I got to the rank where I was responsible for selecting people to go into various different places or part of a board that was selecting people, that was then and as the the inspector general for the Navy and sailor programs then it was then that I was able to really see that there was still some boxing out that was taking place and people were not are not getting selected into some of the the higher positions. And that was a bit disappointing, though it appears there's a there's been great advances being made or I should say advances being made. The fact of the matter is there are still some some overcoming that has to to take place.
Kelly [00:11:58] Well, I just think about how fortunate the military, in particular the Navy, was to have you in its in its leadership because people like you, I would think were probably very few come by your your resilience, your ability to take situations that are incredibly difficult and find meaning through it and find a way to persevere. I would imagine that there were a lot of people, a lot of people who either reported to you directly or maybe even indirectly, who found you to be someone that they could trust, that they could go to. And they had questions to be that mentor that was discussed earlier. So I I think that you probably impacted and changed and shaped many people's lives as a result of your presence in in the military, in the Navy.
Raymond [00:12:51] Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I was taught long ago that there will be occasions where you plant trees that bear fruit that you'll never taste. And I just don't resent that. I know that there is a there's not there's great value in treating people with dignity and respect, and there's great value in doing your absolute best because someone's always watching. Or maybe we would say someone you're always on parade, someone's always watching and not because they're watching, but because it's the right thing to do is what I hope to inspire other leaders to do in and now out of the Navy.
Kelly [00:13:28] Well, I mean, your story is one that's truly inspirational. I can't help but want to thank your mother and grandmother for having raised such a great person as you and for being so open to sharing your story with us and in all of its glory and for being so honest with us and candid in your experiences and how you've overcome a lot of the unfortunate discrimination that you receive, but how you turned out to be someone who stayed thirty three years and was the longest serving black member of the US Navy. I mean, just amazing, amazing story.
Raymond [00:14:09] Thank you. Thank you very much.
Kelly [00:14:13] Yeah. Thank you so much, Raymond. And if you would like to connect with Raymond, which we certainly hope you will do, you can connect with him on LinkedIn. We'll make sure to include his information as well as his email address and his website for his company, Kemp Leadership.com. So we look we look forward to all of you listening and enjoying our conversation today. Again, Raymond, thank you so much for taking the time to share your incredibly powerful story with us. We're very grateful to you.
Raymond [00:14:44] Thank you, Kelly. And thank you, Keri.
Kelly [00:14:48] Thank you for listening to the reCHARGE® your Life podcast, please sign up for our newsletter at Abbracci Group.com and follow us on social media. You can find us on LinkedIn at Abbracci Group, Instagram at WarriorsofHR and Twitter at Warriors_HR. Remember to subscribe to our podcast, leave a review and please tell a friend and be sure to drop us a note on how you are recharging in your life. We can't wait to hear from you.