On August 24, 2010, Allyson Doran became the first female opening day Corps Commander at Randolph-Macon Academy. She was kind enough to share her story about how she came to the position and the qualities she brings to the rank.
Brian Fisher (BF): How did you come to RMA? Were you interested in military school/living as a cadet as part of your school search?
Allyson Doran (AD): I came to RMA when my family moved to Front Royal. We were interested in a private school and college prep education, and it just happened to be close by. I wasn’t particularly interested in the JROTC program or boarding on campus, but was drawn to both after spending some time at the school.
BF: Tell us about the application process and competition to become corps commander. How did the interview/application process work? Was the support of faculty and your peers part of the process?
AD: First, a selection committee made up of the AFJROTC staff and other senior faculty members monitor how specific cadets lead and how well they do with whatever assignments or difficulties come their way throughout the school year. Then there is a specific group of Junior and Seniors chosen to lead the Corps, who come to school early at the end of each summer for leadership training. During the beginning of this program we apply for what jobs we would like within the Corps. The committee then determines who would be right for what positions.
BF: What do you think ‘sold’ the selection committee on your leadership?
AD: I think the selection committee saw that I wasn’t afraid of facing the challenge of being the first female Corps Commander, and believed I was someone they could trust with such an important position.
BF: What will your perspectives and leadership bring the corps commander’s position?
AD: I hope I will make the Corps Commander known as a more approachable person and one that truly cares about the Corps. My leadership style is strict when a cadet isn’t doing what is required of them, but at the same time I try be understanding when someone is truly having trouble and needs some help.
BF: How do you live your daily life as an example for those under your command? What’s most important for those around you see and learn every day?
AD: I feel that the most important way I can set an example and be fair as a leader is to never ask any cadet to do something I have not done or am not willing to do. This includes making sure that I am following the rules I enforce on others, from wearing the uniform correctly to treating others with respect.
BF: What’s the greatest challenge that you face a leader going into the school year?
AD: This year I will have to put a lot of work into balancing my leadership responsibilities and academic work, because I have plenty of both.
BF: If you could impart one lesson or piece of advice to every member of the corps, what would it be?
AD: I would say to embrace whatever situation you are put in. If there is something in your life that you cannot change, there is no sense in fighting it. Try to learn from the experience if possible and enjoy the little things in life. Have a positive attitude and an unfortunate situation may turn into an enjoyable one.
BF: On personal note, what are plans beyond RMA?
AD: I plan to go to college and become an Air Force Officer either through the Air Force Academy or Air Force ROTC.