Building Coalitions (influencing/negotiating, interpersonal skills, oral communication, partnering, political savvy, written communication)
? This core qualification involves the ability to explain, advocate, and express facts and ideas in a convincing manner and to negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally. It also involves the ability to develop an expansive professional network with other organizations and to identify the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization.
(please use material below this line for content in essay, it needs to to shortened to 2 pages (550 words)
************************************************************

I recognized early that ?Building Coalitions? was one of the most highly regarded qualities in the federal government. My goal was to be respected among civilian and military leaders. In the course of development of my career in the public service (military community and public service), I have had the privilege of building relationships with several outstanding colleagues. I can communicate my organization?s mission and message. I have spearheaded successful actions at the highest levels of government during my tenure at the Offices of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Secretary of the Army. These environments provided ample opportunities for me to build networks and support systems, brief staff and lobby my colleagues, leaders, the Services, and utilize [“utilize” is an over-used word and has become hackneyed and a cliche. Use it only to mean “make good use of,” as in “Many teachers utilize computers for instruction.” For all other cases, prefer “use.” ] my skills in building coalitions with organizations for needed improvements.

Example 1-Building Coalitions:
As a soldier in the United States Army, I was stationed at different locations worldwide, to include: South Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, DC, and the Republic of Korea.

In 1997, as a result of the strong relationships and coalitions I built, I was recommended by a colleague (unknowing to me), to be the Army Representative on a US Commemorative postage stamp in observance of the Women?s Memorial. I [To what does “it” refer? If a pronoun is used without first identifying for what it stands, the reader might be confused.] t was the greatest complimen [word selection — complement (a “compliment” is saying something nice)] t to be nominated by my colleague, Sergeant Major Phillip Prater (US Army). There were hundreds of applicants, Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, President of Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA), interviewed and selected me to represent all military women of the U.S. Army, past and present, on a commemorative U.S. Postage stamp. Receiving this honor truly was more than I could imagine being the chosen to represent the entire Department of the Army, was the highest honor I have ever received. The year 1997 was also significant because I retired from the United States Army.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring military women Oct. 18, at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery the same day the Women in Military Service for America Memorial was dedicated at the gateway to the cemetery. The 32-cent stamp honored the nearly 2 million women who have served and are serving in the armed forces. “The Postal Service is proud to honor the women, past and present, who have served our country with such dedication, courage and patriotism in times of conflict and in times of peace for the past 220 years,” said Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon. “We hope that as these stamps appear on envelopes and cards across the country and around the world, they will serve as a reminder of the immeasurable contribution American women in military service have made and continue to make to the cause of protecting the freedom that we enjoy.” The Postal Service printed 37 million stamps featuring uniformed women of the five armed services. “Women in Military Service” appears in white on a blue background at the top of the stamp with five white stars beneath the phrase. The five services ? Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard ? are printed across the bottom of the stamp in black, each separated by a star.

Example 2-Building Coalitions:
November 10, 2004, I led the department?s efforts on the occasion of heroes of the past met the heroes of today during the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War.” The ceremony was co-hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution, dedicated the Kenneth E. Behring Hall of Military History at the National Museum of American History. Mr. Behring donated the funds for the 20 year exhibition at a cost of $80 million dollars. More than 600 guests (3,000 invited) attended the event, to include soldiers wounded in Iraq undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army, Medical Center, Medal of Honor recipients,White House Staff; VA Senior Staff members (political appointees), members of the VA (HQ) Senior Executive Service (SES?), Members of Congress, Judges of the US Court of Veterans Appeals; Title 38 employees; members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), and members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Mr. Behring stated the United States is about freedom. “I know my ancestors, like yours, traveled to this country, and they went through many hardships,” he said. “They had no money, lost babies on the way, but they came because this country is free. This country is opportunity.”
This high profile, unprecented event greatly served to ensure the exhibition which has more than 850 artifacts, including the original military uniforms of General George Washington and General Colin L. Powell, projects the importance of the efforts of the men and women whom that have fought for this country and the legacy of freedom handed down by veterans. Media coverage included local outlets: Washington Post, Washington Times, New York Times, and hundreds of military and veteran periodicals.
The exhibit is an [word choice — “a 18”] 18,600 square foot display that surveys the history of America?s Military from the colonial era to the present, exploring ways that wars have been defining episodes in American history. Using hundreds of original artifacts and graphic images, [What is “it”? Avoid use of undefined pronouns. ] it tells stories of how Americans have fought to establish the nation?s independence, determine its borders, shape its values of freedom and opportunity, and define its leading role in world affairs. The exhibition also looks at relations between wars and American political leadership, social values, technological innovation, and personal sacrifice.

In May 2004, I received a telephone call from the VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diversity Management and officials Smithsonian Institution inquiring whether the Department of Veterans Affairs would like co-host an event the opening of the Smithsonian Instituition?s, Museum of American History, Behring Center. The exhibit was $80 million dollar; 20 year exhibit, ?The Price of Freedom?, Americans at War”. I met with officials at the Smithsonian Institution, and partnered with them to develop a proposal to support 3 events for the opening of the exhibit expansive (Press Confernce, Medal of Honor Luncheon, and the Dedication Ceremony). I next presented the proposal to VA?s senior leaders including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Chief of Staff. The leadership loved the idea, as it had been a goal of the department’s to create and establish a Veteran’s museum; however this exhibit would fulfill this dream to honor America’s veterans. I gained buy-in and developed consensus which were critical, to the approval for this project.

This project was true to my heart as I am a veteran of the United States Army. As such, I had approximately 6 months to partner with the Smithsonian Institution and to pull together a program and a ceremony befitting this honorable occasion. In addition to this major event held on November 10, 2004, my staff and I continued to provide our day to d [spelling — (requires hyphen)] ay services. Simultaneously we planned other notable events, of equal stature: Annual Robert F. Carey awards; Veterans Day Observance, Award Ceremony iho Fisher House, VA Holiday Activities. With 6 months to successfully execute this event, the Smithsonian and I together a partner and created a vision for the event. My team, staff, and I coordinated the participation of the program participants: leaders of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Smithsonian Institution officials, and donor of the exhibit, master of ceremonies, chaplain, singer, military district of Washington (MDW) joint colorguard, host, and guest of honor. By continuing positive relationships and building confidence of participants regarding contribution of their efforts. I personally held meetings with each program participant and convince them to participate and the need for the [pronoun agreement: since the antecedent (each) is singular, the pronoun (their) must be singular {his or her}] ir skill to the overall program. Next, I had wrot [Incorrect usage (wrote or had written)] e the script for the program for the master of ceremonies, coordinated related content for the speeches of the host of the event and The Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The sequence of events included the following:

Welcoming
The Honorable Tim McClain
The General Counsel [Do not use an ampersand except in citations and on the sources page.] & Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resourc [human resources is not capitalized unless it is part of a title, e.g., XYZ Corp. Human Resources Department ] es and Administration

Presentation of Colors
The Military District of Washington Joint Colorguard

National Anthem
Aaron Lee
Office of Human Resourc [human resources is not capitalized unless it is part of a title, e.g., XYZ Corp. Human Resources Department ] es Management

Invocation
Chaplain Hugh Maddry
Director, VA Chaplain Service

Remarks by The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
The Honorable Lawrence Small

Remarks by The Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Anthony J. Principi

Remarks by Exhibit Donor
Mr. Kenneth Behring

Closing
The Honorable Tim McClain
The General Counsel and Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resourc [human resources is not capitalized unless it is part of a title, e.g., XYZ Corp. Human Resources Department ] es and Administration

Reception
(American Revolution, Worlds War II, Korean War, and Vietnam)

Our goal was to hold a ceremony and reception which could accommodate 600+ guests. In addition to using the beautiful setting of the American Museum of History, we received proposals, and interviewed Washington, DC base [misspelling (needs hyphen) — “DC-based”] d Occasions caters to provide the refreshments for the event. There were 4 areas used throughout the museum, which denoted period themes for food to include waiters and staff dressed appropriately for: the American Revolution, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam.

We extended invitations via all forms of communications (US mail, fax, email, and telephone) to 5000+ guests (within 4 weeks) whom were stakeholders of the event and the donor. This included: personal guests of Mr Kenneth Behring?s; White House Staff; VA Senior Staff members (political appointees), VA (HQ) Senior Executive Service (SES?), Members of Congress, DoD; Judges of the US Court of Veterans Appeals; Title 38 employees; members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), and members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

I held team meetings 1-2 times per week with my team members, staff, and our partner for this event the Smithsonian Institution, for a total of 26+. I also, conducted site visit at the ceremony site, and pre-ceremonial walkthroughs with my team, the SECVA, DEPSECVA, and Chief of Staff. My team and I successful planned and executed this event and ensured the event was appropriate to honor our Nation’s veterans. There were more than 650 guests, whom attended the ceremony; guests included the members of the President’s Cabinet; former cabinet members, White House staff, former VA Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries, members of Congress, and military officials. The hosts of the event the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and Donor-Mr. Kenneth Behring were pleased. The impact of my performance ensured the Department of Veterans Affairs, a cabinet level agency and a grateful nation paid its respect for the tireless efforts of our Nation’s 26 million veterans. This exhibit stands as a prominent venue for the more than 26 million veterans that have served our Nation. The activities of this ceremony served to honor the deserving servicemembers appropriately so our Nation will not forget on a global level the contributions of the American servicemember (as was done during Vietnam).

Example 3-Building Coalitions:
The challenge of working and succeeding at the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires an ability to negotiate the maize of complex, interconnected relationships at the highest level of government. Since 1998, I have worked at the cabinet-level in the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (1998 and 2001-present) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (1998-2001). As the Senior Civilian Protocol Officer in the Department of Veterans Affairs, I successfully communicate guidance and policy to VA employees throughout the world. On a daily basis, I brief the senior level VA Leadership on Protocol functions that involve the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Deputy Secretary and Chief of Staff. As such, I have experience working with White House staff, Congressional committee staff?s and other government organizations. Conversely, networking with the department and key organizations such as Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA), National Cemetery Administration (NCA); and staff offices (General Counsel, Public Affairs, Human Resour [human resources is not capitalized unless it is part of a title, e.g., XYZ Corp. Human Resources Department ] ces, Policy and Planning, Information Technol [do not capitalize] ogy), is essential to building department positions and establishing agreed upon courses of action. W [insert comma ( )] ell coordinated actions ensure the best interest of all served. Yet, not to be forgotten are the crucial relationships with advocate organizations (VSOs) who are the spokesmen of our 26 million veterans. I develop contacts and relationships with organizational representatives, provide advice on the preparation of events, conferences, etc.; develop ideas and opportunities for feature articles, interviews, presentations, that promote awareness of the Department of Veterans Affairs; assist and coach VA staff with public speaking engagements; work with senior officials to coordinate activities with protocol related activities; and advise management on community relations projects and activities.

Example 4-Building Coalitions:
In 2000, while assigned as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Quality of Life issues, I led a team of 50 to create and establish the USO Exhibit located in the Pentagon, valued at $50k. The exhibit is in its 5th year of existence and is viewed by more than 100,000 tourists per year along with other exhibits at the Pentagon. I coordinated and streamlined staff policy, developed consensus positions, and maintained focus, and current goals and objectives for the Secretary of Defense. I facilitated timely flow of information between DOD and other federal agencies required for critical decision ma [spelling — (requires hyphen)] king processes. My team and I received honor awards for our performance; I received the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Service Award.

I assisted in managing the first Secretary of Defense Family Forum. This precedent setting event brought 100 family and service members from all Services to the Pentagon to discuss satisfaction with quality of life. The Secretary hosted the event urging family members to be candid and forthright. This event has been heralded as an outstanding outreach to troops and families, allowing grassroots voices at the highest levels of the Department. Service members are the ultimate customer and their voice must be heard. In this regard, I also assisted in conducting focus groups on installations to hear issues directly from troops and their families. This served two purposes: (1) Troops were reinforced that leaders at the top are concerned and (2) we received first h [spelling — the preceding is one word] and information on what works and what doe [contractions are not appropriate in academic writing, e.g., don’t should be do not] sn?t. The major success of this forum resulted in servicemembers stationed overseas being reinstated for welfare related opportunities. Previously, if a servicemember was obtaining ?food stamps? the benefits discontinued upon their reassignment overseas. This was brought to the Secretary of Defense?s attention and immediately reversed with the collaboration with Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

My performance has impacted my organization by my winning support for ideas. I always assume a leadership role in which gaining buy-in and developing consensus are critical, such as implementing new procedures and responding to customer service complaints. I broaden my persuasion and negotiation skills by taking on challenging assignments that require the ability to analyze complex or controversial situations, present clear arguments, and gain support, such as handling particularly difficult prospective customers, making presentations on controversial subjects, and resolving difficult employee relations issues. I share my experience at effectively gaining support my ideas with others to help them improve their communication and negotiation skills.