Claflin Alumna, Brigadier General Twanda E. Young Delivers Motivational Message to Aspiring Visionary Leaders
Feb 04, 2019
“Do you look in the mirror and talk to yourself each day?” asked U.S. Brigadier General Twanda E. Young to students attending the Visionary Leader-in-Residence program at Claflin University on Thursday, January 31, 2019. “You need to look at you and speak truth to you, and figure out who is on your board of directors that will speak truth to you too.”
Young graduated from Claflin in 1989 and participated in the Army ROTC program through the cross-enrollment agreement with South Carolina State University. She was the first female commissioned from the ROTC program to earn the rank of Brigadier General. Young’s stellar military career led to her being a Class of 2018 inductee into the Claflin University Hall of Fame.
“Self-evaluate, flex-i-cute, and communicate,” said Young during her presentation in Ministers’ Hall to more than 50 students, faculty and administrators. “I’ve been serving for 30 years, and I still go into meetings where I’m the only female general, but I know if I’m at the table, then I deserve to be there.
Young defined "flex-i-cute" as the ability to operate in a myriad of environments and still be successful.
“So, I’m asking you, if you’re at the table, what are you doing to stay there? You’re going to find yourself in so many situations where you don’t like someone or you feel uncomfortable, but your ability to ‘flex-i-cute’ will determine how successful you will be,” Young said.
The Leader-in-Residence program is hosted by the Office of the Provost. The program invites exceptional leaders who are distinguished alumni, or representatives from corporate, education, government, non-profits, and other sectors to support students and the mission of Claflin University.
Young used an interactive, group exercise using spaghetti noodles, string, and a marshmallow to validate her overall message. “Without a strong base, you will lean for anything,” she said. “Stand for your standards. That is how you become a leader.”
Young has served in command and staff positions in the continental United States and Hawaii with First Army, Joint Forces Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, and in Afghanistan with NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A). Among her other key assignments were G1, U.S. Army Reserve Command; Commander, Theater Support Group-Pacific; Army Reserve Warrior Transition Liaison Program Manager; CJ1, Chief Strategic Initiatives (Kabul, Afghanistan); and Executive Training Officer, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Division.