Tanzania Alexander is a former Marine recruiter who currently works as an Aviator Supply Specialist. During her time as a recruiter, Tanzania mentored high school students and kids in the foster care system. She is the mom of a 9-year-old, and will graduate in June from Ashford University with a degree in Business Management. This is her story.
Why did you join the Marine Corps?
I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to travel and see the world. I also wanted to do something different, get an education, and have the opportunity to serve my country.
What did you enjoy most about being a recruiter?
In my time as a recruiter, I enjoyed talking to the youth about military service. Recruiters have to put the word out about what the military has to offer, often dispelling misinformation along the way. I regularly visited high schools, and spoke to parents as well about the Marine Corps.
What leadership skills have you gained?
I have to say that one of the greatest leadership skills I gained is the skill of listening. By this, I mean listening to the needs of people. People join the military for different reasons, be it financial, going to college, or career-based pursuits. Everyone has needs, and a leader has to figure out how to fulfill those needs. Being a successful recruiter involves being attentive to the concerns of each individual, not just listening to respond.
Why is it important to you to mentor men and women in foster care?
I have always wanted to be a mentor. I see the need to expose the youth to a broader existence. There are so many young men and women out there who are not in the greatest environments. I reached out to them, taking them on museum trips, among other things. People have to see that there is more to their world than their immediate surroundings. Youth in a foster care predicament often are unaware of the other choices out there that they can make to have a different path in life.
How do you balance motherhood and Marine life?
I could not do it without the support of my family and friends. The time away from home required other people to step in and help. Marine life is demanding, and it requires a great deal of commitment. I have included my child in Marine life, and have done so for years.
What is the best thing about being a Marine?
The best thing about being a Marine is knowing that I am making a difference. By supporting the larger mission of the American armed forces, I am making a difference for the country. Not everybody can say that.
What advice do you have for Black women who are considering joining the Marines?
Do a lot of research, and ask a lot of questions. Make sure that you would be a good fit for the Marine Corps, and that the Marine Corps will be a good fit for you. Plan for the end, come in with a set goal, and set yourself up for success.
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