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NEWS | May 29, 2024

R&R NCO talks leadership, opportunity and guiding the next generation

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Sgt. 1st Class Nestor Cordova wasn’t yet serving in the military when someone first thanked him for his service. It was 2011, and he was attending Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and enrolled in the ROTC program there, which required him to sometimes wear a military uniform. 

“After that I decided to do more and enlisted into the Virginia Army National Guard,” Cordova said, explaining that he enlisted as a 88M Motor Transport Operator due to the career field’s short training requirements. 

As he’s moved through the ranks, Cordova has learned a few lessons about leadership. He serves today as an on-campus recruiter at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he helps young people learn about the opportunities available in the Virginia Army National Guard. 

“Helping subordinates reach their goals is my favorite part of serving in the military,” Cordova said. 

With a family hailing from the Philippines and a cultural background “centered around family,” Cordova acknowledged that his Filipino heritage has impacted the decisions he’s made both in his life and over the course of his career. He said that understanding the backgrounds of others can help leaders be more effective. 

“There is value in observing diversity,” Cordova said. “You can see what motivates a person if you know more about their background and how they make decisions.” 

Understanding motivators allows a leader to better understand and get to know their subordinates which, Cordova said, “is a big part of being a leader.” 

For anyone considering the military, Cordova said step on is making sure you have a plan. 

“See what you want to do in five years, then see how the military can help you achieve that,” he said.  

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