FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 8, 2012) -- A Fort Lee officer at Kenner Clinic has received a U.S. Army Medical Command award for “outstanding leadership, professionalism and customer service.”
Maj. LaMisa Shaw, Kenner Army Health Clinic Human Resources Division chief, earned the Lieutenant Colonel Karen Wagner Leadership Award from the U.S. Army Medical Command. Shaw is one of three Army Medical Service Corps human resources managers who received the prestigious award. (Photo by Kimberly K. Fritz)
Maj. LaMisa Shaw, chief of the KAHC Human Resources Division, earned the Lieutenant Colonel Karen Wagner Leadership Award for the active duty component in recognition of her work during the past year. MEDCOM presented similar awards to a pair of officers representing the Army Reserve and National Guard.
The leadership award was named for an Army officer killed during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Presented annually, it recognizes the individuals who demonstrate the ideals for which Wagner stood, said Col. Patricia Darnauer, MEDCOM’s assistant chief of staff for human resources. Among those traits are leadership, technical competence, professionalism and customer service.
Shaw said it is humbling to receive the award, and she’s appreciative of the fact that her work is being noticed.
“I thought I was excelling, but I am often my own worst critic,” she said. “I felt like I was putting forth a lot of effort and doing decent work, maybe a little above average but not to this magnitude.”
Shaw was nominated for the award by her supervisor Lt. Col. Eric E. Poulsen, KAHC deputy commander for administration, and the recommendation was endorsed by Col. Joseph S. Pina, clinic commander.
“Maj. Shaw has led our HRD brilliantly,” said Poulsen. “This has been a historical period for Fort Lee, marking the culmination of incredible growth and transformation in support of BRAC.”
During the realignment, Fort Lee’s population nearly doubled and it became one of the largest military installations, in terms of student output, which meant a larger patient population for the Fort Lee clinics. To accommodate the growth, two major military construction projects were completed – the consolidated Troop Medical Clinic on the all new Ordnance Campus and the complete renovation of Bull Dental Clinic – between September and December 2011, Poulsen said.
“In order to meet this mission growth, the facility heavily depended on the engagement and capabilities of Shaw and her team, and they’ve exceeded our expectations,” he added.
Her duties have her working with both military and civilian personnel, and the gamut of responsibilities include award recommendations, performance evaluations and special actions. She also serves as the acting inspector general for Kenner.
Because all awards pass through Shaw’s inbox, she knew she’d been nominated and that made her reflect on the reason for the award, she said.
“It made me think about 9/11, and it took me back to who Wagner was and why this award is named for her,” Shaw said. “I knew she was an outstanding leader first.”
Shaw also noted that a grade school near her home in Texas was named in Wagner’s honor, which was the first time she had heard of the Army officer’s contributions and sacrifice.
“Her work was phenomenal and someone thought my work was worthy of her award – that’s a lot to carry,” she said. “It’s heavy because of what Wagner stood for and the person she was. I asked myself, do I exude the same qualities she did, and can I show the same leadership traits she did now and in the future?”
Pina seemed to think so as he made note of how Shaw’s efforts always benefit the clinic and, more importantly, its staff.
“She has rejuvenated personnel operations with new and creative practices that have improved staffing, development, morale and retention within the organization,” he said.
Shaw facilitated the implementation of an alternate work schedule program and a tele-work system for clinic staff members.
“These two programs have transformed the facility, adding flexibility,” Pina noted.
Having experienced many different career fields during her 18 years of military service, Shaw said she’s convinced that medical HR is the right place for her. She spent six years as an enlisted Soldier in the Army Reserve as a technical engineer and was commissioned as an Engineer Branch officer before finding her niche.
While she’s unsure of what the future holds for her, Shaw said she wants to continue on her current path.
“I’d like to continue my career in HR,” she said, “but at a staff level, maybe with Medical Command, and maybe help with policies in the future.”
Fort Lee Traveller