As I look back at my short career here at Boeing, I feel it has been an amazing journey to this point. There have been some challenges both up and down, but I have learned so much that has truly shaped the leader I am today.
Before I began my career at Boeing I was a union carpenter/welder, but over time the physicality and demands of the trade began to take a toll on my body. So I quickly needed a career change, but what else could I possibly do? I had no other skill or training. As a kid and coming from a football family, I had dreams of playing professional football. The rules of the game and what it allowed us to do (legally) -- it just fit our personality and culture. Samoan people like me are known to be big, strong and very competitive -- but soft-spoken, with very big hearts. Early on, I dropped out of college due to my immaturity and indecisiveness in not knowing what I wanted to do in life. That also ended my football dreams.
I was hired by Boeing in January 2013. It began as sort of a "feeling out" process for what I wanted to do here. I started as a composite fabricator and learned other areas as well. Boeing has also allowed me to go back to school to finally receive the college degree I never completed. I chose to look into management, and slowly doors have opened up along the way. One of the bright spots in my career was winning the Bert Howard Memorial Award in 2015. It's an award given to a leader who best displays the enthusiastic promotion of diversity in the workplace.
I am truly thankful and grateful for the opportunity to work for Boeing, but most importantly, to work with people and help them see their potential. When you're a leader, your team must know that you care. It's all the same in life and with our children. They watch and mimic what we do, so it is imperative that as leaders we always put them first and always do the right thing. Always be mindful of others we work with. It was never about me but about those I work with every day. But let me tell you, it wasn't always easy!
We all know we are here to deliver the best product possible, but along the way, let's make an impact on our teammates with a simple smile or handshake. I may never be a millionaire or own a lavish home with a swimming pool, but I promise you all those things mean nothing to me if I lose the person I am while pursuing my goals. My reputation, my integrity, my friendships and the way my family and those closest to me perceive me will always be my priority. And when it's all said and done, the quality of that will always be my ultimate wealth. My faith, family and culture will always be the most important things to me. Boeing, thank you for the wonderful opportunities.