15 Mar kara gormont.
anywhere USA, air force BRAT. | healthcare administrator. daughter. sister. friend. wife.
mother. officer. mentor. wingman. warrior. airman.
I am borderline obsessed with life in the military. Perhaps this preoccupation is a result of our country being at war for over 13 consecutive years, and it doesn’t feel like there is an end in sight. Or maybe it’s due to conversations held with a few superior servicemen who have become family through Mr. Stern. My husband holds his military friends in the highest regard—like they were his own brothers. As I have gotten to know them over the years, I better understand this well-deserved pedestal. Their chosen paths are fascinating and their sheer passion to protect our country is unparalleled.
Of course, the women in the military are equally—if not more—captivating.
The women in the United States military are warriors and leaders. While they have not always been welcomed in the world of combat, they have always played critical roles in defending our country. These amazing women had to fight for the right to protect our freedom—a fact future generations will find unbelievable. And I think it is safe to say that they will continue to climb the ranks of leadership in increased numbers. They are capable. They are fearless. They are thoughtful. However, the Air Force is more than just flying planes. Keeping our aviators healthy and fit for combat is essential. Meet Kara Gormont, a Healthcare Administrator playing a major role in United States Air Force.
How did you choose the life you lead and was it a conscious decision?
When I was younger I thought that every decision point there was a right or a wrong answer. I’m not sure that is true. I think that I would likely have a similar amount of success even if I made different choices along the way. I believe success is about hard work and determination, and ultimately, contentment with the decisions that you made. At each point in your life as you are making a choice in which direction to go, you need to have faith in yourself and what is best for you.
How did you choose your career?
I wanted to be a Healthcare Administrator when I went to college. My mother refused to pay for me to be in administration if I didn’t first have clinical experience. So, I went to nursing school, and then later got my Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Before I went back for my MHA, I did briefly think about becoming a Pediatric Oncologist. I actually had to go to career counseling to finally decide that the MHA was the right course for me. I love what I do now, so I believe that was the right decision. I chose to be in the Air Force for personal and professional reasons. I love what I do, and I love the way the Air Force invests in their Medical Service Corps officers to provide learning and growth experiences that maximize talent and abilities.
What has been your greatest obstacle in life and how do/did you navigate it?
This was the hardest question for me to answer. I think life is full of daily challenges, but that is the truth for everyone. I guess I would have to say that I can be my own biggest obstacle, by not staying true to my own goals.
How do you bring courage to a challenging situation?
I establish my vision of what I want the outcome to be first. Then I bring others in that can help me achieve that goal; either through motivating me to succeed, or by pulling a team together to plan and execute complex and challenging projects.
What dreams and/or goals have inspired your success?
My success is inspired by a need to be kind, to have work that is purposeful and meaningful, to impact the lives of others, and to give and give and give from my experiences and good fortune. I believe in bringing others into my successes. Watching others succeed beyond anything that I could be capable of is my selfish pleasure.
How do you overcome fear?
Press on; before you know it, what you were afraid of has already become part of your past experiences and successes.
Was there a fork in the road that distinctly determined your lifestyle and/ or career?
Yes! There were many times when the path could lead one way or the other. The path was more like a maze with many possible outcomes. In the end, I believe I could have created success through many paths. I believe there is no one distinctive path. Many choices lead you down different experiences. It is what you do with those experiences that matter. Some examples of decision points in my life…choosing to major in genetic engineering or nursing; choosing to go in to the Air Force; choosing to get out of the Air Force so my husband could go to school; choosing to go back in the Air Force after he was done; choosing to go back in as a nurse or a healthcare administrator. Obviously these are only just a few. I always tell my children that life is full of everyday choices, chose wisely because before you know it those everyday choices shape your life, for good or bad.
What does failure/ or success look like to you?
Failure is when I am boastful or prideful. I hate it when I do that! Success is when I see those around me doing AMAZING things. Working with a team that is full of talent, and completely in sync brings me so much joy. When those around me are successful I am my happiest.
If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?
There are the obvious things like solve world hunger and establish world peace. But, the one thing that I believe which would change the world the most would be to spread tolerance and acceptance of the differences within others. So many people want to control what they don’t understand, forcing others to be, act, look like them. If we could all just learn to tolerate, accept, and love I believe that we would have a more beautiful world.
Is there such a thing as work-life balance?
I think this comes with maturity. I do not believe that you can have it all, all of the time. Every day the priorities shift, so you really just get better determining what the priority is for that day, or even period of time in your life. You really need to be able to perceive what you most need to concentrate on, your spouse, your kid’s sports competition, cleaning your house, deadlines at work, your co-worker, or your boss. In determining where I need to be when I have conflicting priorities, I use a tool that someone taught me. I ask myself, “Does it matter if I am there? Does it matter to others if I am there? Will I get the chance again?” If the answer is yes to any/all of those things then I know it is important for me to be there.
Do you ever feel guilty? If yes… what for?
I feel guilty when I prioritize incorrectly or inappropriately and over extend myself resulting in disappointment to others.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
The most embarrassing thing I did was when I was a nursing student. I was drawing up a medicine that was pink in a syringe in the nurse’s station. There were seasoned nurses all around the station cleaning up everything to prepare for their big Joint Commission inspection. Their boss was there directing cleaning, and everyone was very tense. I pointed the syringe upward, and tapped it slightly to bring the air bubbles to the top. My finger slipped and I squirted that pink stuff all over the ceiling and it dripped down everywhere! I was mortified. But, looking back that is hilarious! As you can see, I learned a long time ago not to take myself too seriously. If I still got embarrassed for all of the stupid things I do/did, I would be paralyzed by fear.
What gets you through a rough day?
Wine and running. Not in that order.
What qualities do you look for in friends?
In a friend, I look for someone who laughs easily and loves deeply without judgment or jealousy. My best friend, Gina is my barometer for what a friend should be. We have been friends for 33 years!
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self not to judge myself (or others) harshly. Life is precious, and every step of the journey is a blessing. I would tell myself that the people that matter to me at “the moment” are placing footprints on my heart, and they will always be there. Cherish each one as a blessing in your journey, and realize that sometimes the ones that are the most precious leave you the fastest. Don’t squander those bonds through petty fights, thoughts, or deeds.
What would you do, if you knew you could not fail?
I think the first thing that comes to mind is run a marathon. I have had a few false start training attempts that hold me back from training.
What is the most difficult thing you have ever done?
Hands-down the most difficult thing I have ever done was deploying and leaving my family for a year. The day that I left them was torture. Both of my girls were going through a lot, and I knew that without my support they would have to shoulder a lot more responsibility on their own. Even though they were teenagers, it was not what I wanted for them, and it was a very hard year for all of us.
If you had to grab 2 items out of your closet before it caught on fire, what would you save from the burning flames?
My uniform and my combat boots…there isn’t much else in there.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Without a doubt, my greatest accomplishment is my two beautiful girls. They are both so strong, and sure of whom they are. They are compassionate, honest, strong, flexible, and tolerant. They have a strong sense of right and wrong, and they are always able to do things that I cannot imagine being able to do at the same age. My oldest daughter has lived over 5000 miles away from me since she was 16 years old. My youngest daughter attended 7 schools in 5 years. With every move she networked a web of friendships almost effortlessly. They will both grow up to be amazing women. I can’t wait to watch their journey.
What is your best advice on how to live a graceful life?
Grace is earned through gifting yourself to others, without harming your own sense of self. Understand where others are coming from, and help grow them as they walk through their journey.
j. jane side notes:
Kara studied at the Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! (yes, it is noteworthy.)
A special thank you to Mr. Bill Head. I appreciate your leadership and friendship and I am grateful for the introduction to Ms. Gormont. You were right, she is pretty amazing.