Passion + Performance + People = The Recipe of a Top Recruiter

US Navy | Aug. 19, 2022

By Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Williamson, Commander, Navy Recruiting Command

WICHITA, KS.: You can take the girl out of Missouri, but you can’t take Missouri out of the girl. Growing up in the small town of Liberty, Missouri, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Alexandria Douglas, assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Mid America, Navy Recruiting Station Wichita-East, Kansas, was raised with the values of hard work, treating people with respect, and being passionate about what she believes in.

These values easily translated over into the Navy when she was ready to leave home and forge her own journey.

“There are a couple of different reasons why I joined the Navy, but I would say one of my main things was because I wanted to embark on a great adventure,” said Douglas. “It sounds cliché, but I felt like I had more to offer. I had several jobs: from a boring desk job to being a farmhand to decorating cakes. After a while, I felt capped out. I wanted to be more successful and have the opportunity to move up and progress.”

And progress she did. After graduating from Navy boot camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Great Lakes, Illinois, Douglas reported to her first duty station at Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) Three. The mission of MSRONs across the Navy is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports, and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways against enemies, and when commanded, conduct offensive combat operations. During her tenure, Douglas stood out from amongst her peers because she threw every ounce of her being at every task.

“I'm not afraid to do something that I don't know how to do, and at MSRON, it’s a high learning curve,” said Douglas. “A big part of my personality and work ethic is that I’ll throw myself at something and grind on it until I figure out how to do it. I think I’ve got a pretty even keel so it’s easy for me to do really anything that is asked of me, so I think it’s what’s made me successful in the Navy.”

While with MSRON-3, the Midwesterner deployed three times to the Middle Eastern part of the world where she saw some amazing things.

“I realized that I could go out and see really cool stuff in the Navy,” said Douglas. “I felt like the Navy could give me a good career path. On top of that, one of my main goals was traveling and seeing the world because I grew up in a small town in Missouri and hadn’t really been anywhere outside the state. I wanted to see more of the world and the Navy does it better than everybody else.”

Aside from seeing different parts of the world and learning about vast cultures, Douglas learned something about herself thanks to the Navy.

“I think the Navy has helped me grow as a person,” said Douglas. “Before the Navy, I was kind of aimless. I tried a bunch of different careers but never really felt like I found something that fit. With the Navy, I’ve found something that makes me really happy. It feels like I’ve never worked a day in my life because of how much I’ve enjoyed it.”

Douglas has enjoyed the Navy so much so that she often times reminisces to her first days at RTC.

“I think back to the first time I put my uniform on in boot camp, and it’s nerdy but, I liked what I saw in the mirror,” said Douglas. “I still like what I see every single day I put my uniform on.”

When the time came for Douglas to choose orders after MSRON-3, Douglas decided to trade in her camouflage and bulletproof vest for her service uniform and dress whites at a recruiting command. A command that was close to home and her relatives – NTAG Mid America.

“My grandparents are from Wichita so when I saw that that was available, I was happy that I would be able to visit them whenever I want,” said Douglas. “Plus, Wichita is only a three hour drive away from my parents, so I’m still able to see them on a regular basis.”

Aside from the obvious family advantages, Douglas chose to come back to the Midwest to share her experiences and stories with kids whose shoes she used to be in.

“I wanted to come and talk to kids that grew up the way that I did and tell them that there's more out there than just small town USA,” said Douglas. “After talking with them, I feel like they feel inspired; that they can go out and do really incredible things. They just have to want it bad enough and go make it happen.”

Of course, recruiting in the Midwest comes with its drawbacks. Not everyone is so receptive to Douglas’ Navy message for a variety of reasons.

“Being in an Air Force town is really difficult for the recruiting market,” said Douglas. “We're literally as far away from the ocean as you could possibly get being in the middle of the country. So, it’s a challenge to recruit for sure.”

But despite those reasons, Douglas doesn’t see it as a roadblock. She sees it as an opportunity.

“I embrace the challenges of recruiting in the Midwest,” said Douglas. “Even if somebody doesn’t join, I want to be able to give them a better view of what we are as a whole.”

Douglas also believes that even though the Navy isn’t for everyone, it’s still a viable path to pursue for some who want another option outside of college after high school.

“I didn’t go to college right out of high school, and at the time, it felt like I didn’t fit in with the rest of society,” said Douglas. “But I realized that’s not the only path after high school. There are plenty of other options and the military is one of them. So, when someone does end up joining the Navy because they are excited about all the opportunities it can offer them, that’s really cool to see. That’s honestly my favorite thing about being a recruiter – seeing kids get excited about the thing that I love.”

Her adoration for the Navy grows exponentially when she sees other women deciding to join the ranks of the most powerful Navy in the world.

“I’ve got a soft spot for young ladies who want to join,” said Douglas. “As a woman in the military, we’re still a minority. So, I feel proud every time I see a young lady who wants to follow in my footsteps. On top of that, I just really like helping people take their next step in life and finding their purpose like I did.”

Douglas was also able to find more than just her purpose since being on recruiting duty. She’s also been able to grow both personally and professionally within a short span of time.

“Since I’ve been recruiting, I’ve been able to buy my first house and get a dog for the first time since I was a kid, so that’s pretty awesome,” said Douglas. “I’m a top recruiter at the command, and I was the number one recruiter in the nation for July. I was the recruiter of the month for the last two months, the recruiter of the quarter, and the command’s Junior Sailor of the Quarter. I’ve been able to accomplish this all within my first six months of recruiting.”

But her incredible performance doesn’t stop there for Douglas. She plans to grow even further at NTAG Mid America... and beyond.

“I have a lot of goals and plans I want to achieve,” said Douglas. “I want to get a six shooter award, which is when I write six contracts in a month. I want to be the command’s Rookie Recruiter of the Year and make first class while I’m here. Further on down the road, I’d like to make chief and then be a chief warrant officer in the MSRON community.”

Douglas encompasses everything needed to be a top recruiter. A passion for the Navy, a hard-charging performer, and the ability to not only talk to people about the Navy, but to sell it. These qualities of hers are further encapsulated by her divisional leading petty officer, Navy Counselor 1st Class Matthew Taylor.

“Douglas is able to relate to a mass audience on a genuine personal level,” said Taylor. “To be able to individually touch every person in the room without talking to each person individually, is truly a remarkable gift. She has had the best return on investment of people committing to join the Navy. Her people skills, performance of her duties, and passion are unmatched.”

NTAG Mid America, part of Navy Recruiting Command (NRC), recruits the next generation of Navy Sailors throughout areas encompassing Missouri, Kansas, central and southern Illinois, and a portion of Kentucky.

NRC consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, and 26 NTAGs that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.