NAWL Member and GCI11 Co-Chair Mimi B. MacDonald writes, "Becky Halstead, the first woman in West Point history to graduate and achieve a promotion to general officer and the first woman in United States history to serve as a commanding general in combat, thoroughly impressed the audience at the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Tenth Annual General Counsel Institute (“GCI 10’) that was held on November 6th – 7th at the InterContinental Times Square in New York City. Halstead set forth the three “Cs” of leadership – calm in chaos, courage, and commitment – and explained that leadership is a choice. Through her leadership experience, Halstead discovered the first person that you must lead is you. This led her to author her internationally-renowned book 24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is You, a path of lessons in self-leadership that transcend age, gender, race, and profession.
Halstead began her presentation by examining a situation where she felt that she failed as a leader – an examination many leaders would not publically undertake. Specifically, on one occasion while in Balad, Halstead received a telephone call at approximately one o’clock in the morning. It was a chaplain. She advised Halstead that one of her soldiers was at the hospital as a result of his vehicle being hit by an IED that had ball bearings in it, and that some of the ball bearings lodged in the soldier’s brain. The chaplain further advised Halstead that the solider may not make it. She explained that she was at the hospital with the doctors, the soldier was in a coma, and the doctors were trying to stabilize the soldier for a flight to Germany – but that the prognosis was not good. Halstead asked a seemingly simple question: “Chaplain, should I come over?” The chaplain responded: “No, ma’am. I am here and will monitor the situation through the night and keep you posted. He is in a coma and wouldn’t even know you are here. There’s nothing you can do. Get some sleep.”