Performance Improvement Spotlight: SGM James GradyIn anticipation of the 2016 Enlisted Association of the National Guard of Georgia (EANGGA) Annual State Conference in June, we're holding a professional branding event to help area residents, enlisted personnel and our students brush up on networking, resume writing and using social media in the job hunt.

Our featured speaker is the president of EANGGA, US Army Sergeant Major James W. Grady ... he is also a graduate of Grantham's Performance Improvement program.

Recently I exchanged emails  with SGM Grady about his service, his responsibilities with EANGGA and his career plans for his performance improvement degree. Below is a selection from our exchange:

Q: What led you to a military career?
A: I  come from a military family. My mother is a retired Sergeant Major and my father is a Vietnam Veteran.

Q: What can you tell me about your current position in the military?
A: I currently serve as the Joint Staff Sergeant Major. The Joint Staff is the branch of the Georgia Guard (Army & Air) that works directly with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during times of natural and man-made disasters.

Q: What about your position with EANGGA? 
A: I am the current president of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of Georgia (EANGGA). The National Guard Association of Georgia and EANGGA are two different agencies that have the same mission. NGAGA is the Officer Side; EANGGA is the Enlisted Side. NGAUS and EANGUS are our national offices.

Q: Why did you decide to go back to school and earn your college degree?
A: It was important for me to be on the same education level as my officer counterparts while I was in the military and I realized that I would not be in the military forever.  I needed to be prepared for life and to be competitive in the workforce after my career was over. Earning my degree meant that I would have a good chance of landing a second career once I retire in June of 2017

Q: What was your biggest challenge in going back to school? 
A: Being able to balance work , family and school.

Q: How did you hear about Grantham?
A: I learned about Grantham from a recruiter at another school, Ashford. They did not offer the same degree program that I needed and my recruiter from Ashford told me to look into Grantham.

Q: How did you pay for school? 
A: I paid for school using tuition assistance (TA). The affordability factor and flexibility definitely played into my decision.

Q: Have your referred anyone to Grantham?
A: Yes, I have referred several people to Grantham. Many of them went on to become students. One is pursuing a degree like mine and I serve as her mentor.

Q: What is your degree from GU and are you using your degree in your job? 
A: My degree is a Master of Science in Performance Improvement with Distinction (4.0 GPA). If it had not been for my degree, I would not currently be a Sergeant Major.

Q: What are your plans for a post-military service career?
A: I am planning on working for GEMA. My military experience and degree will allow me to come in at the management level.

Q: What would you tell students now enrolled at Grantham?
A: Your degree is not just for you. While it can help you get a better job and higher positions, it is also a motivational tool for others. The military is not a lifelong career and it is better to plan for the future rather than hoping everything works out on its own. The years that you are committing now will make life so much easier in the long run.

Attention Residents of Stone Mountain, Georgia!

Mark your calendars for June 2, 2016, 6:00-8:30 p.m. for Professional Branding that Gets You Noticed. This free, career-boosting session at the Wade Walker Park Family YMCA will give you insight and advice on how to boost your personal professional brand through social media, networking and resume writing. Reserve your seat now at