Dull Moments Rare, Says Protocol Specialist

FORT LEE, Va. (July 16, 2009) – From the fast pace world of our nation’s capitol to the historic world of Petersburg and the Tri-cities, LaDonna Bowen seems to be a chameleon who can adapt to any given situation. She and her team of protocol specialists with the Combined Arms Support Command’s Sustainment Center of Excellence, help to plan and coordinate every single major event on Fort Lee. With the current BRAC transformation of the post, she said she is never without something to do. Below Bowen discusses her job and what motivates her for a Civilian Salute.

How long have you worked at Fort Lee?

Since February 2007.

What is your job title?

Chief of Executive Operations.

What is it exactly that you do?

I manage a team of military and civilian protocol specialists who provide planning, coordination, and direct support to the CASCOM commanding general for various events to include: social events, conferences, ceremonial events, as well as visits to the installation by foreign and military distinguished visitors.

What’s the best part about your job?

Aside from the fact that I get to serve and support some of our nation’s most senior leaders, this position presents a new set of challenges daily.

What’s the most challenging part about your job?

The most challenging part of my job is that the margin for allowable and anticipated error is about zero. It certainly keeps the job interesting.

Before you worked at Fort Lee, where did you work?

I was the director of public affairs and protocol, 79th Medical Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. I worked with individuals from Capitol Hill, the military medical community and other defense department agencies relative to wounded-warrior care.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/ skills?

I wouldn’t say that I have any interesting hobbies; I enjoy cooking and volunteering, and recently I purchased a historic home in Petersburg that I’m working on.

Where do you volunteer?

I am an active board member of the Southside area chapter of the American Red Cross, an advisory board member for Petersburg W.O.R.K.S., where I provide mentoring and career-planning information to local middle school students, and I also serve as a life member of both the Disabled Veterans Association and the American Legion.

Are you a mentor for anyone, or children?

Yes, I currently serve as a mentor of a ninth grader at Petersburg High School, and of course, I mentor my 26 nieces & nephews.

Do you have Family?

I’m single with no children and was raised with the understanding and belief that there is nothing more rewarding in life than serving the needs of others. I am the fourth generation in a line of public servants. My mom is a retired police officer and my dad was a retired navy chief.