HTM On The Line with BRYANT HAWKINS SR.

From Soldier to Scholar: Inspiring Leadership and Learning with Dr. Brian M. Clark

November 07, 2023 Bryant Hawkins Sr.
From Soldier to Scholar: Inspiring Leadership and Learning with Dr. Brian M. Clark
HTM On The Line with BRYANT HAWKINS SR.
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HTM On The Line with BRYANT HAWKINS SR.
From Soldier to Scholar: Inspiring Leadership and Learning with Dr. Brian M. Clark
Nov 07, 2023
Bryant Hawkins Sr.

What does it take to transition from a two-decade military career to a leadership role in higher education? Our highly respected guest, Dr. Brian M. Clark, offers a candid look into this journey, illuminating the resilience and determination it took to navigate this transition. Dr. Brian Clark reveals how his military-honed leadership skills and experiences have not only been instrumental in his current role as the Director of Education at the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology (CBET) but also in bringing out the best from his team.

This episode also delves into the essentials of the RBLP Resilience Building Leadership Program, a groundbreaking certification program making ripples in the healthcare industry. Dr. Clark guides us through the program's seven-week course, the three levels of certification, and the career-defining credentials one can obtain. We also discuss the program's rising popularity and its ongoing impact on the healthcare sector. Finally, we touch on the often-overlooked aspect of leadership - compassion and understanding in our interactions with others. Join us for an episode brimming with personal experiences, professional advice, and an exploration of a transformative leadership program. Prepare to be inspired!

This podcast is sponsored by The College  of  Biomedical Equipment Technology. You can find out more information about this outstanding institution at CBET.EDU.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What does it take to transition from a two-decade military career to a leadership role in higher education? Our highly respected guest, Dr. Brian M. Clark, offers a candid look into this journey, illuminating the resilience and determination it took to navigate this transition. Dr. Brian Clark reveals how his military-honed leadership skills and experiences have not only been instrumental in his current role as the Director of Education at the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology (CBET) but also in bringing out the best from his team.

This episode also delves into the essentials of the RBLP Resilience Building Leadership Program, a groundbreaking certification program making ripples in the healthcare industry. Dr. Clark guides us through the program's seven-week course, the three levels of certification, and the career-defining credentials one can obtain. We also discuss the program's rising popularity and its ongoing impact on the healthcare sector. Finally, we touch on the often-overlooked aspect of leadership - compassion and understanding in our interactions with others. Join us for an episode brimming with personal experiences, professional advice, and an exploration of a transformative leadership program. Prepare to be inspired!

This podcast is sponsored by The College  of  Biomedical Equipment Technology. You can find out more information about this outstanding institution at CBET.EDU.

Support the Show.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Welcome to another enlightening episode of HTM on the Line podcast, the podcast that is for HTM by HTM. I'm your host, bryant Hawkins Sr. What does it take to transition from a two-decade military career to a leadership role in higher education? Our highly respected guest, dr Brian M Clark, offers a candid look into this journey, illuminating the resilience and determination it took to navigate this transition. Dr Clark reveals how his military-homed leadership skills and experiences have not only been instrumental in his current role as the director of education at the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology, but also in bringing out the best from his team.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

This episode also delves into the essentials of the RBLP Resilience Building Leadership Program, a groundbreaking certification program making ripples in the healthcare industry. Dr Clark guides us through the program's seven-week course, the three levels of certification and the career-defining credentials one can obtain. We also discuss the program's rising popularity and its ongoing impact on the healthcare sector. Finally, we touch on the often overlooked aspect of leadership, compassion and understanding in our interactions with others. Join us for an episode brimming with personal experiences, professional advice and an exploration of a transformative leadership program prepared to be inspired. Brian, welcome to HTM on the line. I'm so glad to have you on my show, I guess how you doing tonight sir.

Dr. Brian Clark:

I'm doing great, Brian. Appreciate you having me.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Before we get started, can you please tell our listeners a bit about yourself and your background?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Sure, I'm the director of education at the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology, also known as CBET. I actually just retired from 20 years active duty service as a chief medical sergeant in the Air Force. My specialty was actually in munitions, so building, testing, maintaining bombs and missiles. Now I'm in higher education right. I've been teaching and building curriculum for college accredited courses since 2010. I've been with CBET for about four and a half years now as an adjunct professor and curriculum developer and now, of course, the director of education, and since 2010, I've kind of knew that education development was my passion, so ended up being something that I started to do almost as a hobby, kind of like a side hustle, if you will, for my own self-fulfillment, and then now it's kind of turned into my next career. So I look forward to seeing where this takes me.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

So you retired from the military. You look kind of young to be retiring man.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Today is actually my 40th birthday today and yeah, I'm actually on terminal leave, so technically I'm not retired for a couple more months. But yeah, it's kind of new to me growing some facial hair, picking the clothes out that I want. It's weird. But yeah, 40 today.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Wow. So how is it adjusting to that civilian life going?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Honestly, I don't know yet. I'm still trying to figure it out. To be completely honest, it's one of those things where I've been in that military mindset, military mentality for over 20 years. So trying to get out of that is just a learning curve, trying to get onto a new type of routine, but I'm enjoying it so far. I look forward to the freedoms that I didn't even know I was missing out on, so it's been good.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

How do you balance your new professional life with your personal life? I know, being in the military, everything probably was structured, so how do you go about balancing life now that you're on this new side of things?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Yeah, I'm still trying to figure it out. To be completely honest, you want to help me out, that Kind of give me some tips. But yeah, like I said earlier, it's just a change in complete lifestyle, honestly, because I can select where I want to live. Like I said, simple things like if I don't want to shave today, I don't have to, or I pick out the clothes, I can take time to see and do things with my kids that I normally wouldn't have had that opportunity in the past. I was deployed and separated from my family a lot, I think the last eight years the total of four years I was gone, so it's a lot, and so now I don't have to worry about missing them anymore. So I definitely look forward to that.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Tell us about your journey from Starting in the military to your role as a director of education at CBET.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Yeah. So in 2010, I was lucky enough to be selected to be an instructor for our munitions technical training and so for two years I was teaching brand new airmen coming in how to, you know, build and spec, maintain weapons and I really found a lot of self satisfaction from that and I realized, hey, this is my passion, I want to do this when I am eventually done with the military. I ended up doing that job for four years total, kind of moved through some different positions, but then I got pulled back to my normal career fields. Luckily, at the toward the end of my career, I got an opportunity to be a director for a leadership Academy for the Air Force and that kind of got me back in the education realm, which I was. I was thriving, I loved it and I was like, hey, at this point I probably need to start continuing my education. At that point I started my, my doctorate in education, and pushed through for that.

Dr. Brian Clark:

The last couple of years I did get pulled back to my career field, the last couple of assignments and but I still was teaching with CBET on the side and I kind of knew that that there was going to be potential opportunities for me when I did finish and so I completed my doctorate about a year, about two years prior, two years ago, and it lined up for a position with CBET they. They were happy to bring me on in a full time role like this, and here I am. So, although I don't have a specific background as a BMET, I do have a lot of background in ISD, structural design, curriculum development. Obviously I have. I have tons of on the podium and virtual teaching experience that helps me in this role as well.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

So should I call you Dr Brian Clark? I apologize by not making that mention when I first introduced you.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Brian, we're past that. It is Brian.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Now, how do the leadership skills you probably have acquired over the years in the military Can apply to your new role as a director of education?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Well, I think leading people is leading people, whether it's the military or not. I think as a leader, you got to be credible, approachable, authentic and treat people with dignity and respect. And I think if you do that and you find the talents that other people have, no matter what they are, and you allow them to showcase those, showcase those talents and give them a little bit of freedom and autonomy to do things and sometimes learn the hard way Maybe they make some mistakes, that's OK, but if you do that, you will be surprised at what people will will come up with and do, and and and begin to enjoy, really enjoy being at work, which is is a challenge in itself. So I think if you do all those things, you can be successful, regardless of what industry you're in just taking care of people and the people take care of business.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

What type of advice can you give to veterans who are transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Sure. Well, first off, it's never too early to start networking. I read a statistic not too long ago that it said 85 to 90 percent of new hires were directly done through some sort of networking. So either friend of a friend, possibly even like a LinkedIn connection, something like that, that means only 10 to 15 percent, or people come in with a straight resume, and so you're putting yourself at a disadvantage if you are not making those networking connections early and showcasing your abilities and what you bring to a team not only technical skills, but those soft skills that that people really want to have. You know, people that are coachable and loyal and are good members of the team.

Dr. Brian Clark:

If you can do that and you can kind of make those connections, people will hook you up. And not only that, but there are so many different agencies that are designed specifically to help veterans get into the civilian workforce. So if you're not utilizing those Veterati is one example, Using corporate partnerships, that is another those are just too many. But if you're not doing that, then then you you are setting yourself up for for a harder transition than it needs to be you said that you are the new director of education for CBAT, which stands for the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Now, this is an online school, correct?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Yes, we're completely online, which is you know it's. It's unique for what we do, but the great thing about all online schools is you have a lot of freedom and flexibility. So if you're already working full time or you don't have exact schedule that is going to line up with a brick and mortar type school, this is a great option, and there's a lot of different programs that we have that that can really help people get their foot forward into a HTM field.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

What advice could you possibly give to an educator who may be looking to transition from a traditional teaching to online teaching?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Unless you just started teaching. I would say that most educators in some capacity got a taste of decent learning due to COVID, so you probably can kind of anticipate what to expect for the most part. However, yes, the schedule sounds good. You get some more flexibility, but there are some challenges because you have to understand that you are not making the same interpersonal connections that you are in a classroom setting, so you need to be able to do that in a virtual setting which takes deliberate action. You have to really make sure that you are engaging with the students, probably more than you would have to if you had them in the classroom themselves, and some people really like the flexibility of working from home and teaching from their office. Some people don't like that because there's too many distractions, they don't get the interpersonal connections. So it's something that if you are thinking about getting into some kind of adjunct professor online teaching, you have to think about what is going to be best for you and where you are going to perform at your best.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Now can you possibly share maybe a case study or a successful story of students who have thrived in your online learning environment?

Dr. Brian Clark:

I've been with CBET for, like I said, four and a half years and because it's a smaller school, I've become familiar with pretty much all the students in some capacity, and because we have such a great employment placement and student services team shout out Lisa, leslie, leslie, olivia.

Dr. Brian Clark:

They're so awesome that that I get to see those journeys kind of come through and people reach their goals with that employment at the end of their education. So when I see all those come through, every single one of those is success story to me and it really kind of gets fulfillment. When we get to the end of the programs and we see the end, of course surveys and people are saying nothing but great things about their instructors, their experience with the school. And not only that, but the job placement side is. You know, you can't really beat it and I know I'm a little bit biased, but I think that we have the greatest job employment team that we that have any college what advice would you give parents?

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

because, by your school being online, most likely a lot of parents are not familiar with online schooling, even though COVID introduced the world to it for a year or two. What advice would you offer to parents navigating the world of online education?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Well, obviously, first you got to do some research, right, you got to look, look at schools that are going to meet your needs, and also it's important for students or parents to kind of take a look at society and see where where it's going and where the needs are going to be Right, and you want to make sure that you're getting an education you know you can your bang return on investment for something that's going to propel you to your goals, and there's a lot of great, great options.

Dr. Brian Clark:

But when you really think about some things that they're definitely not going anywhere. Healthcare is one of them, and it's only going to get more prevalent and there's going to be even more job opportunities, especially when we start looking into it type roles in healthcare settings. There there's all kinds of different things that people I think are not fully aware of their options, and so it's important to look through there and also kind of take a look at your financial goals to right way. How much school am I going to need to be able to get this certain income? Well, there's some really great options in the healthcare fields that I think people probably are not even aware of.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

The College of Biomedical Equipment, technologies and online school. Let's talk about graduates. How many graduates you think? Well, you don't think. You know how many graduates does CBET put out a year?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So it fluctuates because we have a lot of business to business partnerships, but we right now have pushed out somewhere around 700 students and I think we have currently 350 active enrolled at this moment. And keep in mind this is a relatively new college. We've only been around for about five years now so and it is increasing every term that we start. We are, our numbers are bumping up and we are the pushing out more BMETs to the field than any other college in the country. So that's saying a lot for a relatively new school. But we're trying to keep on the cutting edge of technology and ways to make sure that we're training our new BMETs to be able to go out to the field and, you know, really just show what they got right off the bat.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Wow, 700, that's amazing. The local Bob Mayer College here graduated three last year last spring three, let's kind of switch lanes a little bit. Min, you talked prior to getting on here about RBLP Resilience Building Leadership Program. What's that about?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So, if you look across all certifications, usually there's some kind of prep training, prep course, followed by certification, and so I'd like to say kind of clarify what certification is for. So certification is a professional certification is a credential that verifies someone's knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a specific job. All right, so you might be an IT certification or it might be a BMET certification. Well, in this case, it's a leadership certification, and so we recently teamed up with RBLP, who provides the certifications for resilience building leaders, and so what we do is we teach core competencies on resilient strategies, leadership skills, crisis management, emotional intelligence, adaptability, team building, high stress situations, things of that nature. And why is that important? Well, just like an IT certification or a BMET certification, you can prove that you are a resilience building leader with this certification. So it is provided in a seven week course, so each week has specific topics that are hit and at the end of the seven weeks you will receive a certificate saying you completed the training and that opens you up to get the certification.

Dr. Brian Clark:

The certification itself is actually through RBLP. There's three different levels One being for frontline supervisors, one for middle managers and then one for senior leaders. However, the training itself that we're going to provide. Our first cohort is gonna be starting on 8 January. But once you're done with the seven weeks and you do get the certificate that you completed it, you can enroll to take one of these certification exams. And the unique thing about these exams is it's not a written test, it is an oral exam, and so, dependent on the level of certification that you're going for will determine the content of that exam. Obviously, the higher level is gonna be a little bit more in depth than the frontline supervisor level.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Now, tying that all back in, why is that important? You know, if you look at the healthcare industry, you're talking about an industry that is full of high stress, high emotion, situations that are going to create stress, anxiety on a team, and so, as leaders, you have to be able to get your team to work together through to diversity and hopefully come out stronger on the other side. Now, if you don't do that, then that's where you're gonna start having problems with keeping teams and retaining talent, because people are going to not be able to feel like they can deal with the stresses because they don't have a boss or leader that really kind of helps them incessant for success.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

And so this is something that's separate from the CBET program, right, this is something that-.

Dr. Brian Clark:

This is something completely separate. Now you can do it simultaneously if you like, but this is gonna be an additional certification that you can get. It's another resume boost. It's another marker that you can put to say hey, not only am I BMET certified or whatever the case may be, you don't have to be BMET certified to take this certification but you take this and now you're saying hey, not only am I a certified BMET, but I also can lead some teams, so you can feel confident that you can hire me and I can run and really not only just manage, but really lead people to success.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

And you mentioned certification, so will this also come with some credentials behind your name, or-.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Absolutely Yep. So for RBLP, obviously, if you get the front line supervisor, you would get the RBLP after your name. If you are middle manager, it's RBLP-C, and then the senior leader is RBLP-T, and if you have the T, then you also can become a trainer. And that's one thing that a lot of people like to do is they like to get the certification. Now they have the credentials, but they can also go in and train people in their work centers on the ins and outs of how to be the lead and build resilient teams.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

I don't know if you can share this information or not, but could you possibly share some of what you may teach them, or is there some kind of way you can give a little snippet of what will go on in this program?

Dr. Brian Clark:

Sure. So each week you will get some pre-reading and there will be one live webinar a week, okay. So one nice thing about this training is you don't have to submit any assignments. It's really just the reading, preparation and then the webinar where you and the instructor if you go through CBET, it will be me go through all of the core competencies of that particular module.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Okay, so, for instance, in the beginning you're going to start talking about strategies. You know how do you develop and develop resilience in a face of adversity, right? So you talk about situations and you're going to talk about real life examples of how to be successful in a situation or not. And the nice thing about it is because there are other members in the class that you can kind of cross talk and learn from each other as well. It's not just a direct, it's not me telling you how to be a leader. It's discussing on hey, these are the situations that we've been in before. This is what's helped me get through these and how I've been successful. And it could be something along the lines of you know a crisis or how to pivot if you have a quick change of direction from your boss. You know those type of things are all going to be brought up throughout the course of that seven weeks.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

This class is really interesting. I never heard of a program like this. Is this a one of one, or has this been going on for years?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So RBLP has been picking up traction pretty quickly because it's becoming widely known. I think I looked at their LinkedIn the other day and they've got over 10,000 followers and last time I checked they have in between two and 3,000 people that have been certified at this point. So it's becoming recognizable by industry and, like I said, it is one of those things where you know you can say on your resume I'm a great leader or I'm a great communicator, but now you have credentials to not only say it but you can prove it right. So it's just another thing that you can do and you can add that will not only help you in the training and development piece but also could potentially help you in future promotion opportunities.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

I know you said supervisor director. So what type of leaders I mean? So you can say team leader, director, regional director, or is there a limit to what type of leaders can take this program, or is it just whoever's a leader?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So it, as mentioned before, there's the three buckets, if you will. So when we're looking at frontline supervisors, you're talking about new to supervising probably one to five people that they're directly reporting on, right. So just small teams. Maybe they don't have a lot of experience as a leader or supervisor yet, but this is a great opportunity to gain some skills early that can really benefit them later on as they grow and they get into those higher levels, with leading people who are leading teams, right. So it's really going to be the first level is for those people that are technical experts and they're just going in now they're going to be leading people to train them correctly and make sure that they're getting the job done.

Dr. Brian Clark:

And then, when you go up to middle managers, that's going to be a little bit more like your supervisors of supervisors, and so you have, like your engineers, that are going to have teams of more than one to five people, maybe it's several, maybe they're over several departments that are going to be responsible for. Hey, not only now am I making sure that my leaders are prepared, but they are prepared to lead the teams alongside them and that a lot of that kind of goes into the communication and the direction and making sure that there is clear guidance. Those type of things are going to be really important once you start getting those middle managers and then when you get up to the higher level excuse me, the highest level, the senior leader level, that's going to be like your directors, so that's going to be your top level directors. That in really in any industry or organization.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

So, basically, what you're saying, though, depends on your level of leadership. That's how your classes will be divided up, so everybody probably won't be in the same class then, or will they?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So that's a great question. So the training itself is the same regardless. So no matter if you're coming in to get the frontline supervisor certification, you will still receive all of the training. That's how it's designed. The only difference is when you go to take the certification exam. It will go into more in depth on the core competencies. Now, to give you an idea, the seven weeks the first four weeks are going to be really kind of based on foundations and then the last three weeks are really getting into the in depth material of the course, which is going to be really more geared towards those higher levels. But it does not prevent the lower level applicants to go through that training.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Okay, Now I know you mentioned the class is going to be online. When they do the sitting oral exam, will that be online or will they have to go to a center and sit before someone?

Dr. Brian Clark:

It can be done of one or two weeks. You can do it from your own personal computer or you can go to a certified testing exam location. However, I recommend just doing it from your laptop and getting a company place in your home that you know you're not going to get distracted, and that's going to be the best way for you to perform if you do it that way.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

In my opinion, we have to take some CEUs, or so, yes, there are CEUs.

Dr. Brian Clark:

However, the nice thing is, rblp pushes out stuff for their app and so it's easily to track and you can just basically make notes or mark off as they put out material, whether it's reading or videos or links. Sometimes it's YouTube's videos on resilience or leading teams or something that's relevant, so it's really easy to keep up your CEUs. It's not like something you are going to have to try to go outside of your way to obtain.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Say, I'm a young leader and I took the RBLP, got my certification. What do I do now if I want to get to that next alphabet that you mentioned I think it was C is the second level. Yes, how do you go about that then? Do you just go back to you and take more courses, or what, if you want to get to the next level? How would that work?

Dr. Brian Clark:

So you would not have to go through the course again unless you felt like you needed to. What you would do is, as long as you were up to date with your CEUs, right, you're still credentialed. You would contact RBLP and you would prove that, hey, I meet the minimum work requirements for the CE certification for the middle manager. And once they give you the thumbs up, you would be able to take the certification exam at a discounted rate to be able to get that next level certification.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Great, but Brian, I appreciate you coming on. Htm on the line man. I used to ask this one question for everyone at the end. To wrap things up, Is there a personal mantra or a piece of wisdom you would like to share with our audience?

Dr. Brian Clark:

I really do value empathy and compassion, and one thing that I tell my team members when I get a chance is hey, let's do this exercise real quick. I want you to imagine you're wearing a backpack, right, and every single one of your stresses is in the form of a rock. So small rocks, small stresses, big rocks, big stressors in your life, and put them in that backpack, all right. So now you've got this backpack full of rocks. It's heavy, right. It's weighing you down. And you look around. You look at other people that are just passerby eyes or people you work with. They're wearing backpacks too, but you don't know how much weight is in that backpack. Some people carry a lot of weight and they carry very well and you would never know.

Dr. Brian Clark:

So make sure that you're taking care of people. Have some compassion. Understand that people are going through things, no matter what they may look like. They may look like they have the perfect life, maybe not. So get to know people, have some compassion, know that we're all carrying weight. I think if you do that, people will appreciate that and really kind of gravitate towards you. So that's, that's I guess that's my word of wisdom.

Bryant Hawkins Sr.:

Well said, well said Well. Once again, thank you, dr Bryant Clark, and you're welcome to come back anytime. Thank you very much for being on the show, bryant.

Dr. Brian Clark:

Hey, thanks, brian, I appreciate you.

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