Alani talks about her overcoming imposter syndrome and how it affected her and her military career. She is an Army brat and thought she would go to West Point and join the Army. Instead, she ended up gaining a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship with the Air Force and served in the Air Force. She is still currently serving in the Reserves. She struggled with imposter syndrome. And she can pinpoint how the struggle intensified when a Colonel her senior year told her she would never commission. She used his words to motivate her to prove him wrong and has worked to overcome imposter syndrome. And it helped her accomplish a lot but she also struggled with not feeling good enough.
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Despite the Colonel’s words she commissioned into the Air Force and started her career in Personnel. She then transferred to the Office of Special Investigation (OSI). There she worked many different cases and deployed to Iraq in 2010. She talked about the challenge of being a woman in the military in a war zone. Two stories that stood out were the first informant she worked with did not want to work with her because she was a woman. She was able to work with the Iraqi leader by telling him he could work with her or he could not get paid. He quickly changed his tune.
Keeping her ‘safe’
She also faced challenges when she had a tip and her commander prevented her from going off base to keep her safe. The second time a similar tip came she and her interpreter did not get permission to follow up and instead went off base to follow up on the lead. It ended up being a successful operation in gaining information and her boss was not happy but also understood why she did what she did.
She decided to transfer to the Reserves at the twelve-year point because it was what she needed to do for her. She was scared to leave the military but found mentorship through American Corporate Partners and she had a saving account to help her have time to find a job. Her first job when she left the military was for a non-profit and she loved the work she was doing. But her husband who is still on active duty got a new assignment and she had to quit. She started her own business and began volunteering. That volunteer role turned into a part-time job and she still works from home.
The advice she gives to women joining is to have confidence and know they can do it.
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