A Lifelong Learner

A Lifelong Learner.

Following her promotion to Chief Master Sergeant in 2004, Denise found herself standing in front of her Airmen talking to them about higher education and achieving their Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) Associate Degree.  She felt like a hypocrite because she found herself “talking the talk but not making the walk.”  Always one to lead from the front, this feeling provided her with a real “wake-up call.”

Rarely had she faced such a significant moment of catharsis. And, for that reason, she became as inspired and energized as she had in even the most momentous occasions in her life. It was then that she took on the cause of personal and professional growth that led her forward into the rest of her military, and now civilian, career. As Socrates once said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Denise’s mission became to kindle the flame of lifetime learning within herself and, ultimately, within all those she would serve going forward.

As you can imagine, this was a huge growth time for Denise as a leader. When she learned of an Airman that didn’t have their CCAF, she sat down with them, discussed their options, and followed through until they were enrolled.  When speaking to her Soldiers and Airmen, the words, “continue your education” were always a focal point of her message. And, she understood well that—in order to be true to herself and continue to lead from the front—she had to pursue a non-stop course of personal and professional enrichment that would allow her to grow to her highest potential while serving others to the same level.

Highlights to date of Denise’s journey of lifetime learning include the following:

  • Trident University International, Graduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership, Cypress, CA (2018 to present)
  • 2017 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, presented by Hawaii Pacific University
  • 2015 Trident University International, Bachelors of Science Degree/Business Administration
  • 2013 Leadership Champions Program, Arlington, VA
  • 2010 Command Senior Enlisted Leadership Course, Keystone, Washington, D.C.
  • 2008 Leadership Development Program, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC
  • 2008 National Guard Bureau. Diversity Champions Course, Kapolei, HI
  • 2007 Associate of Airway Science Degree, Community College of the Air Force
  • 2006 Chief Leadership Course, Alabama

In addition, she has served her fellow warriors and their families through her active participation in the following organizations:

  • Veterans United Home Loans – Military Advisor
  • United Through Reading – Board of Trustee; board secretary; current member of the marketing committee and past member of the strategic growth committee
  • Military Education Coalition – Board of Trustee member (2014-2016)
  • Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) – life member
  • Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
  • The Enlisted Association (TREA) – life member
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars – life member
  • Air Force Sergeants Association
  • American Legion

Because of Denise’s pursuit of lifetime learning, the advancement of her leadership skills, and her commitment to the causes that affect our military, their families, and women leaders throughout the working world, she was selected as a Top 100 finalist for the John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award in 2014 and in the following year, 2015, as Top 30 finalist.

Through this prestigious and highly-coveted award, Denise is internationally acknowledged as a transformational leader who is making a difference, doing something that makes a difference, with people who make a difference, at a time that makes a difference.

And making a positive difference is simply what Denise Jelinski-Hall’s life is all about.