Megan Pohlman DeLeon

(North Dakota)

The Military Personnel | 40 Under 40 Class of 2020

FAST FACTS

  • Boss Lady Icon
    Rachel Hollis, she is inspiring as a working mom.

     

  • Favorite Food
    Supreme Pizza
     

  • Favorite Color
    Sparkly Pink

GET TO KNOW MEGAN

Megan Pohlman DeLeon has served as an emergency manager for the U.S. Air Force for 12 years. In her role, she helps communities prepare for natural disasters and helps military personnel learn how to operate and recover from a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack. Keep reading to learn more about Megan’s unique career. 

EXTENDED INTERVIEW

What inspired you to go into this line of work?
I come from a long line of military member. My ancestry can be found in every generation dating back to the revolutionary war.

 

What challenge did you overcome to get where you are today?
I work in a male dominated force which generally speaks a different language. I had to learn my own leadership style within that work environment.

 

Did someone help you get to where you are today, like a mentor?

I have learned a lot along the way from a lot of different people. I have had many supervisors provide me with opportunities to succeed or fail. So far I have succeeded more than failed.

 

What do you love most about your job?
I love the variety. One day I could be teaching a Chemical warfare class and the next I could be managing a command center for an emergency situation.

Stripes or Polka Dots

Cats or Dogs

Physical Book or Audiobook

Mountains or Beach

Early Bird or Night Owl

Describe yourself in three words.

Decisive, vocal and adaptable.

 

Your life philosophy is…

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

 

What is the best piece of advice you received?
The work will be there tomorrow. It always seems like you need to stay late or come in early or bring work home. You DON’T! Work never ends. So, make sure to spend time with your family and friends, take vacation and take care of yourself.

If someone handed you an airline ticket to a place of your choosing, where would you go and why?

France, after living outside of Napa, California, for five years my husband and I have found a love for wine. We would love to visit the many wine regions of France.

 

What’s something you cannot live without?
Water

 

Name a book you read that positively shaped you.
This might sound silly but the book “He’s Just Not That into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. It came out while I was in undergrad, living in the pink castle at UND. At the time it helped me move away from the toxic relationship I was in. Also, it was so eye opening and not just for romantic relationships but relationships in general. If people are not willing to spend time on you then maybe they just are not that into you.

 

If you weren’t working in the industry that you are, what would you be doing instead?

I would probably be a teacher. I know I would be in some type of public service.

 

How do you unwind or relax after a long day?

A bath with a glass of tea or wine.

The most rewarding aspect of your job is…

I currently moved to an acquisition position and I absolutely love the idea of effecting the future of CBRN detection and capabilities our force has both stateside and abroad.

 

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?
Be Graceful. Not everyone will agree with you and that is OK.

 

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Listen more and speak less. You don’t always have to have the last word or make a point. You can just listen.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

Organize. I will take a step back and just start to organize whether that is my email, desk, or home it always helps me center.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be money, time, energy, etc.)

My education, while it is not required for my job it has always set me apart and ahead of my peers.

Name a confident woman of character who you look up to? Why her?
I have never looked up to one person solely. I am grateful for the women who have made progress and strides ahead of me to make my path easier.