GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 1 2014) – In order to gain access to Col. Richard Pannell, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, you first have to make it through Mathilda Montgomery. An executive assistant to the commander for the last three years, her cheerful greeting is the first contact most visitors make before meeting with the district’s senior official.
“I consider myself the gatekeeper to the commander,” said Montgomery. “Whether it’s asking a general question or setting up a meeting with the commander I am the first person everyone sees and I love it. As a people person, I enjoy working with staff, constituents and stakeholders.”
Successfully incorporating her professional values and belief in hard work into her personal life makes her a highly reliable individual both on and off the clock.
“I want to be an example that other members of the administrative team can look to for guidance and assistance in their roles as administrators,” said Montgomery. “I also believe in dedicating my time to charitable causes and am a serious advocate for military veterans and the elderly.”
Juggling her professional obligations with her desire to volunteer, Montgomery is the program manager for the district’s Federal Women’s Program, where she actively seeks speakers from diverse groups to demonstrate and affirm the important role that minorities and women play in the workplace and in society.
“It’s important to me that we support the employability and advancement of women and minorities and I believe this program reinforces those principles,” said Montgomery. “In addition to the volunteer work I do with the district, I am committed to making a positive lasting mark on my community. I believe that every person counts and when we volunteer we make an investment in our community and the people who live it in. We all have something that we can give back and by serving as a volunteer we work to build camaraderie and teamwork.”
Being the wife of an Army command sergeant major has taught her much about teamwork as well as the importance of service, regardless of being in or out of uniform.
“I volunteer at my church, have been a volunteer at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the area of Healthcare for homeless veterans for more than 10 years and currently volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity and the U.S. Army Family Readiness Groups,” said Montgomery. “I strongly encourage every person to look deep inside of themselves and understand that they have something that they can give to someone else and it costs nothing to volunteer a little of your time.”
Saint Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” a phrase Montgomery works to incorporate in her daily routine as she strives to make a difference in the district and community in which she lives.
A native of Louisiana, Montgomery earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Excelsior College in 2012 and has since enrolled in a master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Texas in Arlington. When she is not working or volunteering, she spends her time with her blended family of four children and five grandchildren.
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