Cultivating and nurturing talent in others has always been a part of Destiny Rockward’s life. A former cheerleader, Rockward volunteered at the same youth sports league she enjoyed cheering for as a kid.
“I’m a big believer in giving back to your community,” said Rockward. “As a junior coach, I composed cheers and dance routines for 8 and 9 year-old cheerleaders.”
As a TSA supervisory officer at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Rockward brings those same interpersonal skills and empathy used to mentor kids to her job at the checkpoint.
“My job as a supervisor is not only to provide oversight to the operation, but also to care for my officers and ensure that they have all the
resources that they need to perform their jobs successfully,” explained Rockward.
Sometimes, offering resources goes beyond the physical confines of the checkpoint. An observant Rockward noticed an otherwise friendly officer not exercising courtesy and tact to passengers. Taking the officer aside, Rockward discovered that a personal situation outside of work was to blame for the change in behavior.
“I listened and showed empathy, but still held her accountable for her actions,” said Rockward. “I informed her that [TSA’s] confidential Employee Assistance Program is available to assist officers in resolving personal matters that may affect work performance and conduct.”
Following up a few weeks later, Rockward learned that the officer followed her advice. “We don’t know what others may have going on in their personal lives,” remarked Rockward. “It is imperative that we care and exercise empathy toward the workforce.”
Always wanting to improve herself, Rockward seeks out collateral duties to stretch her skill set, making her a well-rounded officer. She worked in the local hiring assessment center, assisted applicants with the hiring process, conducted new hire interviews and participated in numerous covert drills as an evaluator.
Recently, Rockward accepted a two-year collateral duty assignment on the Leadership Development Team. This position allows Rockward to flex her administrative muscle and focus on the two things that mean the most to her: security effectiveness and professional development. “I will now have a more hands-on approach with assisting the workforce in both areas,” she said.
In her new role, Rockward supports her leadership by tracking officer performance and documenting trends. She provides administrative oversight and guidance for local performance improvement plans, coaching and mentoring to officers who need additional training, and creates formal developmental programs for every job level.
What about your job matters most to you?
As a supervisor, I am a subject matter expert when it comes to standard operating procedures. I help ensure the workforce is committed to this agency’s mission and vision.
What was your motivation for joining TSA?
I remember where I was and what I was doing when the 9/11 attacks occurred. I saw how it affected so many people. The opportunity to protect the nation’s air travel is what intrigued me to work for this agency.
What leadership principle challenges you the most?
Anticipating challenges and driving results because it may involve trial and error. I’m probably my own toughest critic, so it’s disappointing when things do not initially work out how I want them to. I do appreciate this principle because it builds critical thinking skills.