Working for TSA offers many growth opportunities. For Cyrena Silvera, it is no exception.
Prior to TSA, Silvera was considered a “renaissance woman.” She worked several jobs for short periods from retail to moving furniture, nonprofit volunteer work, sales, customer service, and the list goes on.
In 2017, Silvera was hired as a TSA officer. “A close high school friend of mine who is also prior military worked for TSA for years when I was looking to apply,” said Silvera. “I recall myself remembering exactly where I was on 9/11, and I realized the importance of the job itself.”
She sold everything in her apartment and moved from Fayetteville to Charlotte, North Carolina, with nothing but her car, hope and a federal job. After a few months on the job as a TSA officer, everything changed.
“I felt as though I wasn’t learning anything new or doing anything new,” said Silvera. “So, I decided to go back to college to get the flow of knowledge back.”
With school becoming challenging and the stress of working, Silvera was discouraged and regretted taking a big risk by moving her entire life for a job.
After about six months of juggling school and work, Silvera met TSA Supervisor Eudania Burrell. “She was my newly assigned supervisor and introduced herself to me as a supervisor and life coach,” said Silvera. “She was my first informal TSA mentor.”
Burrell began to speak with Silvera about the opportunities within TSA and how much the organization offered.
“As a fairly new TSA officer in 2018, having a supervisor who genuinely wanted to ensure I had work-life balance is how I benefited from Eudania Burrell the most,” said Silvera. “She asked how I felt about my current work performance, and I explained to her my ambition to do more.
“I want to succeed. I want to learn, and I want to share what I learn with others. I mapped out my career path. I began to tailor my life and educational experience toward my professional goals.”
Leadership principles in TSA’s Administrator’s Intent express “we strive to fully employ and enhance our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses.”
Burrell introduced the Career Progression chart to help Silvera with her career goals.
By November 2018, Silvera received a bachelor’s degree in business administration/human resources generalist and was promoted to a TSA lead officer. “TSA Supervisor Burrell was not afraid to give honest critiques and let me know with supporting facts the areas where I had room to grow,” said Silvera. “It opened my eyes to what my professional career could be with TSA.”
Silvera completed her master’s in human resources management/human resources generalist by March 2020 and was promoted to a TSA supervisor. Now, she is a human resources assistant.
“I have developed so much professionally,” said Silvera. “I can truly say my career is far from over, and I have so much more to accomplish.”
By Chelsea Hayes Maddy, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs