People of PTK: Jonelle Joiner & Her Competitive Edge

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Jonelle Joiner, a Five Star Competitive Edge Member of the Beta Lambda Upsilon Chapter at Northwest Vista College in Texas.

Life has a way of providing you second chances and expanded opportunities. As an adult student with a family, I never realized my potential until I joined the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas.

As a full-time employee for the Department of Nutritional Medicine, Education and Research Branch of the U.S. Army, I knew I needed to make myself more competitive as a civilian government employee. I took a leap of faith and enrolled at Northwest Vista College in 2015. Texas was my new home, and I was going to make sure my educational experience would propel me to things of which I would have only dreamed.

As I waited to speak with an advisor at Northwest Vista, I found a PTK pamphlet. Little did I know that reviewing that pamphlet would help my career and educational experience in ways I never would have imagined.

My grades were amazing, and I was quite proud of myself—but I was also very hard on myself. What more did I want beyond good grades? I remembered that PTK pamphlet. The email I drafted when I applied opened the door to my development; the acceptance email had me in tears of joy.

I received a letter in the mail that started me on my very first Phi Theta Kappa challenge. There was a link to the Five Star Competitive Edge Plan. I knew that winter break was fast-approaching, and I needed to use my time wisely. I took a deep breath and began the training that would provide me the confidence to do more than just the bare minimum as a student and an employee.

Higher education is certainly a hefty cost, and the job market is very competitive. With Competitive Edge, there was nothing to lose, but so much to gain. By no means am I a pro at everything, but the Five Star Competitive Edge Plan developed me into such a confident force that I felt I was ready for any challenge.

  • The training taught me to really think about the world around me through the writing assignments.
  • The assessments helped me to figure myself out.
  • My communication has become much more stellar, clear and precise.
  • I had presented trainings at my job before; but now, my PowerPoints and trainings are much more fun and creative.
  • The confidence I now have has taught me to connect and relate to others.
  • Everyone has a fear of public speaking; but after watching countless videos of accomplished professionals, I can demonstrate control, confidence and clarity. The careful organization I learned means I no longer get lost in my words and thoughts.
  • I have learned to take my time in speaking and to make sure everything I am involved is of great quality.

My work supervisor, Army Major Dr. Brenda D. Bustillos, allowed me to add the completion of the Five Star Competitive Edge Certificate to my annual employee evaluation. I work amongst some of the brightest and most accomplished military personnel in our country. I am now able to analyze data, attend meetings and complete tasks with such precision that I teach fellow civilians and military personnel what I have learned so they can also reap the benefits of the training I have completed through PTK.

That Competitive Edge certificate has proved that I have extended my professional development training for myself and for others. After the training I completed with PTK, I felt I had more to offer than just good grades. I had proof that I was ready to take on new adventures and opportunities. I want to make this a career and not just a job.

After I completed the Competitive Edge program, my chapter advisor, Marie Morgan, asked if I would be interested in mentoring fellow members as a Phi Theta Coach. I taught my first training class to students at Northwest Vista College on February 8 on “The Power of Interview” to teach proper interview skills. I also presented “The Power of Interview” to my peers at work for their training.

I also developed a PowerPoint entitled “Managing Your Emotions” that I will present and offer to PTK members at Northwest Vista in the future. Some other useful presentations I have created are “The Art of Communication” and “Customer Service.” I want to be more than just a member—I want to be a scholar.

Life is busy but so full of opportunities. Time management has been a dominant force in my life. I want to ensure that my career, educational and personal accomplishments are all connected. Five Star Competitive Edge gave me the nudge I needed to succeed. With the support of my chapter advisor, chapter president and officers, I have done more than just the bare minimum.

Five Star Competitive Edge is a free, online, self-paced professional development plan that gives you the job skills today’s employers seek. Learn more, and get your edge today.