Dr. Rhonda Glover Reese

Certified Leadership Development & Career Coach

Dr. Glover Reese began her career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in August 1984, assigned to FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ) in the Technical Services Division. After many years of transition and acceleration into leadership, she was assigned to the Human Resources Division, FBIHQ in Washington, DC, where she served as the Acting Unit Chief with oversight of the Onboarding New Employees Program, a program to assist new employees in the navigation of their first year of employment with the FBI. She also served as the Program Manager for the Professional Development Program, and the Team Leader of the FBI’s Cross-Cultural Mentoring and Sponsorship Program, which was developed to transform the FBI’s leadership landscape by encouraging inclusive and mentoring relationships and increasing more diverse career development networks.

Following a successful 34-year career in the FBI, she retired in 2018 and formed the Rhonda Glover Group, LLC. a consulting firm specializing in career advancement and diversity initiatives for law enforcement professionals.

Check out our interview with her below…

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

My superpower of mentoring and coaching fueled my desire to become an entrepreneur. In the law enforcement profession, the coaching space is not well known throughout the rank and file. I wanted to change that, and that led me to become a certified coach. My coaching niche is Career with an emphasis on law enforcement. I also have a passion for leadership training and development, so it made perfect sense to have both leadership training and coaching as part of my firm’s offerings. I was also inspired by speaking to people about the lack of professional development opportunities within their organizations and their efforts to seek external developmental opportunities.

Share a tough challenge you've encountered as an entrepreneur and how you overcame it.

The challenge that I faced on my journey to become an entrepreneur was feeling like I had to invest in so many different programs and that shiny program. Investing so much money and time where I really should have been more intentional about having a solid plan. I was so excited to retire and to give back. I was interested in helping people do better where they were and using my lived experience as a 34-year veteran in federal law enforcement.

I wanted to help people through coaching/mentoring and leadership development, and I was trying different avenues to do that, which cost money. Some things worked, and some things didn’t, but I believe if I had just taken more time, just took a deep breath, and was more intentional and focused on how I wanted to get there, I probably would have saved some money. So, the way I overcame it was I just stepped back, and I took a deep breath, and things that I signed up for or subscriptions or organizations that I joined that had rolling costs, I just shut all that down, and doing that helped me save a lot of money. So, the lesson learned is be very clear on your direction and be very clear on what you want to spend time and money on. 

Also, get a coach. It is vital to have a coach. Sometimes, you don’t act on the matters you need to move on. A coach can help you move forward. As a coach, you help people through coaching. Unfortunately, on occasion, you can’t see it for yourself. 

In your journey as an entrepreneur, what key skills do you believe have been most crucial to your success?

Building relationships is one of the critical skills that I believe has been most crucial to my success. Building relationships is incredibly vital to my success. I make it my business to connect when I attend conferences, meetings, and different virtual sessions. I make it my business to build relationships where I can and get to know people, and it doesn’t have to be thinking about how I can get business. It’s just being mindful of really getting to know people and understanding what people’s needs are.  And the way that you can develop these skills is to get out there and do it. Sometimes fear shows up, and sometimes reluctance will show up; believing that you’re going to fail is going to show up, but you must push past that. You must stay focused on what you want and what you need to be successful. Understand your niche and be clear on what you need to succeed. For me, it was building relationships. I can talk to people.  I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy helping people and showing them another way, and I enjoy seeing that light bulb go off. I would have said something that has shifted them, that has changed them in that just short period of time, and it just really gives me joy because that’s a gift that God gave me, and I use my stories – I use my lived experiences to share with others so they don’t have to do what I did. So, they can see there’s another way. It will save them time and money, and it does not serve me to hold on to all this great information.

Tips & Advice

The advice I would share with new entrepreneurs on effectively networking and building meaningful professional relationships is to be intentional about the people you associate with. You want to connect with like-minded people. You want to connect with people doing the work you’re interested in being a part of. You want to connect with people that are doing all the things that you want to do eventually. And in connecting with those people, you want to learn, you want to be mentored, you want to be coached by them, and you want to soak up as much information as you can. I would encourage new entrepreneurs to join LinkedIn and connect with people there. That is the space where I hang out. Further, you should consider attending conferences and meetings where the people you want to connect with hang out. The significant part about LinkedIn is that you’ll have the ability to see where some of these people are going, what events they’re sponsoring, and what events their connections are sponsoring, and this will give you a great optic into what is going on in your area of interest. Now, understand that there is a difference between networking and building relationships. Networking is just that you’re going to an event, you’re talking to people, you’re getting business cards, and you should be following up with them in a couple of days. Building relationships is getting to know the people to whom you’ve gotten those cards. You do that by checking in with them. Meet with them if you can. Meet with them somewhere to get a cup of coffee and talk. Chat about different things besides work or have a pleasant conversation about who they are, and then you can talk about who you are. Then, you will be in a space where you can gain a mentor or a sponsor.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do the best I could have done in managing my finances and getting my business going. I felt that I was all over the place trying to do different things and learn different things because it was such a new space for me. As a federal law enforcement officer, I could not have a side business, so I did not have the opportunity to start slow and digest what I was doing. After I retired, I could have started my business gradually, but I was so excited about getting my coaching business going and offering my leadership development services. I was just so excited, and I wanted to do everything. I wanted to have different contracts here and there, and while I was getting all those things, I felt like I was all over the place. As soon as I retired, I was so excited. I just started going and doing everything I knew I needed to do as a business owner: setting up the proper documents and investing in myself through attending different conferences, joining different organizations, and positioning myself with people that I felt could really assist me in building my business. I learned very quickly that some of my efforts were not productive, but I learned. That is a blessing. The blessing that I learned from the mistakes that I made, and I was able to pivot and correct my course and get on track.
While there are several leadership styles, I subscribe to three and the three leadership styles. I am totally “one” with the coaching leadership style, the servant leadership style, and the transformational style. Those are the styles I am in alignment with. Those three styles are all about people they speak to me because I love people. These three styles really represent my leadership and how I show up for people. I’m all about coaching people, mentoring, serving, and really watching them shift, change, elevate, and get to where they want to be. That’s the type of leader I am. I love pouring into them, I love connecting with them, I love learning about the people that I’m serving, and I love making sure that they’re good, and I love making sure that they have everything they need to be successful. The way that I cultivate leadership skills within my team is to really pay attention to what is important to them, and when I learn what is important to them, I feed that. And when I feed what is important to them, they, in turn, operate in a space where they’re excited about what they’re doing. They understand the why of what they’re doing and are just excited about going on this journey with me and making sure everything that needs to be done is done with excellence.