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26885 NCDT Benjamin Antworth – D Division – Cadet Division Leader: On top of things early

 

26885 NCDT (IV) Benjamin Antworth – D Division – Cadet Division Leader (CDL)

MARS Officer (00207), Honours Political Science

 

What was your motivation to attend RMCC?

My inspiration was my exposure to the college with the sea cadet program and the fond memories of my short time spent at RMCC during the summer. When the time came, I knew that I wanted to do something great and I was going to go to university; naturally, RMCC stood out from the post-secondary pack. Eventually, I would spend my first year at CMRSJ and develop long-lasting friendships at the completely unfamiliar campus during my first time living in Quebec!

I did not come from a military family but I have a few relatives who had served, including my grand-father. I remember how proud he was of me the last time we spoke, just before I joined the college. I knew I made the right decision and I still carry that pride with me today.

“Some of the leaders I look up to the most and to whom I owe a lot of my own leadership strategy are best described as coaches and mentors.”

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What is your most favourable memory of your time at RMCC?

My favourite memory with RMCC was a regatta in Italy. A few members of the sailing team, including myself and the team’s coach, the former college chief Keith Davidson, represented RMCC and Canada at the Italian Naval Academy. We were invited to an evening social event, a buffet at their petty officer’s mess! Every other country had some variation of a navy uniform, black with a white peak cap, but we decided we were going to make a statement! We certainly did that, everyone stopped talking and stared when we arrived in our scarlets, pillbox and all. They had never seen anything like it before and no one could stop talking about our iconic uniform (or dancing with us as the night progressed).

There were over 25 other countries competing in beautiful Livorno and no matter what, Canada was always the life of the party. I vividly remember parading the Canadian flag through the town in our scarlets, with small Italian children running up to us to take pictures and see what we were all about. We made friends with many foreign officers and I still keep in contact with my German, Italian, and Egyptian friends to this day!

What – in your opinion – makes a good leader?

            A good leader is also a good listener. A leader should be able to understand the intent of their superiors, listen to the ideas and perspectives presented by their peers, and listen to the challenges their subordinates face. A good listener understands that all three are important in painting the entire picture and developing a strategy. The natural next step for a good listener is to respond like a coach and mentor, to enable the success of others through your support and, from time to time, providing the right kind of motivation.

Some of the leaders I look up to the most and to whom I owe a lot of my own leadership strategy are best described as coaches and mentors. This is the leadership quality I hope to bring to D Division. It also helps that I happen to have a team of talented individuals to work with along the way, another important part of making a good leader.

How will you verify that those you lead are passing on your input to their subordinates?

I had an experience in my first week as CDL that really cemented it for me. I was sitting in the Fort Haldimand lounge writing a few emails and I failed to notice it start to fill up with some 30 or so other OCdts. Before I knew it there was a flight level meeting happening, a face-to-face introduction of their bar slate (as I asked them to do!) and a passing of some points that I mentioned in my meeting with CSLs. I took the opportunity to briefly introduce myself before getting back to work and I knew what it was, you have to be present. As a leader, you do not have to be at every single meeting or pop questions on subordinates to try and catch them off guard. You need to be present and demonstrate visible leadership so your subordinates know that you have a vested interest in what you have to say and that you value the passing of information effectively.

What does Truth, Duty, Valour (TDV) mean to you?

TDV is the key to success as a cadet. They are the qualities of leaders and individuals of strong character. For a soon to be commissioned officer, the truth is imperative to instil trust in one’s subordinates. The duty to one’s country and subordinates is something that is a persevering trait, and a unique quality that sets military leaders apart. Finally, valour is the courage to do what is necessary but also to do what is right; valour is what it takes to put on the uniform every day and to walk through the Arch.

What makes your Division unique and/or special?

Every division wants to win the Commandant’s cup and D Division is no different. Everyone pushes very hard in every pillar here at the college but not everyone recognizes particular over achievement in a pillar, in D Division we have a reward system in place that does just that! We also recognize the importance of balance and managing a finite amount of time and to that end we also highly encourage fun or relaxing initiatives. If you’re looking for resident experts in Squadron BBQs, D Division has you covered!

What’s something we didn’t ask but wish we had?

I wish you asked who is going to win the upcoming red and white regatta during reunion weekend. The answer is the RMC Sailing Team!