I Don't Want to Be an Adjective
- Left a thriving corporate job to take on Ranger School once it was opened to women and is one of only three women to graduate from the first integrated US Army Ranger program
- Called a “unicorn” by The Washington Post and lives by the motto, “There is no quitting”
- Shares the incredible and emotional story of recycling through Ranger School before ultimately succeeding
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Army Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Jaster is a soldier, an engineer, a wife and mother, and a trailblazer. One of only three women to graduate from the first integrated United States Army Ranger program—one of the most difficult combat training courses in the world—Lisa was the first female Army Reserve officer to become a Ranger. She completed the training, which 36 percent of male and female students fail within the first four days, after refusing to succumb to exhaustion and repeatedly “recycling” through, or retrying, several phases of the multi-locational course. Lisa endured the training, which takes a minimum of 61 days and includes up to 20 hours of training per day alongside a strict diet, for a grueling six months. She graduated at age 37, while the average trainee age is 23.
Lisa, fanaticwho continues to train CrossFit and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has a hard-won understanding of the importance of perseverance, as well as a deeply ingrained respect for camaraderie stemming from a seven-year-long active duty career (including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan). Lisa faced difficult moments throughout her Ranger training and cites the day two other women in the program advanced ahead of her to become the first and second female Rangers as especially trying. But according to Lisa, who is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau for lectures, “There is no quitting.” Throughout her training, she drew strength from her family, keeping pictures of her two young children with husband Marine Lt. Col. (promotable) Allan Jaster in her pocket and stealing glances between training assignments. With her contagious, energetic personality, Lisa delivers emotional speeches that share key takeaways from her time in the best leadership and operational training course the Army has to offer.
Prior to receiving her Ranger tab, Lisa worked as an engineer with Shell Oil in Houston and an Army Reserve individual mobilization augmentee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lisa initially was commissioned in the Army in 2000 after graduating from the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point, and returned to the reserves in 2012 after a 5 year hiatus from serving. She volunteered for combat training when she discovered the Army Ranger course was being opened to women for the first time in 60 years as a U.S. government experiment to see how women would fare in the notoriously brutal program. Lisa currently works as the Director of Civil Engineering for M&S Engineering during the week and is the Brigade Executive Officer for the 420th Engineer Brigade in the Army Reserve.
Lisa is the recipient of numerous military accolades including two Bronze Star Medals and the Meritorious Service Medal.
What Is A Leader? In September of 2015, the US Army officially opened one of the most difficult combat training courses in the world, Ranger School, to female candidates for the first time. Army Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Jaster, at that time 37 and working a great corporate job complete with first-class airfare and five-star hotel rooms, immediately signed up for the intensive, 61-day-long leadership course. Months later, sleep-deprived and carrying an 80-pound rucksack for miles on end alongside 23-year-old trainees, the wife and mother of two would reflect on one simple question: Why?
Jaster’s speech takes audiences through her personal story and the lessons she learned through becoming one of only three women to ever graduate the program. The presentation touches on themes of commitment, perseverance, tuning out doubt, “walking the walk,” and what leadership really means. It is an inspiring story about becoming a better leader, serving others, and, above all, understanding that only you can decide what you are capable of achieving.
Don’t Let The Quit In. As one of the first women ever given the opportunity to attend the equally rigorous and prestigious Army Ranger School, Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Jaster battled her way through a training course that humbles most men at the age of 37. Throughout her six months at Ranger School, Jaster faced countless difficult moments, including days when her training partner openly doubted her abilities, nights that she lay awake wondering whether she belonged there, and a particularly tough moment when the two other women in her class moved on to the next phase of training without her. Despite those trials, Jaster maintains that stopping and quitting was never an option.
Jaster explains why she felt it was so important to attend Ranger School, how she stayed motivated during those dark moments, and why “Once you think about quitting, you let the quit in you.” Filled with humorous stories and moving anecdotes, Jaster’s talk leaves audiences inspired to push past adversity no matter the cost and better their lives.
Lisa did a great job and we received excellent feedback from our audience. Here’s some of the feedback I shared with Lisa from our attendees:
‘Lisa Jaster's talk had the greatest impact on me. I found her story to be extremely empowering and one that I could apply to multiple areas of my life. She set a goal for herself, did not allow quit to come in and ultimately achieved her goal. She is a true rock star and I feel fortunate to have heard her story.’
‘Lisa was very motivational, showing that with extra work you can reach your professional and personal goals, even as a female leader.’
‘The speech Lisa Jaster gave was extremely impactful. I think everyone in this job has a moment where they look around and say "is this for me?" With "Don't let the quit in" in mind, it was moving to hear leaders share their stories of why they stayed during the hard times.’
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