Women's History Month: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Root

  • Published
  • By Capt. Nicole Wirth
  • 17th Medical Group

During Women’s History Month we are highlighting outstanding Goodfellow women. These women willingly answered just a few questions to share details about their personal journey, as well as thoughts on leadership and success. 
This week’s highlight is U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Root, 344th Military Intelligence Battalion advanced individual training drill sergeant. 

What is the impact of your job here at Goodfellow?   
My impact here as a drill sergeant is that I help mold civilians into U. S. Army Soldiers, specifically intelligence professionals. They arrive here from basic training, and I mentor them into professionals that embody the Army values. My job is different from a basic training drill sergeant because in basic training, they are told what to do and when to do it. At Goodfellow, I must teach them how to exercise initiative so they can become competent and independent Soldiers without the need for hovering leadership. 

What female public figure, past or present, inspires you and why? 
Bianca Crawford, known as Bianca Belair, is a female professional wrestler who inspires me for many reasons. One thing she has shown me is that women can be physically strong. She can lift a person over her head and slam them down in the ring, and even does this multiple times throughout her matches. Too often we are told to make ourselves less for others, but she doesn’t believe in that. She believes in being the best version of herself which is why she is known as “the EST of World Wrestling Entertainment”. She has drive, she has pushed herself to be better, and has a lot to show for it. Bianca was ranked number one of the top 150 female professional wrestlers in 2021 and was also a part of history by being one of the first black women to main event in WrestleMania. 

What qualities make a great female leader? 
I feel like a great leader, regardless of gender, should be open for improvement and should always strive to improve themselves and their environment. That can’t be done unless they’re open for improvement and input from others. A great leader should keep an open mind when it comes to making decisions, look at the situation from all angles, take in the considerations of those involved, and try to take the best course of action. A great leader has integrity and takes ownership of their actions. If they mess up, they own it and if they don’t know the answer, they are honest and try to find the answer. A great leader treats others with dignity and respect and creates an environment that’s inclusive for all and built on trust. 

What is something you wish you would have done earlier in your career? 
I wish I would have held myself accountable earlier in my career. I struggled with a lot of issues and I feel like I would have improved sooner if I would have just faced them head on and acknowledged my shortcomings. 

What is something you would like the next generation to know? 
It’s okay to face adversity and to fail. Both experiences teach you about yourself and you can learn to be better than you were the day before. These experiences also teach you to be resilient. I see a lot of younger kids joining [the military] and they quit when they reach a roadblock. It’s okay to ask for help but sometimes help isn’t always there for you. You must learn to get back up on your own and keep moving forward. 

What is one crazy or unique fact about yourself? 
I have five cats named Finn, Marceline, Peaches, Gunther and Bella. I guess people would call me a crazy cat lady, but I’m just a lady with crazy cats.