Lessons in leadership: Life after combat

After 27 years as an aviation officer in the U.S. Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pedro Almeida believes that what we need to know about leadership can be learned in kindergarten. “Be kind, treat people with respect,” says Almeida, who retired as a colonel in 2015 and is now the chief operating officer of School District 49 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “And make sure everyone in the organization knows what the mission is.”

Born to immigrant parents in Cape Verde, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Almeida followed her older sister’s example and enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) in high school. “I like to have a purpose beyond my own ambitions,” he recalls. “It sounds flowery, but if you’re in the military and you think it’s about you, you’re in the wrong place.”

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