MIDDLE RIVER, Md. – For Staff Sgt. Lorena Royale, a personnel specialist with Maryland National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters, working in the personnel field means actively seeking solutions to personnel-related concerns or issues while maintaining a positive outlook and avoiding discouragement.
Those qualities are seen every day by both those she assists and those she works with.
“Staff Sgt. Royale displays the characteristics of all the Air Force Core Values,” said Tech. Sgt. Chenelle Williams, personnel supervisor with Joint Force Headquarters. “Royale’s professionalism and positive attitude will take her a long way in her military career.”
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Baltimore, Royale has been a member of the Maryland Air National Guard since 2014. College brought her to the military.
Prior to enlisting, she attended community college with aspirations of becoming a pharmacist. After earning her associates degree, Royale looked into attending a four-year university. Continuing her education would be a costly proposition. She weighed her options and joined the Maryland Air Guard, taking advantages of the tuition assistance benefits.
“I initially wanted to enlist in a medical job but that did not pan out,” she said. “However, a personnel position was available and I accepted.”
Despite taking her away from her intended path, stepping into the personnel world was a good move, she said.
“It worked out to be the best,” said Royale. “I am customer-service driven. I have been able to pull my civilian retail experience and incorporate it into my military career.”
She has also changed her education plans, stepping away from the medical field. Royale’s future goals include earning a bachelor’s degree in human resource management before pursuing a master’s degree in the human resource field.
She also aspires to become a first sergeant.
“I would like to be a first sergeant because I want to give back and mentor young Airmen and non-commissioned officers like the senior non-commissioned officers [who] have mentored me,” said Royale.
Those senior NCOs have served as points of inspiration, she said.
“I have learned so much,” Royale said, adding that many of those senior NCOs she looks up to have showed her the right path, rather than simply saying “no, you’re wrong” as a way to ensure her personal and professional growth.
“They have shown attributes necessary to be a good NCO,” she said. “Be personable, have integrity, be knowledgeable, and possess a nurturing spirit. I would like to be just like them.”
One way she has incorporated that into her personnel role is to always let the customer know if you are unsure of an answer to a question.
“Be honest,” she said. “Be straightforward. Get the customer’s contact information and follow up, because that is what personnelists do and that is the field we are in.”
While not in uniform, Royale said she enjoys eating her favorite food, macaroni and cheese, while binge-watching a variety of TV shows with her husband. Additionally, Royale said family and traveling are important to her and that she would one day like to visit the Dominican Republic.
Until then, she said she plans on using the skills gained from her time serving by volunteering and giving back to the community.