Girl Scout, Robotics Lawyer, Teacher
United States Air Force Academy
For Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre success means propelling others forward to find their own confidence. As the Dean of the Faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, she commands the 750-member Dean of Faculty mission element and oversees the annual design and instruction of more than 500 undergraduate courses for 4,000 cadets across 32 academic disciplines.
“My parents instilled in me a confidence that anything was possible with hard work and determination,” she says. “That belief empowered me with the confidence to take on anything!”
Along the way, she learned that success requires a whole lot of help from others — from mentors, from family and friends, from teachers; and today she gets to be one of those people helping others fulfill their dreams.
Linell’s rise to the rank of Brigadier General was fueled by her early curiosity and her confidence to try new things nurtured in Girl Scouting. She started as a Girl Scout at age 5 in Morristown, Tenn.
“Girl Scouts gave me confidence to try new things and make friends,” she says. “These are skills I still rely on today!”
She fondly remembers a father-daughter Girl Scout camping trip in a torrential downpour. “The lightning, rain, and wind made it a night I wouldn’t forget…and having my dad there made us all know that ‘everything would be just fine!’ Plus jumping in the puddles the next morning was awesome!”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Academy, she went on to law school and served as a Staff Judge Advocate and the Head of the Air Force Academy’s Department of Law before reaching her current position.
Her vision of leadership is bringing people together to take on a challenge.
“A leader is with her team in the thick of the challenge. A leader motivates her people and knocks down obstacles so that her team can achieve its greatest potential. She is the engine that blasts her crew to future universes,” she says.
The Girl Scout spirit of resiliency shines brightly in Linell, and she advises girls and young women to take risks.
“We learn a lot when we fall down, skin our knees, and get back up to start running again,” she says.