Leading Woman Tanica Russell is a reserve individual within the workplace and is a marine that has pious character.  She is a stern, no-nonsense woman, who has a fleeting smile.  Nevertheless, she possesses a genuine concern for her subordinates; thus, making her an approachable person.  Her attitude, dedication, and commitment bring a high standard to those around her. She is a reliable person, a true leader, a model to emulate and an indelible asset to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

           Russell enlisted into the Defence Force as part of New Entry 40/Woman Entry 12, on 23 August, 2004. She was up to the challenge and determined to carry her own weight by providing for her future.

            A 16-year-veteran, Russell has served in departments such as Administration Department subsection Personal Files, Headquarters Department subsection Public Relations and the Supply Department subsection Galley where she currently serves as a chef.  Whilst serving in the Supply Department she has been recognized as the Marine of the Quarter in 2011, 2017 and 2018. 

            Being a part of the force, Russell has developed herself and her desire for knowledge and personal development as she continues to grow.  She has completed various certification courses throughout her career, which has included video and photo editing, publishing and pastry making, and is currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Development. 

            Married to Petty Officer Rashano Russell, the couple has four (4) children: Tiahna, Rashano Jr., Rajon, and Trinity.  The children ages are 10, 8, 4 and 2 years old respectively, and the family worships at New Light Ministries, under the leadership of Reverend Antonio Beckford. 

            A quiet person by nature, Russell is an introvert.  She is always engaged at work, and most times, one would know she is there for her presence is as light as a feather.  However, she speaks her mind, when necessary and everyone knows it’s worth listening too.  A very intelligent person who is always willing to share her ideas on how best to improve the job, she is a confident, focused, straight forward person, who always knows what she wants.  Most persons describe her as a reliable and dependable person.  Her colleagues state that, ‘as a mother and a coworker, they have high regards towards her, because, when it comes to carrying her weight in the department, she uses no excuses”.  When it’s her rotation to be deployed, be it on a detachment or at sea, she is up to the task.  With her husband assigned to a vessel as an engineer, the two often manage to work out the details so she can still perform her job.  They achieve this by the couple’s support for each other.  During a previous four-month detachment, Petty Officer Russell requested to be stationed on land until his wife had returned from her assigned duties. 

            For Leading Woman Marine Russell, it’s all about her family.  As a military mom, she doesn’t waste any time or moment.  Because she knows how things can change so quickly for the military couple, she uses each and every moment to be involved in her children’s lives.  On a regular day, she is engaged in whatever activity her children are doing.  She is presently assisting her daughter, who’s in the fifth (5) grade with the Solar System Project.

            Her role model was her mom. Judith Bannister was a housewife and her dad was a police officer whose career often had him deployed and sometimes travelling.  Therefore, her mom’s job was taking care of her children from sun rise to sun down, with no breaks, no vacation.  Tancia chose her mom, because she watched and guided her over the years, taking care of her and her siblings unselfishly whilst her dad was away.

            If she could be a superhero, Tancia chooses to be Shuri from the movie “Black Panther,” because in her opinion, she is an example of what a woman should be.  She is independent, intelligent, and able to defend herself if necessary.  Shuri would always think ahead; something Tancia would do.   

            The highlight of her career would be working in the Public Relations Department.  It was here that she assisted in the publication of the Defence Force Magazine ‘The Defender’.  Working in this area allowed her to gain a working knowledge of the job.  She learnt a variety of skills such as photography, video editing and developing her writing skills through newsletters and press releases.

            As a military mom, Tancia says she balances work and family life through time management, along with lots of planning.  She and her husband work together, because they have a partnership.  They help each other out, to achieve a balance.  She wants to always be effective and efficient in both aspects of her life.  She knows it’s important to have a spouse who helps, because it makes things that much easier.  As military moms, whether married or single, it’s important to secure the children in the homes at all cost while providing for their well-being.  For some, this may contribute to additional debt to have someone keeping the children while away from the home.  This however, must be done to achieve a balance between work life and family life.

            She advises single individuals on the force, who may be considering a family and want to have a balance, that it is important to have a partner who will understand the nature of your job and who would lend the support to both individuals, and the family at large.   

            The greatest challenge of being a military mom would be the unexpected working environment, that being the basic nature of the job.  One never knows what the day will like until they gets there.  Another challenging aspect is the time spent away from loved ones, which is a huge sacrifice.   Being a military mom, one must always be ready to face the unexpected which in most cases requires a quick turnaround period that may affect the family.  For example, one may come to work with a mind set to leave at 5:00 O’clock, but a call comes in and you have to work until 8:00 O’clock.  Sometimes, it is for a prolonged period.  

            Tancia’s village/community is not that vast, because she doesn’t have much family members to call on.   The few loyal people are very important to her.  These include her dad, mother-law and God parents.  She says she wouldn’t be able to do her job effectively without their support.  She is definitely not forgetting the village’ at work, who understand and would look out for her welfare.  It is a fact that one’s mind can’t be at peace when the children are not safe, or there is unresolved situation pending.   As a leader in this force, she looks out for the wellbeing of her subordinates in considering them as a whole person and not just someone that she works with.  Not having that family dynamic, she tries to be there for people. 

            To her children, she wants them to know that she loves them with all her heart.  Tancia can’t imagine her life without them.  Her life has changed because of the children, and she is more focused and hardworking.  It is because of them that she comes to work each day and really push to complete her goals in life and to be a better person.  For this, she tells her dear darlings, a huge ‘thank you’.

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