Born and raised in Detroit, Kenyetta Woods is proud of her deep roots in the town known to America as The Motor City and the birthplace of Motown Records. The second oldest of four children, Kenyetta never thought she would live anywhere else but the city she affectionately refers to as the “D”. Life has always inspired her. She has learned along the way that the best things are never easy—you have to work hard for them. And that’s what she set out to do as an employee of the USDA Forest Service.
What led you to the Forest Service and when did you start working here?
At first, I was enrolled in the Transportation Communication Union’s Advanced Training Program at the Potomac Job Corps Center in Washington, D.C. While there I applied for a job at the Forest Service. In December 2004, I started my Forest Service career as a temporary employee on the Law Enforcement and Investigation’s Washington Office staff. In fact, the advanced training I received at Potomac Job Corps provided me with an opportunity to apply for the temporary position. I worked hard and showed dedication, which helped me get a permanent position.
What do you do in the Forest Service and what is your favorite part of the job?
I’m the Executive Assistant for the Office of Communication, which is under the Office of the Chief, in Washington, D.C. My favorite part of the job is providing my director with excellent administrative support and interacting with my coworkers.
What do you like to do for fun on your free time?
I’m not unlike many people. I love spending time with family and friends, reading, home décor, visiting museums in our nation’s capital and developing my photography skills.
What is your highest personal and professional achievement?
My highest personal achievement is when I graduated from the training program at the Potomac Job Corps Center in August 2005. The decision to transfer to the program in Washington, from the Detroit Job Corps Center in Michigan, was not easy for me. I left home. I left family. I left friends. For the first time, I was on my own. However, that decision forever changed my life for the better and opened up a world of opportunities. My highest professional achievement, and my proudest, is when I received the 2013 Law Enforcement and Investigations Director’s Award for Outstanding Administrative Support Services.
How has your education, background, or personal experiences prepared you for the work that you do now?
I learned early that there are rewards and consequences to every choice that you make. Part of my job description is to ensure that my office is in compliance the agency’s various rules and regulations regarding management of human resources, procurement, property, mandatory training, etc. So if I don’t properly carry out my duties there are negative consequence for the whole team.
Describe a recent, current, or upcoming project that you’re currently working on.
I am a member and Secretary of USDA Toastmasters 3294. I’m working on speeches for the club as well as in front of certain Job Corps Centers in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. I want to use what I’ve learned through my Job Corps journey to inspire other students. Toastmasters International is an organization that teaches individuals how to improve their public speaking, communication and leadership skills, and it’s helping me break away from a certain level of shyness to more easily speak in front of groups. I even entered and placed in our club contest.
How would you like the public to perceive the work we do at the Forest Service?
As a child, I never had an opportunity to visit a national forest. The nearest one from Detroit, the Huron-Manistee, is about 200 miles away. That was just something we could not do. I now feel blessed to see first-hand what we do. I’ll never forget a recent site visit to the agency’s Rocky Mountain Region, I rode along with law enforcement officers and experienced the scenery of the Arapahoe and Pike National Forests in Colorado. It was breathtaking!
What are your future career goals?
I would like to advance my administrative career either in human resources, acquisition management, records management or budget. I also want to spend time promoting the advantages of the Job Corps program. The more people know, the more likely the Job Corps can offer internships or job placement opportunities for students. I am who I am today in part because of the Job Corps.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to serve their country as a Forest Service employee?
How can you explain serving your country? Thousands of people do it every day. I just happened to be with the Forest Service. Serving your country is one of the most important and most fulfilling jobs you can have. It is a privilege to be a Forest Service employee.