From Valleydale High School in the Birmingham area to the United States Army, retired Major General N. Lee S Price has quite the story to tell. And tell it she does, in her new book, No Greater Honor: Lessons from My Life as a Soldier. Keep reading to learn more about the local Major General and her book.
A born leader, Major General Price began her journey in the Army in 1975 at a time when women in the military were few and far between. After decades of service, the retired Major General wrote her first book about her experiences and how they have shaped her into the leader she is today.
Decorated and determined
Price’s determination and hard work allowed her to help break the long-standing glass ceiling in the US Army. At the time she began as a Private First Class clerk-typist after earning a degree from UAB, only 2% of the US workforce was female. For 38 years she dedicated herself to the Army and eventually became the Army’s first female Program Executive Officer, where she led an IT workforce of 2,000 and a budget of $6 billion. For her work, Price was awarded the David Packard Award, the highest military honor for program management and innovation.
This year she has published her first book about her military experiences, particularly as a woman in a very male field. However, Price also shares lessons she has learned can be used by military and civilian leaders of all genders.
“I had a lot that I wanted to say and I did not want to take the safe road, which is pretty unusual for a general officer. But certainly, I mean for my book to be gracious because I feel incredibly fortunate that I made it to where I did… but to also put out the necessary conversations that a lot of the white men just could never be able to do.”Major General N. Lee S. Price
A lifelong leader
With a lifetime of continuing leadership, Major General N. Lee S. Price has a lot to say about what makes the difference between a good and great leader. Read below about her advice for leaders at any point in their careers.
“The whole premise of leadership is that if you’re going to do anything in leadership, you have to be intentional about it. You can’t just go into the office and say, today, I’m going to do better. What does do better mean–what have you identified that you want to work on? There’s a lot of moving pieces that come into it. So is it your visibility? Is it your compassion? Is it your intellect? Is it your ability to execute operations? You have to get some real definitive thoughts, and then apply action steps to it.”Major General N. Lee S. Price
The glass ceiling
Part of Major General Price’s story that I personally find so inspiring is her determination to grow her career and skills while in a male-dominated workforce. At the time she joined the military, Price was in the minority as a woman. It is a fact she was keenly aware of, as one of two women in her upper-level military courses.
In her book, Price discusses the gender gap and some of the discrimination she faced during her career.
“For me, women being able to be in the military, we made such great strides, but the strides have been glacial. So I wanted to talk about that a lot and just frame that out… There weren’t many of us, and there still aren’t many of us, but that doesn’t really tell a story. The story really is why hasn’t it changed? That’s two generations gone by. So, you see more women, but you don’t see them across all levels, and they’re still treated as ‘you do what?'”Major General N. Lee S. Price
In her own words
After her extensive military career, Major General Price retired from active service and now owns her own consulting firm. Price Solutions specializes in event speaking, one-on-one coaching and advising.
Major General Price’s book provides an overview of her life and her excellent thoughts on leadership. Price discusses how she decided to begin writing the book, and a few goals she had in doing so.
“I always felt like I had a story to tell. So being a woman of the 70s, coming into the military was really different, fortunately, than it is for young women when they come in now. I wanted to talk about leadership and how it was different [for women and minorities]… And then I also want to talk about giving people real-life tools. But doing the accountability piece of being able to talk to people about how you define yourself, I think is critical these days.”Major General N. Lee S. Price