National Protocol Officer Week - Graduate Profile: John Souza

PSOW Staff - Sunday, March 29, 2020
PSOW Graduate Spotlight Souza 350X234 Resized (4)

What makes a Protocol Officer the Most Valuable Player on a team?

A Protocol Officer’s ability to remain calm, collected, assertive, and reactive makes them the most valuable player of any team. These characteristics were crucial during a recent mission. What appeared to be a normal day of administrative duties and scheduling quickly turned into something more when I received a call from the State Department informing me that a high-level Distinguished Visitor (DV) would be passing through. The 25 hours that followed entailed an abundance of unique demands and unusual transportation requests. After dozens of phone calls and emails to pry information from the embassy and state department, I was able to ascertain the purpose of the mission and was energized knowing the impact my team and I would have on the event. The protocol officer’s ability to stay calm and collected during challenging situations, accompanied by the proper level of assertiveness, and reacting appropriately when things do not go as intended, are vital traits of an MVP.

What is the most important trait of a Protocol Officer?  A Protocol Officer is required to be open-minded. Every event, visit, or engagement varies and has different personalities and motives driving them. We need to be flexible and creative to come up with unique ways to meet our customer's or organizations' intent. The Protocol Officer is the first hand that is extended in relationship building. Our open-mindedness directly impacts the relationship-building process that ultimately ensures successful visits, events, or engagements.

What is your most valuable protocol tool or resource? My most valuable protocol resource is my team. Each member provides value derived from their individual experiences that help shape every event.

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