Lt. Col. Mofu: Leading with Vigor
About ninety days, give or take.
That’s the length of time it takes before people get comfortable with change in an organization, says Chanda Mofu, BYU’s lieutenant colonel. Mofu joined BYU’s army ROTC in September 2014, taking command of the detachment and becoming the department’s newest professor of military science. A new beginning, a new period of adjustment.
“The first ninety days in any job is always going to be tough, because people are trying to get know you,” Mofu says. “They don’t understand your style, and you don’t understand them. It’s a very lonely time.”
He doesn’t know if he’s reached the point of complete adjustment yet, but the new colonel is working to adapt to the new position and spread a clear message about the identity of the ROTC program.
“On campus, folks are still trying to understand what we’re all about,” he says. “We’re not just commissioning army officers; we’re making lifelong leaders who will get out of the army sometime and be contributors to society, in communities, and with their families.”
Because of his own leadership qualities, Mofu was selected by the army to teach at BYU and moved from North Carolina with his family. During his three years in Fort Bragg, he served as squadron executive officer and battalion operations officer, working on plans for deployment to Afghanistan and a strategic unit exchange with the Indian Army. His experience has helped him to learn versatility in leadership opportunities.
“No matter what, you’ve got to be humble because you never have the answers and you’re always going to join a team that has more experience on that team than you do,” Mofu said. “You’ve got to go into any leadership opportunity or experience with eyes wide open and embrace the culture that you’re a part of.”
Along with his new teaching gig, Mofu plays the role of father, church instructor, lacrosse player and coach, triathlete, and, most recently, graduate student at the Marriott School. Mofu is working on his MBA and expects to graduate in 2016. He admits that his finance and marketing classes have been difficult, but he’s learning to see business in a new way.
“I literally don’t come from a business background, so am I learning a new language,” he says. “But it’s a good experience to have, to learn something different, to step outside of what’s comfortable.”
Mofu began a life of new experiences when he decided to join the army his junior year of college. After watching the action-filled adventures of army rangers on a TV commercial, he enrolled and left behind previous plans to attend medical school.
Now the thirty-nine-year-old father of two daughters boasts multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, military decorations, and leadership assignments that have taken him across the globe. He’s received two bronze stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, and two Army Achievement Medals, as well as a number of other badges and ribbons. But to him, the most valuable accolades are the lives that have been affected through his service.
“It’s not necessarily the award that’s on my chest,” he says. “When you affect human lives and move them in the right direction for a common cause, then you’ve done your job.”
Throughout his career, and in the midst of tackling current challenges, one thing remains the same: Mofu’s mantra.
“Lead with vigor. You can’t be intimidated in our business, so when it’s time to do your job, do it, and do it well. Do it with everything you’ve got.”
Want to know a little more about the Colonel? Here are some rapid-fire questions he answered.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Favorite BYU sporting event?
Favorite Provo restaurant?