When the Department of the Interior and the Graduate School USA started designing the Executive Leadership Development Program in 2007, we had Jimbo—and people like him—in mind. Even at 31 years old, Jimbo demonstrated a remarkable commitment to leadership and a desire to serve his community. In 2009, when the inaugural ELDP cohort gathered for their graduation, it was no surprise that Jimbo’s peers asked him to represent them as the class speaker. Jimbo saw his graduation speech as an opportunity to challenge his peers, asking them why they wanted to be leaders.
Is it recognition that you seek? Is it validation in the eyes of your peers or perceived enemies? Is it because you want to achieve something that you believe is not working? Is it because you want to take over the world? When you have that answer, trust me, a desire will burn in you.
Jimbo’s burning desire was, simply, to serve. Throughout his rich career following the ELDP—working for the CNMI community in numerous capacities—Jimbo always endeavored to be a transformational leader, impacting the lives of his community. While he avoided the limelight, his reputation as a humble servant leader was forged time and again. Jimbo embodied the ELDP and the ideal of leadership in ways we never could have anticipated—by being a wonderful husband to Carmen, a loving father of five, and a sympathetic community representative eager to serve others in need. Following his ELDP graduation, Jimbo inspired countless participants to embark on their own journeys to become purposeful leaders. He spoke highly of members of each of the seven ELDP cohorts, and advocated for those he encouraged to apply with the energy and enthusiasm of a proud mentor.
In his graduation speech, Jimbo reminded us of the Sermon on the Mount, calling upon us all to be salt upon the earth and to be light upon our islands. As Jimbo passes through the valley of the shadow, may we all take comfort in the light of his servant leadership, and answer his call to serve.