Who is Lieutenant Junior Grade Tiffara Welch?
My name is Tiffara Welch, I am a confident, outgoing and driven 27-year-old from a quiet little village in the Belize district called Burrell boom village.
You have completed 10 years of Coast Guard service. Give us a general overview from recruit to LTJG. Is the CG what you expected?
I was recruited in the Belize Coast Guard at the age of 17 in 2011 and was promoted to Seaman Apprentice upon the completion of training. In December of 2012, I received my second promotion to Seaman. After serving two years in rank, I took part in an Officer selection board and was selected as one of the top 3 persons who excelled and was chosen to become Officer candidates. In July of 2014, I went to Officer Candidate school in New London, Connecticut where I successfully completed training and returned as an Ensign in the Belize Coast Guard. Since then, my career took a unique turn but regardless of the journey I was officially commissioned in 2019 and have since been serving as a platoon commander, Patrol Commander and coxswain, Acting Sector 2IC and Acting Sector Commander when required.
When I first enlisted in the Belize Coast Guard, I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into but I knew whatever it was, it was not going to be an easy journey. I came in with eyes wide opened believing in my capabilities and believing that if I worked hard enough it would be a challenging but fulfilling career. Being a part of the Belize Coast Guard for the past 10 years have proved to be exactly that; both challenging and fulfilling.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in the service?
Most might think that as a woman in the military the most challenging part would be the physically strenuous aspects. Personally I find that to be the easy part, my biggest challenge thus far has been mentally and emotionally navigating both my administrative and operational responsibilities; finding balance to maintain poise, progress and success regardless of the circumstances. Learning to balance empathy and discipline as a young leader while developing and refining my capabilities to be recognized on the same level as my male counterparts within our ranks and when dealing with civilians operationally. I have never made gender an obstacle or a point to mention in my personal development however, I would be naïve not to admit that there is an underlying gender label that sometimes make me feel as though I have to work twice as hard and be extraordinary to earn the same respect as what is given to the men simply because they are men. In that regard I welcome the challenges, I learn from every experience and use it to grow in positive ways.
Tell us about furthering your education
Currently I am attending the University of the West Indies Open Campus, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology and minoring in Human resource management. After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I plan to further study to attain a Master’s degree at a military institution if possible.
Where do you do you see yourself in the next ten years?
In 10 years, I aspire to be Holding the rank of a Lieutenant Commander with serving in a high command position.