One corps cadet’s story
Professional success credited to corps cadets.
Many think of corps cadets as simply a spiritual discipleship program, but Shirley Louangamath knows that what she learned in corps cadets has impacted her life even beyond Salvation Army corps life and ministry.
Shirley was born in communist-controlled Laos in Southeast Asia, but she and her family managed to escape that country’s oppressive regime when she was 4-years-old, crossing the Mekong River into Thailand by night while communist soldiers took shots at them. Miraculously, they all survived that ordeal, eventually making their way as refugees to the U.S. in 1980.
Some would think that this little refugee girl wouldn’t have much of a chance of going very far in life, but something happened that helped pave her way to a bright future. Her family met The Salvation Army and from that day, caring Salvation Army leaders enriched her life with youth programs like singing company, junior band and corps cadets.
Today Shirley is a 32-year-old business woman working for an IT consulting firm as senior vice president of Operations and Business Development, managing 70 employees and their projects, all while finishing up her degree in Business Administration at UC Berkeley. She attends different Salvation Army corps throughout the U.S. as her extensive business travel schedule allows. When she is able, she enjoys helping corps with community relations and leading Bible studies.
Shirley is very clear with anyone who asks about the foundation for her success in the corporate world. “Many of the skills I rely on every day in my job I learned back in corps cadets. I remember being scared when my youth leaders made me speak in front of the whole corps on Corps Cadet Sundays, but that’s where I learned leadership and communication skills, as well as the confidence that has helped bring me to the place I am today.”