‘You’re Not Here By Accident’: Through Example, Alumnus Justin Flowers Leads His Community Toward Growth and Connection

Justin Flowers ’19 M.A. takes pride in supporting his community in the Wiregrass area of Alabama through leadership and advocacy.

Flowers, who graduated with a master’s in organizational leadership, works as the regional director for Volunteers of America. Volunteers of America is a nonprofit that offers services to underserved populations, such as veterans, individuals with intellectual disabilities and low-income households.

“We have 30 affiliates, and we are in 46 states,” Flowers says. “It’s a five-county area, and I supervise the day-to-day operations. The whole big picture is community—serving in the community, and really putting those supports in place and being an advocate.”

Along with his day job, Flowers also serves as the New Brockton councilman for District 2. His projects have been geared toward helping the community grow and making the town feel more connected.

“My overall goal as a council member is to drive community development—that connectedness, that stronger community,” he says. “Just contribute positively to the leaders of tomorrow.”

As the youngest African American New Brockton councilman to serve in the Coffee County town, he also strives to help the younger generation see themselves as leaders.

“We have more of an elderly council, so with me joining, it was my intended purpose to ensure that our kids see that they are enough. They can lead, and they can take the stand,” Flowers says.

Before giving back to those around him, Flowers learned about himself at Florida Tech.

At first, he found it challenging to balance school, work and everything in between, but Flowers says those vulnerable moments helped him find his strength. Florida Tech also helped Flowers become more self-aware, teaching him to better control his emotions and offer empathy in certain situations.

“I would definitely say two things that helped me go, grow and glow at Florida Tech were my resiliency and my emotional intelligence,” he says.

Being aware of your own strength and showing resilience are two things Flowers advises to future Panthers. He says it is important to learn how to cope with adverse situations and be able to bounce back even stronger.

“My advice to future Panthers would be to foster that feeling of competency,” he says. “Be proficient in what you have to offer. Create a healthy rhythm. Leave some room for error. It’s OK to make mistakes. Finally, accept yourself and improve yourself, and know that you’re not here by accident. You’re not a future Panther by accident, and you won’t be a graduate of Florida Tech by accident. We’re wonderfully and fearfully made. Every individual is enough, in every situation.”

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