SA impresses as D+I panelist

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, is the most common phobia, ahead of death, spiders and heights. 

It affects nearly 75 percent of the population. Their underlying fear is judgement or negative evaluation by others.

Enter Office of Special Investigations Special Agent Brandi Cook, who instead, embraces the challenge of public speaking.

SA Cook, assigned to OSI Detachment 242, Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, was specifically requested by the Al Jabar Air Base, Kuwait, Diversity and Inclusion Council to be one of six women panelists from the Air Force and Marine Corps, who shared their experiences and views on a variety of discussion topics March 31.

The nine-year Air Force veteran, the last three with OSI, began her interaction with attendees by addressing what are common misconceptions about OSI?

“I started by explaining what OSI does, including criminal investigations and counterintelligence operations. For the Marines, I said we’re similar to NCIS (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service), SA Cook said. “Then I asked for a volunteer to tell me a rumor or misconception they’ve heard about OSI…and heard crickets.”

The audience eventually contributed three misconceptions. The first: People don’t know a lot about OSI.

“The unknown allows our imaginations to take over and come up with all sorts of ideas,” SA Cook told attendees. “I’ll make myself available to anyone who wants to talk about OSI.”

The second misconception: You’re always in trouble when you go to OSI.

“There are many reasons why you may find yourself in our office, not necessarily because you’re in trouble,” she explained. “Many times, people are just interested in OSI itself. Again, I’ll sit with anyone and talk about OSI…I could do it all day.”

The third misconception is SA Cook’s favorite: We hide in bushes to get everyone in trouble.

“There’s NO way I’m going to hide in a bush, that’s absolutely crazy,” she mused.

The conversation shifted to how has being a woman in the military affected your life?

“Recently, I realized I was a role model for my nieces and I could show them they can create their own path, no matter what they choose to do.” SA Cook said.

When asked what the best resource has been to help further her career, she did not hesitate.

“The people around me,” SA Cook emphasized. “I whole heartedly believe you can learn from everyone you meet, both good and bad. Take what you learn and apply it to your life as you see fit.”

What is her advice to women just starting their military career?

“Help people around you, especially new Airmen,” she said. “You’re going to need help at some point in your career, so pay it forward or be the person you wish you had during a time when you we’re struggling.”

Finally, she was asked, “I have four daughters. As a father, what should I tell them?”

“I’m in the military because of my dad,” SA Cook recalled. “He was a Navy Chief who spent 33 years in the service, but he never pushed me to join the military. He taught me resourceful skills, like how to change a tire. Those are the things I’d recommend teaching your daughters, basic skills that will help them become independent.”

SA Cook’s co-workers and leadership appreciate how she eloquently represents the command.

“In addition to her great work professionally, she has made it a point to be integrated with the Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is well known and respected around base,” said SA Alana Lake, Det. 242 commander. “I constantly hear great things about her from our partners. We are so proud of her and how she represents OSI!”