PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The Schriever Company Grade Officer Council hosted their third installment of the “Women in Leadership” panel at the Club on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Nov. 29.
“We call it a women’s panel discussion, but these are not issues that just impact women,” said 1st Lt. Lindsay Winningham, Schriever CGOC president.
The event featured distinguished panelists: Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, Col. Kathleen Flarity, Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, and retired Chief Master Sgt. Valise “Lisa” Godley.
Burt and the other panelists kicked off the event with introductions and opening remarks, followed by a question-and-answer session started by Winningham. The discussion topics focused on: issues women face in today's military, leading and mentoring as women, and supporting female peers/subordinates.
The panel discussion generated insight to assist women with their careers through the questioning of experienced female leaders; however, a broader use for the topics was to allow Airmen, regardless of rank or gender, to understand the spectrum of gender diversity in the Air Force.
“It’s interesting to hear how the Air Force has changed over the course of their careers and how it will probably continue to change,” said Winningham.
Every table in the room supplied the discussion questions ranging from parenthood, fighting for subordinates/peers, marriage, separation from the Air Force and more.
“What made this fun was the audience questions, hearing where they’re coming from, all of the unique questions, with our very diverse crowd of moms, males, married, single people that all came out was very interesting,” said Winningham.
The panel ended with guests stepping up to speak to the panelists one-on-one. Burt’s support of open communication throughout and after the panel was evident as she fostered a safe mentoring environment for the attendees.
“We’re talking about mentoring. We’re talking about how to deal with diversity. We’re talking about how to know your Airmen and what they need or don’t need, medically, physically, and emotionally. All those things are going to matter,” said Burt.
Post-panel discussion branched out into not only the broad ideal of gender diversity but also into the intricacies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and how the changing regulations affect Airmen. It mirrors past issues involving women entering the military in the past.
“These same issues we were just talking about with women, we used to not talk about, and now we do. I’m saying, let’s just keep that dialogue going. We as a service, if we’re going to be diverse and embrace diversity, we have to accept that we come to the table from all walks of life,” said Burt.
The next panel is tentatively scheduled for March. Please check the bulletin for exact dates.