Women’s Leadership Symposium fosters mentorship, networking
By Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 14, 2017
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command Airmen and civilians had the opportunity to participate in a Women’s Leadership Symposium at Peterson Club March 7-8.
More than 80 Airmen from several bases attended the two-day event, which recognized the strengths and talents of women in the armed forces, and featured keynote speakers, mentorship sessions and leadership panels.
Maj. Gen. Nina Armagno, AFSPC director of Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis led the professional development event, and emphasized the importance of empowering women, making connections and gaining insight from leadership.
“You are the current and future leaders of our Air Force,” said Armagno. “It’s about all of us working through challenges we face as women and men in service of our country; it’s about you taking a seat at the table and our leaders making sure there’s an open seat to take. My advice to each of you is dream big and work hard because there are no limits to what you could do, if you just put your mind to it.”
Many of the speakers shared their experiences and lessons learned in leadership roles as well as ways to inspire and communicate with those they supervise.
“My favorite part was listening to the leadership panel,” said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Holland, 8th Space Warning Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. “It brought questions to the forefront of my mind we need to address as to how to ensure we are recruiting more women in the military, and giving them support to know this is a good career choice where they have the freedom to be leaders.”
Many of the topics discussed included the secrets to success in the military, finding a balance in career and family life, as well as teamwork and productivity strategies.
During one of the panels, Senior Master Sgt. Carteralynn Ford, AFSPC Chaplain office, discussed various ways women can be successful in their careers.
“Remember to trust yourself,” said Ford. “As women, often times we second guess ourselves or take a back seat because we think we’re not competent enough. We all have a place at the table.”
While several discussions focused on challenges female service members face, Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, reminded the attendees of the positive aspects of being in the military.
“Something I thought was very interesting is women on average across the United States make 78 cents on the dollar compared to men,” said Burt. “Why that matters to you as Airmen is you make the same pay for equal work. There’s always room to improve, but be proud of that. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the concerns and issues we have as female Airmen, but know you work for an organization that values you and that is on the leading edge.”
Many of the Airmen who participated in the event had never been to a women’s leadership symposium and expressed their desire to see this continue on in following years.
Leadership encouraged the attendees to return to their units with what they have learned to lead and educate their Airmen, make positive changes in the work environment and to strive to do their best everyday.