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Empowering future female leaders: Nevada Guard Women’s Leadership Forum returns

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michelle Brooks
  • 152nd Airlift Wing

NEVADA AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NV -- The Nevada National Guard held the second annual Women’s Leadership Forum jointly at the Nevada Air National Guard base and at the Las Vegas Readiness Center, March 4, 2022. The event was dedicated to Women’s History Month and the goal of the forum was to empower and educate leaders, especially women, and work towards building an inclusive workplace culture.

“When you’re talking about diversity, equity and inclusion–and you’re talking about leadership development–those are all strategic priorities and force multipliers for us as an organization,” said Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, Nevada Adjutant General. “It makes us more ready to do the work for this great state and this great nation.”  

The theme of the forum was SAFE: Self Advocate. Ally. Find Your Voice. Empower. 

Keynote speakers of the event included Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Perry, Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the Colorado Air National Guard, who spoke to attendees about embracing diversity and empowering the next generation of female leaders. In addition, keynote speaker Col. David Chauvin, Nevada Air National Guard Chief of Staff, spoke about becoming a better ally. 

“You can’t always understand, but you can listen–you can validate,” said Chauvin. 

The event included breakout sessions with military and civilian women leaders focused on women finding their voice and self advocacy. Forum attendees included junior enlisted members, noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers and all participated in the leadership discussions. The sessions allowed women to share their stories and respond to questions from attendees on topics such as leadership, challenges, mentorship and career development. 

“I’ve taken an interesting path to where I am,” said Col. Mary Devine, USPFO for Nevada, during a breakout session. “It is my responsibility to make things better for leaders who follow.” During her session, Devine emphasized the importance of being open to lifelong learning, being an advocate for yourself and others in addition to taking care of family. 

Senior Airman Katie Grover, Military Personnel Management Assistant assigned to Joint Force Headquarters and 2021 recipient of Outstanding Airman of the Year, attended the forum and reflected on her experience. 

“I hope to inspire other women Airmen by taking the examples given today,” said Grover. “Even if you’re an E-3 or an E-4, it helped show me as a junior enlisted Airman that women can help each other be stronger and better leaders.”