Herk Nation celebrates Women’s History Month through mentorship

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Throughout our nation’s history, women have made immeasurable contributions to its establishment and progress–the women of Herk Nation are no exception.

During the month of March, and in honor of Women's History Month, Team Little Rock hosted a variety of events dedicated to mentorship and professional development–all of which were hosted and organized by women.

Throughout the month, Airmen were able to attend various panels, discussions, workshops, mentorship sessions and professional development opportunities building upon Comprehensive Airman Fitness. CAF is a holistic approach to develop over-arching Airman fitness and resilience. It provides an integrated framework that encompasses many cross-functional education and training efforts, activities, and programs that contribute to sustaining a fit, resilient, and ready force.

“We incorporated events such as a Women’s Appreciation Event Panel which included women from different backgrounds to discuss various topics and answer questions,” said Staff Sgt. Kristen Reininger, 19th Airlift Wing Airman Leadership School instructor. “We also hosted a Leadership Perspective Panel with Col. Angela Ochoa where she shared her leadership philosophy and her experience being the first female commander of the 19th Airlift Wing.”

During the panels and mentorship discussions Airmen were able to share their diversity, past personal experiences and perspectives of being a woman and their history.

All events were led by female Airmen from different career fields throughout the base. The events were available to all base personnel, Joint services, spouses, and retirees.

“I think we really hit on all four of our CAF pillars of mental, social, physical and spiritual,” Reininger said. “Not only do these events automatically bring people together with their commonalities and create connectivity, but they help us develop several skills making us better as people and Airmen, ultimately contributing to creating a strong and resilient force.”

Events like these can leave an impact on people and help them grow, enhancing Airmen’s competency in both functional and operational domains.

“Women's History Month is important to me because one day, I’m going to be history as well,” said Staff Sgt. Giselle Ayala, 19th Force Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of installation personnel readiness. “Not only do these events highlight the people that came and paved their way before us, but it also solidifies that we are important. It gives people the motivation to keep going and pave their way in life because they never know their potential and what they can accomplish.”

Reininger said that this year was Team Little Rock’s first time developing a mentorship month program of this scale. With the success of the March Mentorship Calendar, the ALS staff plan to take lessons learned and make improvements for future iterations ensuring that next March is an even bigger success.

“We’re hoping to incorporate this program as an annual occurrence, while also integrating different events every year.” Reininger said. “Potentially not just having it on LRAFB but bringing those mentoring and development skills to other bases as well.”

Leadership here at LRAFB has championed connections being integral to the development and well-being of Airmen, and these events are aimed at doing exactly that—connecting Airmen.

“I am excited to see a grassroots effort of professional development and mentorship come together from Airmen across the wing,” said Col. Angela Ochoa, 19th AW commander. “Airmen are our greatest strength and this concerted effort of a month of deliberate development directly contributes to our commitment of building courageous leaders and resilient warriors.”