The two-day Command and General Staff College Foundation Women’s Conference March 2-3 at the Frontier Conference Center offered informative sessions led by female community leaders on subjects of interest to women designed to inspire, educate and motivate them and was open to all female active-duty service members, retirees, spouses, international spouses, government employees and contractors associated with Fort Leavenworth.
Participants could sign up for one or both days of the conference. The first night, participants attended a painting class and a class on entertaining in the home. After these two classes participants were treated with a “surprise activity” that had all the attendees literally dancing. – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) President Spc. Justin Mabolo, Medical Department Activity, along with Marine Sgt. Archie Echevarria, Marine Detachment, and Spc. Benjamin Watts from MEDDAC, led the participants in hip hop dance lessons.
The next day, participants chose from classes in four sessions on topics including de-cluttering, finance, meditation, women’s health, entrepreneurship, federal employment preference for military spouses, patio gardening, the Army Wellness Center, using cooking oils and vinegars, personal and professional development, baking, and advice for parents on transitioning schools.
Courtney Smith, administrative assistant at Northrop Grumman, attended the Women and Money class led by Bonnie Humphrey and Carrie Clark with the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association. The class highlighted how to create a financial plan, choosing an adviser, how to allocate assets, retirement, and how to implement a financial plan.
“I think it’s really important for women of all ages to be financially responsible and to learn what our options are,” Smith said. “Investing is an important thing.”
Army spouse Cassandra Beldowicz said the conference provided her the opportunity to meet new people and come away with some more knowledge about how to be more successful in her life.
“The women’s conference had some great topics that were being offered that I wanted to learn more about,” Beldowicz said. This (Women and Money class) was actually one of the main ones. My husband and I talk about financial planning for our future, but I don’t always know exactly what he’s talking about.”
The conference closed with remarks from Corie Weathers, 2015 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. Weathers is a licensed professional counselor who has worked with military families struggling with the effects of war. In 2009, she served as careteam coordinator for the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, at Fort Carson, Colo. Her husband, Matthew Weathers, served as the brigade chaplain. Twelve soldiers died in that one deployment and Corie helped surviving family members with the grieving process. She was nominated by her husband for the spouse of the year award.
During the Women’s Conference, she spoke about her experiences as AFI’s MSOY and marriage. She also spoke about a trip to Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan that she went on in Demeber 2015 as an invited guest of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It was a first-ever experience of sending a military spouse overseas to see what deployment is like.
At first, Weathers said she had reservations, but decided it was an opportunity to help others.
At the conclusion of her remarks, Weathers said she hoped her message and the message of unity at the conference resonated with the women attending.
“I think the overall message behind a conference like this is that we are a village that is so special as women, as women who are connected to the military — whether you are a service member or whether you work for the military as a contractor or whether you are a spouse — we have a village around us that is meant to create sacred spaces to help you get through anything.”
Karen Harris, a contractor with Northrop Grumman, attended both days of the conference and was very impressed with her experience.
“There was quite a variety of topics covered, some with lighter content than others, but all touched pieces and parts of a military spouse’s life/lifestyle,” Harris said. “The last two sessions, the one that Kay Barnes, the former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, presented and the session featuring Corie Weathers, the 2015 Military Spouse of the Year, were the ones that touched me most.”
Foundation Chairman Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Miller heard some early reports about the Women’s Conference and offered his thanks to Foundation Director of Operations Ann Soby, who planned and led the conference, and Foundation CEO Doug Tystad.
“You are changing hearts and lives,” Miller said, “and giving courage to women who carry tremendous responsibilities for their families, their soldier, our Army and our Nation. Thank You!”
Original story by Jennifer Walleman, Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Edited by Mark Wiggins, CGSC Foundation News
The Foundation extends special thanks to all the sponsors,
presenters and volunteers who made this conference a success:
- Kay Waldo Barnes, Distinguished Prof. Public Leadership, Park Univ.
- Jackie Basilotta, Bisque-It
- Carrie Clark, AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust
- Missie Darnley, First Taste Olive Oils & Vinegars
- Bonnie Humphrey, AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust
- Ursula Jurgens, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center
- Robin Krasnesky, Leavenworth Yoga Co-op
- Bill Kromer, Leavenworth City Market
- Joy Kromer, Leavenworth City Market
- Spc. Justin Mabolo, BOSS Program
- Stacy McCowen, Candle Queen Candles
- Karla Robinson, Munson Army Health Center
- Kim Shoffner, Military Child Education Coalition
- Samuel Vogele, Army Wellness Center
- Kim Young, Leave it to Kim
A special thanks goes to Corie Weathers who so admirably shares her insights of being part of the Army family and big supporter of her Soldier.
Thanks to our local businesses who generously donated door prizes:
- Ten Penny Restaurant
- Crimson Hill Soapworks
- Artistic Works by Lu
- Bella Vita Salon & Day Spa
- Harbor Lights Coffee Shop
- Elemental Wellness Spa
- Meadows Quilting & Sewing
- DorMail, Inc.
- Kansas Country Store
- House of Hair
Thanks to those special persons who supported the Conference:
- FMWR: Glenn Hewitt, Mary Manago, Dustin Brown, Marc George and Zack Stephens.
- Fort Leavenworth Lamp: Prudence Siebert, Jennifer Walleman and Bob Kerr
- CGSC Foundation Board of Trustees
- Logo Design: Marilyn Jennings, Owner, Design Rabbit
- IHG Army Hotels: Rebecca Fisher & Natalie Miers
- Armed Forces Insurance: Lori Simmons
- MHW Public Relations and Communications: Mark H. Wiggins
And thanks again to all the sponsors: