The Women and Leadership program conducted a social event Aug. 11, from 4-6 p.m., at the Frontier Army Museum on Fort Leavenworth. Women who are students, faculty, friends, or alumni of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College were invited to attend, and more than 70 women gathered at the museum for the social.
The Women and Leadership program is open to women of all nationalities, services, and agencies attending the College. Participants are linked to a network of volunteer mentors who will coach them through their academic year and possibly into the future. Students and mentors are encouraged to meet at least once a month, and social events are conducted monthly.
Program coordinator retire Lt. Col. Michelle Garcia explained that the program connects Army University students to mentors, many of whom are retired military professionals with shared life experience who have attended Army University courses. She said the program also allows students to interact outside of their classroom and hallway environments, which are sometimes the only spaces students connect with peers and teaching teams.
“This allows the women to see more of the women who are students, to find people who they have a common bond with — common life experience or a common branch or job — that they might not meet or encounter in their normal school socialization,” Garcia said. “The school offers social events at the staff group level, and there are typically two women in a staff group, sometimes only one.”
For example, she said, the Tailored, Talent-Based Military Education program has one of the best dynamics this year for women to learn with five female students in a class of 15.
“I’m excited to see how the dynamics in those classrooms evolve with the instructors they have.”
One of Garcia’s roles as coordinator includes matching mentors and mentees in groups of two to four over e-mail. She said she asks students what kind of mentorship they are seeking, such as shared experiences in single motherhood, dual military or in certain fields.
“Sometimes it’s just someone to bounce ideas off of,” Garcia said.
Monique Guerrero, interagency programs director at the Command and General Staff School, serves as a Women and Leadership mentor, sharing expertise from her four years as an instructor and her experience with women in leadership during her military career.
“Having been on staff, I understand that there is a shortage of female leadership inside the building. These women are outstanding and amazing, and they deserve the same kind of mentorship as everybody else,” Guerrero said. “The things that (these women) are going to be concerned about are things that women who have already walked that path are best suited to help them with. They’re more likely to come to us with a problem, issue or concern than go to a man.”
The next Women and Leadership social will take place Sept. 8. More information will be available as the date nears.
Those interested in participating in the Women and Leadership program should contact Michelle Garcia at email@example.com or (913) 684-3154.
The August Women in Leadership program social was sponsored by the CGSC Foundation and First Command Financial Services.
Editor’s Note: This article was edited from the original authored by Charlotte Richter which appeared in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.