MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D., --
Forty 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing members attended the first ever Women’s Leadership Symposium at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, March 13-15, 2017.
“The primary focus of the summit was diversity, recruitment and retention,” said Chief Master Sgt. Liz Cloyd, 5th Bomb Wing command post superintendent. “It was all about where the Air Force started and the diversity females have brought to the Air Force.”
The summit began with a panel of women sharing their experiences in several different career fields, specifically nuclear-capable, within the Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command.
“A panel of women really brought to perspective things they struggled with and were able to overcome,” Cloyd said. “We even heard from civilians and what those women went through to be able to grow in their respective fields.”
One part of the summit that stood out to Cloyd was encouraging women to bring their voice to the table.
“Not everyone thinks they have a voice,” Cloyd said. “Can you imagine? Someone may be transgender and question their personal value or if the Air Force still wants them. We want everyone to feel valued, and I believe this summit really helped instill that in some women.”
Those forty members came back from the symposium focused, and one thing that was made clear was the concerns of Team Minot members wouldn’t go unheard, said Cloyd.
The responsibility of solving issues is in the hands of the team members.
“Our focus is a living, breathing thing,” Cloyd said. “We are going to identify areas that our perspective communities are going through and we are going to work on those things, bring them to the table, and see what we can handle ourselves and what we need wing leadership’s help with.”
One issue resolved quickly by the team has been an ongoing concern for breast-feeding mothers, said Cloyd.
“So many moms have just figured things out, and that’s not how it should be,” said Cloyd. “We are supposed to have designated lactation rooms, but when that room goes unused for a while, it becomes a storage closet or office. We need to let our nursing mothers know that they still have a place within their work centers and they are valued and taken care of.”
Senior Airman Joanna Deal, 5th Munitions Squadron munitions custody account technician, has been working with other females to ensure adequate rooms for breast-feeding mothers.
“We have noticed there is not sufficient rooms available throughout various buildings on base,” said Deal. “We are taking it upon ourselves to ensure women within our squadron and other squadrons on base have comfortable and inviting areas in their work centers to pump.”
Cloyd mentioned that the most important take-away from the event was taking care of Airmen and ensuring they feel valued and appreciated within their workplace.
“We are now more focused on helping Airmen with issues they have and bringing them directly to the table to be resolved,” Cloyd said. “We, as a team, have a direct line to the commander and intend to stay on top of addressing any issues that are brought up.”