Dover AFB Airmen get Within Reach of goals
By Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 27, 2021
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The steps to becoming a successful individual differ for everyone. For Airmen at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, the path to success may not always be a clear one.
In an effort to provide Airmen with valuable guidance, seven top-level industry leaders and speakers from around the nation were invited to the Within Reach lecture series at Dover AFB May 25, 2021. The speakers provided participants insight on various tools to assess their personal experiences and how to use them to achieve realistic goals.
“This is a chance for [the speakers] to come and tell their story on how they got to where they are now,” said Capt Molly Morrissey, 436th Force Support Squadron operations officer. “Everyone has different life experiences, which is also a benefit of having people outside [the military] come and give these talks without just having a military upbringing, but people who have had [experience in] all walks of life.”
Participants were shown various pathways to achieve success both in and out of the military. The presentations demonstrated innovative ways in which successful people tackle both everyday and systemic challenges and facilitated professional growth by offering attendees a nontraditional training opportunity.
“In the military we have our standard curriculum and professional development,” said Morrissey. “So the idea was to be able to model it more like a corporate event instead of our traditional military training and professional education, to be able to have all these different speakers from industry come [and speak].”
One distinct feature that sets this series apart from other military professional development courses is that it provides Airmen a different perspective not limited to military experiences or the traditional military seminars.
“We did a review of what the private sector does and we compared that to what we do in the Air Force and a couple things stood out,” said Col Shanon Anderson, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “First, the Air Force is pretty good at providing education and also pretty good about deliberate leadership development, but what we’re not so good at is providing things like this, lecture series and focused seminars.”
During the series, participants were split into three groups of 25 with one mentor from the installation. Together, they rotated between three different locations including the Air Mobility Command Museum, Bedrock innovation lab and 436th Aerial Port Squadron auditorium.
Participants at the AMC Museum had the opportunity to hear in-depth knowledge from Jes DeShields, Ph.D., Crescent Leadership founder and principal consultant.
“We have to decide how to get the most out of them,” she said. “So their decisions and experience, all of that matters. That's what I wanted them to take away from today, was to start to be more aware of; what experiences they’ve had in their life that could potentially shape their future.Your experiences, the decisions you make, the moments, the crescendos are all important. You must pay attention to them because all of them matter. That’s going to bring possibilities to you.”
DeShields was one of seven guest speakers at the lecture series. Others included Wes Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Robin Hood, a large anti-poverty organization, and retired Air Force Gen Lori Robinson, the first woman to command a unified major command.
“My journey was really one that I would never have thought about. In the early times I had no desire to go into the Air Force,” said Robinson. “My dream was to only be in the Air Force for four years and a little thing called life got in the way. I learned about my attitude, aptitude and the importance of truly being the best no matter what.”
Airmen who participated in the series were left with newfound knowledge on age-old experiences.
“This [was] a very good experience,” said Tech Sgt Gene Ross, Within Reach lecture series participant. “I’ve actually learned a pretty good bit about myself and past experiences that I've gone through. [It’s] given me some insight on how I can better myself and also the Airmen that I deal with on a daily basis.”
Within Reach provided Airmen invaluable knowledge from speakers that allowed attendees to hear their stories, participate in small group exercises and apply those skills to help them on their future endeavors.
“We’re really excited for the opportunity to have put this event together in order to better serve our Airmen,” said Morrissey. “We’re also excited to recreate this in the future and bring these opportunities to the Airmen.”