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News > Senior panel: leadership isn't gender dependent
Senior panel: leadership isn't gender dependent

Posted 4/4/2012   Updated 4/4/2012 Email story   Print story


by Jon Hanson
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs

4/4/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas  -- Six female leaders shared their perspective on Air Force life and careers during a March 28 Air Force Personnel Center's professional development council seminar, illustrating that leadership isn't gender dependent.

The seminar highlighted the success of women in the Air Force as Women's History Month ended March 31. Panel members gave their point of views on the challenges and benefits of pushing yourself to excel.

Panel members were Barbara Sisson, Air Education and Training Command director of logistics, installations and mission support; Cynthia Garcia, AFPC deputy director of operations and civilian integration; Col. Lori LaVezzi, AFPC chief of sustainment division; Col. Deborah Landry, AFPC chief of Airmen assignments; Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Parker, AFPC chief of skills management branch; and Chief Master Sgt. Teresa Denton-Price, senior enlisted advisor to instructional delivery division of medical education and training campus at Fort Sam Houston.

The panelists talked about their career experiences and the elements in their lives that helped them achieve their goals. All advised attendees to evaluate every career move as an opportunity to succeed.

"One piece of advice I can give is, keep your eyes open," LaVezzi said. "You never know what opportunity will come up."

Garcia not only agreed but emphasized individual responsibility in handling the opportunities that arise.

"When people raise the bar for you, you have two choices -- either go with it or sit back and do nothing," she said.

"I've never taken a job because of where it would get me," Landry added. "I took them because that's what I wanted to do and how I wanted to serve. You have to just grab those opportunities and make the best of them. It's not about who you are, what you wear, what color you are or anything -- it's what you make of every situation."

Panelists also agreed that success comes to those who make the most of their job and assignment.

"There is never a bad assignment -- it's what you make of it," Parker said. "I believe when you go somewhere you should know what you want out of it."

That knowledge may mean the difference between being a leader versus a manager.

"I don't consider myself a manager, I consider myself a leader," Sisson explained. "You manage things, you don't manage people. You lead people. Just because you are in a particular position doesn't mean people are going to respect you. You have to earn their trust, earn their respect by being who you are, being comfortable in your skin and treat them how you want to be treated."

From the perspective of an Airman in a multi-service environment, the golden rule is a deal maker, Denton-Price said. The chief has by her leadership example established a strong relationship with other services' members.

"We are all one team, and joint service opportunities will help us develop," Denton-Price said.

"When you are leading, people know what you are doing because you care, not because you can," Parker added. "By virtue of your rank or position there are things you can do, but are you doing them for the right reason? If people believe you are doing it for the right reason, regardless if they agree with it or not, they will follow you and respect your decision."

Panel members also responded to questions on balancing work and family. Every panelist advocates exercise as a great tool to relieve stress.

"I don't take work home with me or I won't be able to spend quality time with my family," Landry said. "There are times you have to work late, but there are times it can wait and you just have to walk away."

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