25 ATKG hosts 2024 Women’s Symposium

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kylie Barrow
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 25th Attack Group partnered with the 20th Fighter Wing to host the installation's fifth annual Women’s Symposium at the Shaw-Sumter Farm Welcome Center on April 17 and 18, 2024.  
This year’s theme for the two-day event was “Women in Leadership: Past, Present, and Future.” Leaders across the community gathered to remember and appreciate the contributions of women throughout the past, to arm women of the present, so they can impact their future. 
“If those who attend can gain an idea they didn't have before and apply it to a decision or lesson in life, ” said Senior Master Sgt.  John Levrier, 482nd Attack Squadron superintendent. “Then I consider this event a win.” 
The symposium was packed with events such as a social hour, keynote speakers, multiple panels, and table networking sessions on each day.
The event was located off base, with a business casual uniform of the day. This was intended to nurture an open environment, where attendees could engage in meaningful, honest discussions. Each day started with a social hour that allowed attendees to break the ice and engage with one another.
Staying true to the theme, each day was tailored with an agenda focused on moving through the past, present, and future. 
Kicking the two-day event off, a brief highlight of women military leaders throughout U.S. history was presented, titled “Lest We Forget.”. This showcased the limited rights and culture towards women during their time, the obstacles they faced as women serving and their accomplishments despite their barriers.
Topics such as the “5 Pillars of Health” and “Deconstructing Gender Roles” were presented by guest speakers. A Sword Athena member and Creech Air Force Base’s Women’s Initiative Team also attended, providing information about their organization's purpose, capabilities, and opportunities to get involved. 
Each topic had an overarching theme around leadership. Ranging from identifying good or bad leaders, characteristics of authentic leaders and the importance for younger members to pursue leadership roles. 
A Senior Leadership panel, consisting of upper-tier enlisted and commissioned officers, took place on the first day to represent the past and present. The second day held a Junior Leadership panel, consisting of lower-tier enlisted and commissioned officers, to represent the present and future.
The two panels and audience members had the opportunity to answer questions and to ask questions themselves, closing the communication gap commonly experienced between the differing ranks.  
“I believe it’s important for other enlisted, especially junior enlisted, to see their peers attend and participate,” said Senior Airman Lilly Ann Joyner, 50th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft sensor operator, and Junior Leadership panel member. “It motivates more people to get involved, to know that despite obstacles they can accomplish things and that they're not alone.” 
Women Leadership Symposiums are a common event throughout the armed forces, ultimately seeking to provide a platform outside of the workplace that can educate, encourage, and empower women to take their careers to the next level.