The Secretary of the Air Force Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host the third annual Department of the Air Force Virtual Women’s Air and Space Power Symposium March 8-10.The symposium will be a virtual professional development series open to all, coinciding with Women’s History Month and beginning on International Women’s Day March 8.
The symposium is planned and executed by a diverse group of total force Air and Space Force volunteers who shape the agenda – making this symposium a forum designed by the people, for the people.
Members of the DAF Barrier Analysis Working Group, including the Women’s Initiative Team, collaborated with the volunteers and served as the symposium’s advisory group.
This year’s overall theme is “In the Room Where Decisions Are Made,” with the first day focused on Finding Inspiration, the second day curated on Developing Skills, and the last day culminating with conversations on Leading Change.
"The symposium is sure to motivate and encourage attendees with speakers ranging from senior leaders across the Department of Defense and beyond,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, Department of the Air Force Office of Diversity and Inclusion deputy director. “Panelists will also include young Airmen and Guardians who will share their experiences leading change and being at the forefront of progression and advancement for women and minorities.”
Hoping to build connections and share perspectives, the symposium planners were charged with creating an event that not only fuels inspiration, but also empowers Airmen and Guardians to chart their future, Carroll said.
“For our Airmen and Guardians to serve to their full potential, we have to foster a positive culture and continue to remove barriers,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “These efforts are part of my call for ‘One Team, One Fight.’ It is the only way we will recruit and retain the best and unrivaled talent, a necessity to maintain air and space superiority.”
Encouraged by the idea that a strong sense of community and belonging enables people to overcome even the most challenging barriers together, the symposium further aims to develop skills needed to relate through authenticity and drive change. By sharing experiences, panels will discuss how to support Airmen and Guardians from varying backgrounds and life changes, including devastating moments like miscarrying a pregnancy and infertility.
Organizers believe that talking openly about difficult circumstances to better understand each other’s perspective builds connections and trust, an essential aspect of creating cohesive teams among Airmen and Guardians, both military members and civilians.
Cohesive teams with diverse perspectives are force multipliers and warfighting imperatives that enable a competitive advantage against adversaries. The symposium is only one event for the Department of the Air Force’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to ensure the DAF remains adaptable to assist in recruiting, retaining and fostering a ready and stronger force.
“The results are clear: a diverse team is a stronger team. It enables us to leverage different perspectives formed from various life experiences and backgrounds — that is what we need to solve our nation’s toughest problems — and it is what our competitors lack,” Kendall added. “We have made great strides with personnel policies and have shown getting the details right matters. It proves we value our people and respond when policies have grown outdated.”