The Scott Company Grade Officers Council hosted its 5th Annual Leadership Conference Feb. 27-28 at the Scott Event Center with the theme of “Leadership through Adversity.“
“The theme of ‘Leadership Through Adversity’ was chosen because it’s a topic that we could develop answers that young officers could apply in their careers,” said Capt. Richard Anderson, 15th Operational Weather Squadron flight commander. “For example, the theme offered advice to CGOs on how to deal with challenges and it gave them useful information they can use in the future.”
The two-day conference began with Col. Laura Lenderman, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, addressing the company grade officers who were attending from the base and the surrounding areas. She spoke about how she overcame adversity in her career and offered her unique insights.
The theme of ‘Leadership Through Adversity’ was chosen because it’s a topic that we could develop answers that young officers could apply in their careers. For example, the theme offered advice to the CGO’s on how to deal with challenges and it gave them useful information they can use in the future.
Capt. Richard Anderson, 15th Operational Weather Squadron flight commander
Gen. Darren McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander, also addressed the group and spoke about the importance of determining the potential and performance levels of everyone in the organization and communicating expectations up and down the chain of command. This helps leaders more effectively motivate and develop their Airmen and ultimately bring out the best of everyone in the organization.
“Our commander (Lenderman) started us off on the right foot by sharing a personal experience she went through earlier in her career and how she got through that experience,” said Anderson. “The general provided a great perspective on what leadership is, and how leaders should know those in the workplace and how to invest your time in them.”
In addition, a panel that included Chief Master Sgt. Mathew Caruso, USTRANSCOM senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. Shelina Frey, AMCs command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Miranda, 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing command chief, shared their experiences and focused on turning mediocre workers into great workers.
The conference featured multiple enlisted and officer speakers, various panels, and interactive breakout sessions to address issues that impact CGOs and cadets in their roles as junior leaders.
After lunch Col. Laurel Burkel shared her experiences after a helicopter crash that injured her and three others and killed five. Burkel shared with the CGOs the challenges she faced recovering from her injuries and how she overcame the hardships of returning back to active duty.
Following McDew, a panel made up of Chief Master Sgt. Mathew Caruso, USTRANSCOM senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. Shelina Frey, Air Mobility Command command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Miranda, 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing command chief shared their experiences and focused on turning mediocre workers into great workers. The panel opened the floor to answer questions from cadets.
To conclude the conference’s first day, Brigadier Gen. Randall Reed, Air Mobility deputy director, and his wife shared how they overcame the adversity of their first born child growing up ill and the challenges they faced with their careers.
The second day started with Bill Clay, the Belleville Police Department chief, who discussed how he grew up up in the ghetto of South Chicago and was part of a gang. Clay shared how he joined the Air Force to get away from that life style and the challenges he faced on his way to becoming the first African-American Officer ever hired by the Belleville Police Department.
That afternoon, Master Sgt. Jeremy Wiley, base career advisor, spoke on communication pitfalls. Being in charge of the First Term Airman Center and NCO professional development, Wiley receives feedback from hundreds of NCOs every year about how they are talked to by their leaders and shared what things they should avoid when speaking to their subordinates.
A panel of field grade officers talked about their transition from CGO to FGO and shared what things they wish they had known when they were making the transition.
Concluding the conference, Col. Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing vice commander, summarized the conference and made sure to emphasize the importance of networking during the conference and how the CGOs were able to make connections with each other throughout the two-day event.
“I think the conference went really well,” said Anderson. “I’ve received a lot of good feedback and the speakers brought up good first-person examples of challenges faced in their careers to share with CGOs for their benefit.”
This was my first time attending the CGO conference. I have absolutely loved the last two days, and they have hit every part of leading through adversity right on the head.
1st Lt. Jigar Patel, 375th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight commander.
The conference gave the CGOs an abundant amount of information and advice for them to use throughout their careers, said 1st Lt. Jigar Patel, 375th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight commander.
“This was my first time attending the CGO conference,“ said Patel. “I have absolutely loved the last two days, and they have hit every part of leading through adversity right on the head.”