LEADership group at halfway mark in 2022 program

  • Published
  • By Robin McMacken, Skywrighter Staff
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Participants in the LEADership Wright-Patt program have made a personal investment to develop into prospective Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leaders during this year’s five-month course.

LEADership Wright-Patt kicked off in May and features 10 contact days, allowing participants to receive training, hear from key base leaders and work with mentors.

Participants develop an awareness of WPAFB’s missions, visions, goals, priorities, values and purpose to enable them to become exceptional leaders who serve the base and surrounding community, according to the 88th Force Support Squadron’s Education and Training Section program description.

Students experience a “day in the life” of various base organizations: 88th Air Base Wing; Air Force Materiel Command; Air Force Installation Contracting Center; Air Force Research Laboratory; Air Force Life Cycle Management Center; Air Force Institute of Technology; 445th Airlift Wing; 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing; National Air and Space Intelligence Center; and National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

There are 20 military and civilian participants who have been chosen by their leadership within those units, according to Sherita Smith, chief of Workforce Development in the Education and Training Section.

The group tours the top 10 major organizations virtually and in-person at Wright-Patt and is briefed by senior leaders on their unique responsibilities and what part they play in the execution of the Air Force’s mission.

Smith said leaders share their perspectives on leadership principles such as drive, communication, leading change, optimism and encouraging innovation. The sessions provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions, informal discussions, and up-close and personal exchanges. 

Participants get a chance to network with each other and other base affiliates while going through a series of leadership training classes. The topics include goal-setting, difficult conversations, communication, presentation skills, diversity and inclusion. 

“They are also being mentored by some of Wright-Patt’s leaders as they engage them in firsthand and simulated experiences, offering guidance and advice to the future leaders as they navigate through the program,” Smith said. 

The program is designed to provide participants with opportunities to collaborate as team members. Each team is presented with a real-world issue from the “AFMC We Need” initiative. 

Their ultimate goal is to find a possible solution for a topic selected from a list of potential situations facing the Air Force. The teams will present their solutions to a panel prior to the program’s conclusion.  

The LEADership Wright-Patt program concludes with a formal graduation Sept. 15 at the Air Force Museum. The ceremony highlights the route participants took to get to this final destination.

Some of the senior leaders the 2022 group has heard and will hear from include:

  • 88 ABW: Col. Charles Barkhurst, vice commander
  • AFLCMC: Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris, commander, and Kathy Watern, executive director
  • AFLCMC: Col. Riley Pyles, deputy program executive officer, Digital Directorate
  • AFLCMC: Col. Carlos A. Quiñones, deputy program executive officer, Agile Combat Support Directorate
  • AFLCMC: Col. Kirt Cassell, chief, T-7 Division, Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate
  • AFLCMC: Jennifer Morgan, deputy program executive officer, Bombers Directorate

Mentors for LWP participants are:

  • Manuel Gomez Jr., senior mission adviser, NASIC military construction
  • Wendy Larson, 88 ABW inspector general
  • Joseph Nalepka, director, Management Operations Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing
  • Louis Vance, deputy director, 88th Mission Support Group

The senior leader panelists include: