FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES
FORT BLISS, Texas - Command Sgt. Maj Jane Baldwin, command sergeant major, 2206th Mobilization Support Battalion, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, facilitated the first mentoring circle for the El Paso (Fort Bliss) Women’s Mentorship Network at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here Dec. 8, 2015.
The session aimed to empower women in the armed forces to reach their full potential by cultivating strong mentorship networks and communities.
Baldwin, in collaboration with Maj. Shalanda F. Del Rio, brigade S-2, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, started the group on Facebook. After the page’s launch, two dozen Soldiers participated in the first meet and greet.
“We all need mentors,” Baldwin said. “If we have mentors, we are more likely to succeed, develop and move up in organizations.”
The Women’s Mentorship Network started in February 2013 after a group of women officers at Fort Hood, Texas, recognized the need to create mentorship opportunities. After spreading mentoring circles throughout Fort Hood, the women recognized the success of the program and decided to create a formal network. In January 2014, members of the network celebrated the group’s official launch with a leadership clinic for participants across the installation.
Del Rio started the group in El Paso to fill the void of women mentors.
“The 1st Armored Division commander is highly interested in this program being successful,” Del Rio said. “It has the backing of the highest leadership on the post to ensure females have the opportunity to find (and) become a mentor and expand their untapped potential with guidance and advice from experienced leaders.”
“Younger females in the service need to see other women who are successful in their line of work,” Del Rio said. “It’s extremely motivating to see other women who have achieved things that you want to achieve as well.”
Topics included the history of the Women’s Army Corps, the Army Women’s Foundation, Army women’s memorials and the Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia. It also highlighted noteworthy Soldiers who broke barriers and reshaped Army policies.
One example was retired Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia A. Pritchett, who paved the way for future female Soldiers with 36 years of service and an extensive military career. She held a variety of leadership positions and reformed multiple Army leadership courses.
Baldwin talked about the importance of women having mentors and becoming mentors for the next generation of Soldiers.
“(Having a) female mentor has its advantages; you may be going through something now that she might have been through already,” Baldwin said. “Males can also be good mentors for females.”
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This work, Women's Mentorship Network kicks off in El Paso, by Ismael Ortega, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.