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    Vermont National Guard Women's Equality Week

    Vermont National Guard Women's Equality Week

    Photo By Capt. J. Scott Detweiler | The Vermont National Guard hosted a leadership panel during Women’s Equality Week,...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. J. Scott Detweiler 

    172nd Public Affairs Detachment

    SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Women’s Equality Week in the Vermont National Guard began on Sept. 11th with a leadership panel consisting of five successful women from both military and civilian occupations.

    Doris Sumner, the Vermont National Guard equal employment and diversity manager, organized this event to optimize employee productivity, morale and retention through an exploration of unconscious gender bias and its negative impacts.

    “Retaining women and preparing them to take on leadership rolls will strengthen our force and help the military as a whole remain relevant as it optimally represents the people it serves,” said Sumner.

    The panelists for the event consisted of Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power; Lt. Col. Lee-Anne Belval, commander of Vermont’s brigade support battalion; Air Force Pilot Maj. Terri Sherry; 1st Lt. Katrina Simpson, Infantry platoon leader with the New Hampshire National Guard; and Master Sergeant Bethany Johnson, Civil Engineering Squadron first sergeant with the 158th Fighter Wing.

    Each of these women shared their individual experiences as they worked to earn the leadership positions they now hold, as well as the lessons they hope other men and women can take away from their wisdom.

    “Diversity is so critical to success and what I mean by that is we are more successful as a community of human beings when we come at challenges from a perspective of being inclusive to different ideas and perspectives,” said Powell.

    One theme that emerged from each of the panelists’ experiences was a tendency to overlook or ignore instances of gender bias earlier in their careers, however, as they grew in confidence and responsibility they each found their own way to advocate for change.

    “It really is about the next generation and society. If we continue to do what we’ve always done in the past than we will disenfranchise ourselves from the younger Soldiers and they’ll leave,” emphasized Belval. “It’s about coming together as an organization, it’s a group effort across the board.”



    Date Taken: 09.11.2018
    Date Posted: 09.20.2018 10:41
    Story ID: 293376

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