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    Leadership Women Texas Class of 2023 tours Fort Bliss

    Leadership Women Texas Tour Fort Bliss 2023

    Photo By Sgt. Oniel McDonald | Leadership Women Texas Class of 2023 attendees take a photo with a 1st Armored...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Oniel McDonald 

    1st Armored Division

    FORT BLISS, Texas – Fort Bliss hosted a tour of the installation for the Leadership Women Texas Class of 2023 on Sept. 29.

    Ninety women from across Texas received the opportunity to learn about Fort Bliss, the Army and the opportunities available to those who serve.

    Leadership Women Texas is a non-profit organization that develops programs and projects to advance and improve the personal, economic and professional status of American women.

    “Events like this, create an opportunity for women from across the state to come together, learn from each other, and gain a different understanding from each other’s perspectives,” said Marla Sandoval, director of business development at Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas, and a Texas Women Leadership Class of 2023 participant.

    The Fort Bliss leadership tailored the visit to fit the audience. Not only did attendees have the unique opportunity to witness firsthand the impact and significance of the Fort Bliss military installation, but they also engaged with a variety of leaders, including female service members and civilians, providing valuable insights into their dedication and service.

    Ms. Aurora Castaneda, the Fort Bliss deputy garrison commander since July 2022 and the first woman to hold the position, welcomed the Leadership Women Texas participants and provided an overview of the Fort Bliss installation to start the tour.

    “Our mission from the garrison and senior leader perspective is to provide amazing facilities and services, which is made possible with the help of the professional workforce that assists our military units and also provides a safe and secure military instillation,” she said. “We want our Soldiers, their families, and civilians to thrive. This has been one of our main goals since the beginning. We don’t want them to just simply exist.”

    As the deputy garrison commander, Castaneda helps manage the day-to-day plans and operations of the installation and is heavily involved in the strategic planning and force management activities that move the installation to meet future readiness and support requirements.

    “In the military world, here at Fort Bliss we protect and sustain mission readiness, prepare for the future, and we also try our best to do so with our initiative in efforts to make Fort Bliss the duty station of choice,” Castaneda shared regarding the way leaders are shaping installation operations.

    Following the overview brief, the ladies got a glimpse of the daily routine of the Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division. They got hands-on with some of the weapons and vehicle simulators at the Fort Bliss Simulation Center and various military vehicles and weapons that were set up as static displays, soared through the skies on a CH-47 Chinook, taking in the views of El Paso and Fort Bliss, and got an opportunity to have lunch with Soldiers at one of the installation’s many dining facilities.

    According to their website, Leadership Women Texas allows women to showcase their leadership skills, inspire others, and make a positive impact in their communities. It provides a platform for women to share their experiences, knowledge, and expertise, fostering growth and development. By bringing together women from diverse backgrounds and industries, the organization encourages collaboration, networking, and mentorship opportunities. It also highlights the importance of representation and diverse perspectives in leadership roles.

    That’s what made the tour at Fort Bliss such a great fit for the Leadership Women Texas itinerary. As a premier leadership organization, the Army brings together people from diverse backgrounds and understands the importance of mentorship in developing future leaders.

    Sgt. 1st Class Ashleigh Martinez, a public affairs noncommissioned officer with the Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs Office who assisted with the tour, shared her thoughts about being a female leader in the U.S. Army with the group.

    “For female leaders, we are only about 23 percent of the entire Army population, so it is really important for us to bond together and also to help build each other,” Martinez said. “Having a female leader or mentor can help you navigate different career choices, programs, and a variety of different opportunities.”

    Martinez feels her role as a senior enlisted leader is an important one, as she is helping to shape the next generation of leaders.

    “As a female leader, I take great pride in our female Soldiers. I have been doing this for more than 18 years now, so I am really proud to see them grow. Because that’s what this is really all about. Being able to make them better so that when they are in a position to lead, they can do the same,” Martinez said.

    Overall, the Leadership Women Texas Class of 2023 left Fort Bliss with a positive impression of the installation and a greater appreciation for Army service.

    “One of the important aspects of an event like this is that it gives us a behind-the-scenes look of the Fort Bliss instillation and a unique opportunity to meet Army personnel and gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to be a Soldier,” Sandoval said.

    “I must say I have the deepest respect for our military men and women who facilitated this tour and allowed, not just myself, but a group of women leaders to have such an unforgettable experience,” she stated.


    Date Taken: 10.11.2023
    Date Posted: 11.03.2023 18:20
    Story ID: 457189
    Location: FORT BLISS, TEXAS, US

    Web Views: 143
    Downloads: 0