MacDill hosts panel in honor of Women's history Month

6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Story by Senior Airman Michael Ellis

Date: 03.23.2012
Posted: 02.04.2014 03:44
News ID: 120051
MacDill hosts panel in honor of Women's History Month

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - In the final high point of Women's History Month, the MacDill Women's History Month committee hosted a panel where attendees posed questions to four unique women March 23, 2012, at the base chapel.

Panelists and keynote speakers were: Jane Castor, Tampa chief of police, Judy Estern, AMIkids vice president of support services, Col. Dawn M.K. Zoldi, U.S. Central Command staff judge advocate and Lt. Col. Cathy Almand, Air Force Academy liaison and MacDill Key Spouses group mentor.

"Thank you for being here where we can share and learn together while embracing and valuing our diversity," said Col. David Almand, 6th Air Mobility Wing vice commander, in the opening remarks. "We have some great women in the military at various levels of rank and responsibility. I couldn't imagine the Air Force without them.

"Also I have to be here because my wife is speaking," added Almand.

Cathy Almand was chosen to speak as a representative of the MacDill Key Spouses group. However, Almand is more than a Key Spouses group mentor. She is also a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves and a former active duty pilot who now flies for a major commercial airline.

Almand and other distinguished women from the local community shared their own experiences and words of wisdom.

Castor is the first female to achieve the title of Tampa chief of police.

"Many consider me a trailblazer, but I'm just a recipient of the trailblazers that went before me," said Castor.

In addition to crediting part of her success to her fellow uniformed officers, she also mentioned a unique tie police officers share with military members.

"The military and the police are somewhat the same. Once you swear in, you represent the police or the military and you lose your individuality," said Castor. "Even though, DUIs and arrests happen every day, the ones that end up in the news are when it's a police officer or military member being arrested."

Losing individuality does not always correlate to a loss of power, which was also a topic of discussion.

MacDill's theme for Women's History Month is "Women's Education Women's Empowerment," and Zoldi describe how empowerment normally involves others in your circle.
"Seek out people who will empower you. Find them and thank those people because they will be the ones helping you get to where you're going."

Castor tacked on a concept to the theme, recommending involving others, explaining that the key to success is surrounding yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.

Speeches were given and numerous questions were answered, and Team MacDill and members of the local community came together with a common goal to celebrate women's history through education and to empower one another.