Leaders Inspiring For Tomorrow 2018

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ryan Lackey
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Eight guest speakers provided practical and personal talks about the qualities of leadership when they graced the stage at Fairchild during the second annual Leaders Inspiring For Tomorrow event on Apr 27, 2018.

Airmen hear about leadership every day from superiors and ranking individuals in their organization, but for those that came to see and listen, the LIFT speakers had messages that defied standard military conventions and offered ideas that Airmen can use to build up tomorrow’s Air Force, said Col. J. Scot Heathman, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander.

Sylvie Di Giusto, a corporate trainer and image consultant, spoke on the psychology of making a first impression, as you don’t only need to make a good one, but also a specific one that conveys the message you desire.

“You have seven seconds to make that first impression as that is how long the human mind takes to start making judgements about you,” Di Guisto said. “When people see someone in uniform, the first thing they generally feel is a sense of trust. It’s an automatic association impressed upon them and the rest … is up to you. Ninety percent of our thinking is visually-based, so your appearance, dress and body language all play a part in the impression that you make.”

Dr. Liz Cavallaro, U.S. Navy Leader Development educator and coach, contributed her findings on the importance of useful feedback and communication at all levels.

“Self-reviews are less accurate than that of our peers as they can see what you cannot,” Cavallaro said. “Appealing for honest and unfiltered feedback is essential for both personal and professional growth. Allow those giving you feedback to speak, reflect on what they say and do the same for them. Thank them for it.”

Claude Silver, VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart officer, commented on the need for organizations and managers to not only treat employees with empathy and humanity, but to also be human themselves in order to foster an ideal work environment.

“Leaders need to remove the roadblocks to others succeeding,” Silver said. “You don’t get points for holding back; the ball won’t always come to you, you have to go out and get it… so be that person that others want in the room.”

Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane County Sheriff, took his extensive experience with the ups and downs of police work to give insight into what qualities leaders need to encourage people to follow their lead.

“People expect leaders to solve their problems and if you can’t do that, then they won’t follow you for long,” Knezovich said. “The public’s trust is all we have as public servants, but to keep that, you must uphold and show a high standard in work and conduct.”

Stephanie Vigil, KHQ 6 TV NEWS anchorwoman, touched Airmen’s hearts by appealing to the need to forgive others in order to succeed and how to use forgiveness to help bring more positivity to yourself and into the workplace.

“I used anger to advance my career, as each success was a “screw you” to the naysayers in my life,” Vigil said. “I couldn’t keep doing it however; I needed to let go and forgive people to keep going and reach greater career heights. I’ve found success in forgiveness, as it’s a gift in itself.”

Dr. Mary Bartlett, U.S. Air Command Staff College Leadership Psychology professor, relayed her findings on the need for social connection, how it effects resiliency and disconnection those contemplating suicide experience.

“I’ve sat with thousands of people that feel profound “disconnection” in their lives, a painful state that can lead to suicide if not addressed,” Bartlett said. “There is something about breaking bread with a person that allows them to express their true selves and feel connected; that connection is crucial in every connection you have and they have, so I ask what you are doing to support other and make connections.”

Kitara McClure-Johnson, a Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) Approved Training of Washington director, gave a heartfelt story about her trials and tribulations of growing up in Chicago’s inner city and how she overcame adversity to become a successful leader.

“My mother told me that there are three types of people: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that wonder what happened,” McClure-Johnson said. “I went from gang member to what I am now and so can you. Find a mentor, pursue your dream and realize that it will take more money and patience that you have right now … but you should do it anyway.”

Dov Baron, Leadership Development headline speaker, roused the audience with a story of his quest to find a purpose in life, a thread that bound together everything about himself and his journey.

“Finding your purpose is a service to others, as finding ourselves is an example that calls others to do the same,” Baron said. “We always go looking for purpose in the wrong places. Purpose is deeply woven with pain, because it’s what we need to resolve to advance ourselves, that pain which gives us a purpose.”

The speakers left the stage to meet Airmen in person at units across the base, taking their message on the road to reach out to hardworking service members that couldn’t attend the event itself.

“LIFT is a powerful tool and resource,” Heathman said. “It was provided for today’s Airmen that will go on to be tomorrow’s leaders, supporting them in their Air Force careers and beyond to be the backbone the U.S. armed forces needs to remain an ever-effective fighting force to deliver Rapid Global Mobility … Now.”