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Fairchild member first NAF employee selected for DoD leadership program

Fairchild member first to attend program

Niña Needham, 92nd Force Support Squadron Human Resources assistant, gives a presentation at the Defense Civilian Leader Development Continuum program, July 23, 2018 in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Needham was the first Non-Appropriated Fund civilian employee to attend the program. (Courtesy Photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- One of Fairchild’s own was selected to attend the Department of Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program course July 8 to August 31.

Nina Needham, 92nd Force Support Squadron Human Resources assistant, was the first-ever Non-Appropriated Fund civilian employee to be selected for the course.

The DCELP is a leadership development program for entry-level and emerging leaders in the grades of GS-7 to GS-12 to develop a new generation of leaders within the DoD.

“I’m honored to have been selected for this program,” Needham said. “I enrolled for career development and I have gained a great deal of knowledge from DCELP.”

The DCELP experience develops a supportive environment that enhances participants’ self-awareness, substantive knowledge and skills.

“This program also promotes continuous learning, reflection and personal change, and encourages participants to network and participate in team building,” Needham said.

Accepted candidates participate in a series of in-residence seminars, outside course-work and a final capstone research paper while building their leadership capabilities at the DOD Executive Management Training Center, in Southbridge, Massachusetts.

“I believe Nina’s selection as the first Air Force NAF employee sends a clear message that all Airmen are important to the Fairchild mission,” said Craig Johnson, Needham’s supervisor. “It’s vital we develop leadership skills in both military and civilians.”

Selection to the program is competitive, and those interested must show a capacity for leadership, commitment to public service and broadly-defined diversity. Members have to apply through the Air Force Personnel Center and include their career and personal goals, a task that can be daunting for some, but not for Needham.

“I think the program is important because of its purpose, which is supporting the warfighter,” Needham said. “We’re supporting the mission and vision of the DoD as a whole, not just in the Air Force.”

The program is divided into five categories; lead self, lead teams/projects, lead people, lead organizations/programs and lead the institution. Throughout the program, members learn different characteristics of being a leader, how to work together, how to develop and leverage diversity and more.

“We learned how our leadership-style deals with people, situations and stress and how to be a mentor and coach,” she added.

DCELP helped Needham learn who she was as an individual and what aspects of her personality influence her leadership-style. As a leader, she hopes to cause change, share her vision and empower and inspire others.

“It was a whole team that helped me through this, my whole 92nd FSS family, and I wouldn’t be in this program without my supervisor or commander," Needham said.

The program is currently open to the Acquisition, Financial Management and Human Resources career fields. DECLP establishes a competency-based approach with the emphasis on leading self and leading teams/projects. Classes are held for four one-week seminars over a six-month period and continues outside of the classroom.

For more information on DECLP visit: https://dodhrinfo.cpms.osd.mil/Directorates/HRSPAS/Leadership-Learning-and-Development/Pages/DCELP.aspx.