Day 155/365 – Women Warriors – Lessons Learned from Women in the Military

What a powerful post heading today!!!  But so worthy of telling..  I was invited to an Event of that title hosted by Financial Women’s Association, as a guest of Ms Levi, whom I voluteer with for the United War Veterans Council. I have to say, what a powerful, informative and inspiring discussion it was..

presentation of the colors at the Sold Out meeting, held at DLA Piper in New York City.

Besides being an invited guest, I had the opportunity to photograph the event. The evening began with cocktails and introductions, followed by an Invocation by Command Sgt. Major (CSM), Sylvia P. Laughlin, whom I just think is so inspiring, I can listen to her talk for hours..  That was followed by The Presentation of the Colors. The cadets are members of the NJROTC (Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps from the High School of Graphic Communication Arts. Escorted by Lt. Robert (Bob) Skibar, (USN Ret); senior naval science instructor.

The discussion was opened and the Panelists were presented.

Some of the key discussion points were:

  • Issues women face leading men in the military
  • Perceptions by male counterparts and by those under their command
  • Challenges faced in the panelists’ areas of command – on/off the battlefield
  • Differences between military and civilian culture, and how that impacts leadership
  • Lessons from military culture for the civilian workplace and skills translatable between the two
  • Any specific moment when gender ceased to be of note in the panelists’ military experience and any similar experiences in corporate America
  • Whether and how being female impacts the way the panelists lead
  • Impact of military experience on the way the panelists lead
  • Any differences and/or similarities in the way they lead men versus women, and how this has changed over time
  • Messages for today’s men or women military leaders or for men or women in corporate America.

 It was fascinating to listen to these women’s responses, accounts and ideas. I am a civilian, I could not imagine what their lives are like, so it was great to be in that room to gather insight.. They have similar struggles in the work place eg: perception of being a woman conveys weakness. However, in the military, they have the uniform to help show rank and power, whereas in Corporate America, it’s still a battle. They had some advantages eg: in the military, men and women are paid the same as opposed to Corporate America where there are no set rules.

I especially enjoyed the discussion on Military culture in civilian workplace.. I never thought of it along the terms they defined and yet, as they spoke, it seemed all too familiar. I wish more people in Corporate America had military training, that flexibility and focus, as one of them put it..

It was difficult to take notes while photographing. There was just so many wonderful points I wanted to share but I’m drawing a blank as the entire evening is blending in my mind. I loved hearing them laugh. Knowing they lead difficult lives and yet can take time to talk to us on a lighter note..

Today I woke up feeling very empowered.. Honored to have these women serve my country to protect me.. In turn will do whatever I can to support them.

Take the time to speak to your neighbour, your co-worker, a family member.. Understand that when they are in uniform, it is for YOU.. they’re not on a paid vacation.. They are protecting you in whatever capacity is needed.. Take the time to say THANK YOU!!