KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – More than 30 female Soldiers, Airmen, civil service employees, and spouses from Kaiserslautern to Belgium, were welcomed to empower one another at the inaugural “Sisters in Arms” meet and greet, March 5, at the Armstrong's Club on Vogelweh housing complex.
U.S. Army NATO Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Bernadette Phillips, hosted the event that offered female attendees the opportunity to network and fellowship while providing a platform for open dialog and mentorship opportunities.
“Today’s meet and greet helped us to see if there was a need for this type of program in our area,” Phillips said.
Phillips shared in her opening remarks how platforms like SIA impacts communities and change the formalities of how dialogue between ranks serves as mentorship tools.
“Where I’m sitting today, I’m the only female, my peers are male,” Phillips said. “Some days I look around and realize I don’t have another female around to talk with, or hang out with. I’m here to share, you are not alone. The mentorship available and years of experience in this room alone is why SIA is needed and valued. Where else could you have the opportunity for a female PFC and female CSM openly discuss life concerns or career guidance.”
Attendees of the event participated in group activities that centered on identifying commonalities amongst diversity and individual brainstorming activities that focused on destressing in stressful environments.
“You could tell the atmosphere was very supportive,” said Kryssy Dunford, 21st Theater Sustainment Command family readiness support assistant. “We all carry different burdens life weighs on us, today showed attendees we all have stress and surprisingly many of us manage it in the same way.”
Sgt. 1st Class Theodosia Monroe, drove four hours from SHAPE, Belguim to attend the SIA meet and greet. Monroe was a member of “Female to Female,” a ministry group at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“I was hoping today’s event would offer me the same mentorship and networking opportunities I had available at previous bases,” Monroe said. “I was happy to learn about future events with SIA. Today was definitely worth the drive.”
Phillips closed the event by saying that the meet and greet was just the start of what she hopes the program will develop into.
“We asked for feedback from our attendees to see how we can move forward in the future to make sure Sisters-in-Arms doesn’t become another bumper sticker but something that really coaches and counsels female Soldiers, spouses and civilians,” Phillips said.