MSGL and AcademyWomen

April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

MSGL was a ‘Two Star Sponsor’ for AcademyWomen’s leadership summit which took place on Saturday 17 April in San Diego. AcademyWomen is a non-profit organization which serves largely, but not exclusively, women who have graduated from one of the military service academies. AcademyWomen provides a forum for women in leadership positions inside and outside of the military to share lessons learned and provide mutual support and networking. Gilda Reeves (MSGL Cohort 17 and member of the MSGL Advisory Council) was the primary organizer of the Summit; also attending from MSGL were Dina Frisella Zumwalt (cohort 18) and Cara Cerutti Holmes (cohort 48). Gilda and Dina are both Naval Academy graduates; Cara works in Defense Contracting, but has never been in the military.

I was the only male among about 70 intelligent and high-achieving women at the summit. I learned that these women struggle with many of the same work-life balance issues that men do, but with a distinctly different twist – especially when the discussion came to balancing the roles of executive, spouse, AND mother. I learned that military women, perhaps more than men, have difficulty explaining the demands of the military profession to partners who have no experience in the military. Some women expressed frustration that a feminine approach to leadership and problem solving is often unappreciated in the high-testosterone working world dominated by achievement oriented Alpha males. The similarities between the challenges faced by women leaders inside and outside the military were also discussed.

One of the keynote speakers, Col Shelly Smith USMC, noted how male leaders are frequently either unwilling or incompetent at holding women accountable for professionalism in the work place, in part due to rapidly evolving roles of women, but also in part due to a lack of moral courage to confront women’s issues.

A very well run and interesting conference and we were proud to be one of the sponsors. More on AcademyWomen at http://www.academywomen.org Bob Schoultz

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