First-time Fort Lee observance features 'all-star' panel discussions
March 14, 2012
FORT LEE, Va. -- A first-time Women's History Month observance here March 22 will feature two all-female general officer panel discussions focusing on the learning opportunities that enabled them to grow, adapt and become part of our military's senior leadership.
The morning panel discussion is set for 9:30-11:30 a.m. (EST), and the topic is "Institutional Education." The afternoon session is set for 1:30-3 p.m., and the topic is "Operational Experiences."
Led by Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, the first female Quartermaster General for the Army, the panel members also will include the first female promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Army Corps of Engineers and the first female African-American to be promoted to the rank of major general in the Army Reserve.
"To our knowledge, a panel of this sort has never been put together before to discuss military education opportunities," said Francoise Bonnell, the event coordinator and director of the Army Women's Museum. "The panelists represent the phenomenal talent of our senior female leaders. They truly are the living example of success among women in today's military."
Bonnell said the panel discussion was Bingham's idea. She asked the Army Women's Museum and the Installation Equal Opportunity Office to partner with the Quartermaster Center and School for the program.
"The 2012 National Women's History Month Theme is 'Women's Education -- Women's Empowerment.' It seemed a natural fit to focus our event around this theme since Fort Lee is a training center," Bonnell said. "Thus, our topic is 'Army Learning: Empowering our Army through Education.' These panels will give officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers -- especially those attending their professional military education courses at Fort Lee -- the opportunity to learn from the experience of some very accomplished military leaders."
Another advantage of the panel format, Bonnell noted, is the open opportunity for audience questions and discussion. "In the spirit of Army Learning Concept 2015, this Women's History Month event is going beyond traditional teaching models and creating an opportunity for the audience to interact with both the presenters and the material," she said. "The panel and the audience will represent a continuum of learning that has been acquired from both institutional learning and operational experience."
While encouraging everyone at Fort Lee and other locations to participate in the event, Bonnell made note of the significance of having such a distinguished panel of experts assembled here for the sole purpose of sharing their tips for educational advancement and career success.
"This is a very impressive assembly of women who have accomplished historic achievements in the military," she said. "The mere fact that they took the time to fit this into their busy schedules speaks to the importance of this event. Let's show them how much we appreciate their efforts by attending or watching the event and gleaning all the information we can from them through questions and participation in the discussions."
This special Women's History Month observance will take place at the Army Logistics University. Those unable to attend the event in person can watch it live through the streaming video link that will be available on the Army Women's Museum Facebook site or the Sustainment Knowledge Network (the museum can be found under CASCOM).