By Spc. Joseph BlackNovember 16, 2017
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Service members and civilians stationed on Camp Arifjan participated in an event that focused on female professional development at the Zone 1 Chapel, Oct. 25 in support of the Sisters in Arms program.
The Sisters in Arms program is a mentoring program where women work together to overcome challenges and achieve goals, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Leah Lauderback, Director of Intelligence, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, Southwest Asia.
"Today, my speech was meant to push people forward, to ensure that women of all ages and the men that were sitting here, to understand that they are not alone and that there are challenges and opportunities that they can take and should take to meet their goals," said Lauderback, guest speaker at the forum.
Other women at the event were grateful to the mentors for their advice and stories.
"I look forward to forums and groups like this to be able to give me the mentorship and guidance I need to achieve that goal," said Army 2nd Lt. Anjanette Zarate, executive officer, 258th Human Resource Company, Camp Arifjan.
Zarate's goals are to become a human resources company commander and eventually a sustainment battalion commander.
During the session, leaders spoke about some of the obstacles faced during their careers in the military and how they were able to overcome them.
Zarate looks to share lessons learned with fellow service women.
"Don't hesitate to be the first at things and to set your own standards, and think less about how others are performing and make it about your own personal goals," said Zarate.
"When you speak up about things that make you feel uncomfortable or things you would like to see happen...peers and leaders listen and implement those ideas," said Zarate.
Though the program focuses on development of female service members, male service members are encouraged to attend the monthly meetings.
"I think it is fabulous that [men] get to hear what the differences are and how sometimes women get treated in the service and how they can do better as men to not treat us differently, but treat us with respect. That is what everyone wants, is to be treated with respect," said Lauderback.
Events like this help to inspire service women to continue careers in the military, said Lauderback.
"We need people to stay in the service, and we need a diverse service, so I think this is a great way to do that," said Lauderback.