Women's group empowers, mentors and grows
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Women's group empowers, mentors and grows
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

March may be Women's History Month, but for the women of WILA -- Women Inspiring Leadership and Achievements -- they're history in the making.

Created in August 2014 by co-founders Sara Laster, Linda Grissim and Annette Thibodeau, the purpose of the group is to provide an environment that will empower, mentor, grow and influence women in the workforce, according to the WILA mission statement. With goals of promoting leadership, creating a collaborative environment and providing a positive experience, the group meets monthly for lunch, networking opportunities and the chance to hear from a guest speaker on a topic determined by the group's interests.

"I'm very fortunate to be around a group of women who have goals," Laster, WILA's president, told the group at their March meeting. "That's one of the purposes of WILA, to help you live your dreams big or small."

The idea for the group was born out of a conversation Laster had with her male supervisor, who recognized the potential in Laster, but felt like she needed more of a female perspective professionally.

"He felt I needed a female role model," Laster said.

So Laster created the group, with the help of her female mentor Thibodeau, so that all women within her project office would have that same opportunity. There may be lunch and there may be games, but for the women who make up WILA, the group is much more -- it's a chance to foster camaraderie, relax and laugh, while enhancing their careers and sharing their troubles, tips and tricks.

"I hope they get fellowship and a lot of great connections," Laster said. "This is all about developing those relationships and cultivating that mentor/mentee relationship."

Currently open to any woman within the Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems Project Office, the group may eventually expand to other satellite programs on Redstone, depending on the level of interest. For more information about the group, email Laster at sara.e.laster.civ@mail.mil.