FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 5, 2016) -- The Maneuver Center of Excellence held its first Women's Leadership and Mentorship Forum Oct. 3 in McGinnis-Wickam Hall.

Col. David Fivecoat, the director of the Directorate of Training and Doctrine, created the Women's Leadership and Mentorship Forum to encourage mentoring, share leadership ideas and to provide a chance for networking.

Featured speakers included Teresa Tomlinson, the mayor of Columbus, Valerie Helms, the assistant functional chief representative for Army Career Program 32, Becky Rumer, the chief administrative officer at Synovus Financial Corp, Col. Marie A. Dominguez, commander of Martin Army Community Hospital, and Fivecoat.

Col. Andy Hilmes, the garrison commander, welcomed attendees saying, "The Women's Leadership and Mentorship Forum is focused on leadership, the importance of mentorship and also the necessity of self-development within the demand of leadership. The main goal of this afternoon is to bring together leaders from not only the military but our surrounding communities."

"I'm among the many leaders here who feel a forum like this is long overdue," he added. "Especially at a time where women continue to make history right here at Fort Benning."

"I'm excited to be here and see what I can learn," said Sgt. 1st Class Denise Patterson, Colt Troop, 316th Cavalry Brigade.

"I wanted to come and see what it's all about. I'm always interested in learning more. I know that integration is happening and I want to be informed on how I can be more inclusive," added Capt. Matthew Morrell, a Maneuver Captain's Career Course student.

Tomlinson spoke during the forum, offering attendees some words on what makes a good leader.

Tomlinson said that it's important for young women to see other women in leadership roles.

During the Women's Leadership and Mentorship Forum, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a speed networking session. They were given four minutes to connect with other attendees and share their contact information.

"As of today you've made some new contacts. It will take work to make that into a true mentor, mentee relationship," said Fivecoat. "Also I ask you think back on people you've considered your mentor or mentee and use today as sort of a spark or catalyst to reengage them. We all have people who've helped us get here to this point in time. Give them an update on where you are and what you're doing."