By Mrs. Andrea Smith (Leonard Wood)March 22, 2017
Since 2015, the Sisters in Arms Lean In Circles Program has empowered women throughout the military ranks to achieve their ambitions.
Col. Niave Knell, 14th Military Police Brigade commander, explained that the program is in place to create a support group for service members to come together and share experiences and advice on overcoming challenges in the military.
"In the military, there are certain things that women have to deal with a little differently, so the Sisters In Arms Lean In Circles Program is a great way to get a group together and talk about how to handle those situations," Knell said. "There are many successful women here on Fort Leonard Wood who can mentor the younger females who are coming up with everything they have learned."
Balancing a career and a Family can be difficult, so having senior leaders who have been through those hurdles and can pass advice down is important in today's military, she added.
"It's always nice to have a network with a support group," Knell said.
The program is not only open to females, but to males, as well. Male leaders often attend the meetings to expand their knowledge of what obstacles their female coworkers face in order to guide them in the right direction.
"Back when I entered the Army in 1992, I was starving for a positive female role model," said Lt. Col. Chylon Long-Moses. "There were no programs, or no one I could reach out to and openly share my thoughts or concerns without fear of retribution."
Long-Moses explained the program allows junior leaders to see female senior leaders for who they are; and more importantly for who they can become.
"It provides a forum where junior Soldiers can be themselves and comfortably address females outside of their chain of command or rank structure about a myriad of topics and actually get feedback or validation without retribution," Long-Moses said. "The interaction also allows them to see their peers in action and be able to gauge how they compare to others similar in rank."
The Sisters in Arms Lean In Circles Program not only acts as a support group, key developmental leadership skills are taught, as well.
The program is free and open to all ranks of the military and civilians. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. every second Tuesday at Starbucks.
For more information, call Staff Sgt. Sara Mastel at 573.596.0131, ext. 66652, or visit leanin.org/military.