REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's leaders are providing personnel with the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation concerning leadership philosophy and receive career advice.

The USASMDC/ARSTRAT's Civilian Workforce Development Division hosted a mentoring event Feb. 22 as a way to improve training opportunities, gain shared perspectives on leadership and career advancement, to inspire thoughts and actions toward professional development, and continue fostering a culture of mentoring across the command.

"The Mentoring Event is a great opportunity for our workforce to hear from several senior leaders in a round robin format," said Tom Webber, SMDC Technical Center director. "They hear about our different experiences and perspectives about career choices they may not have thought about. By participating in these mentoring events they are showing a commitment to self- improvement and development.

"Mentors are a good resource for perspective on variety of career decisions," he added. "Those participating in mentoring can tap into the varied and diverse experiences we have as senior leaders, get guidance and advice, and develop relationships. There are different career paths so it is important that folks choose mentors with experience in their desired path."

Webber said the Mentoring Event was another great event put on by the command's G-1 and Civilian Workforce Development team and it reaffirmed the command has a dedicated workforce committed to development and growth.

"This was a single event," Webber said. "The next step is up to each individual to actually reach out to perspective mentors and commit to regular sessions. I appreciate all those that took time to participate and encourage everyone to continue with formal mentoring. It truly is a pleasure for us, as senior leaders, to participate in events like this because they encourage growth and they support the development of our future leaders."

During the sessions, senior leaders from across the command took time sharing career advice, giving leadership philosophy, answering questions and providing one-on-one mentoring.

The goal of the mentoring event is to provide a planned, systematic and coordinated program of professional development opportunities for civilians that supports both command and Army goals and missions. It is also an opportunity for SMDC to look at ways to improve leader development, professional development or training opportunities and help employees develop realistic and achievable professional goals.

"The command offers this mentoring event to its civilian and military workforce for numerous reasons," said Dana Henslee, Civilian Workforce Development Division team member. "Senior leaders recognize the importance of employee engagement and see a benefit in helping employees to advance in their career but also in the interest of succession planning, to prepare individuals to move into leadership roles.

"This benefits the command by giving team members the opportunity to meet senior leaders, and to hear their leadership philosophy and career advice," she added. "Hopefully the participants will take what they heard today and go the next step and find a mentor. This benefits the command by engaging with employees and helping them to feel more a part of the command and feel like they matter. An employee who feels like they are a part of the organization and engaged with the organization is more productive and happy."

One of those in attendance spoke of the event and appreciated the opportunity the command was extending to help employees improve themselves personally and professionally.

"I hoped to gain insights into the personal and professional challenges that the senior leaders had during their careers and how they faced and overcame them," said Justin Novak, SMDC Future Warfare Center computer engineer. "Having a senior leaders' retrospective on their own career helps you relate your own challenges to theirs, seeing yourself in their shoes along the same journey. I think it helps in charting your own career path.

"As stated by several leaders at the event, no one is going to care more about your career than you. If you are seeking change, you need to work on the things you can control. Attending a mentoring event is a great first step towards the next phase of your career," he added. "The value isn't only in hearing from mentors, there was great value in hearing experiences from your peers in other offices who are either where you were, are, or want to be. You learn from the other mentees as well as from the senior leader mentors."

A mentoring event for SMDC personnel at Colorado Springs, Colorado, will also be conducted for civilian and military personnel March 13.