On May 21, more than 100 Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall civilian employees attended the inaugural base workforce development symposium.

"I am definitely excited, and I hope you all are excited as well," Kathy Feehan, a workforce development specialist, said at the start of the day. "I hope today's professional development opportunity will meet your expectations and convey the command team's genuine appreciation of everyone."

Glenn Wait, chief of staff for JBM-HH, said that the event took a year to plan. The goal was to see, "how can we invest in our Army's civilians." He added that he wanted attendees to let him know what sparked their interest. The goal was to have the event grow each year.

JBM-HH's Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples was also a guest speaker at the event.

"Today was designed for you," she said. "This is a day to invest in your professional development in a way that best suits you."

James Bird Guess, CEO of JBG Success Academy, provided a motivational session called "Lead Like Water."

Guess, who created a $250,000 business from the trunk of his car, provided detail for "Lead Like Water." The goal was to use water as a metaphor of leadership. He explained that he watched one of Bruce Lee's final interviews. In the interview, Lee was asked about his fighting style. Lee explained that his fighting style changes for each opponent. The goal is to never become predictable when fighting -- one must be like water.

Guess said water knows how to adapt. It knows how to be hard to be ice, waters knows how to flow and water knows to change from a liquid to a gas.

He added the importance of adaptability. He said adaptability is the ability to change to meet the changing circumstances. However, he said he knows people do not want to leave their comfort zone that houses security and confidence, but brings change and uncertainty.

One way of doing so is for an individual to take ownership of his or her own development.
"People have a misconception about leadership," Guess said.

He said people believe leadership is just a larger salary, a title and how many people one supervises. He said it is not so -- it is actually actions and other qualities that show great leadership.
"The Army already gives us our values -- selfless service, duty, loyalty and integrity," Guess said.
He also explained that leader development is ongoing and so is adaptability. He said he wants people to understand that every three to four months, expect some type of change in their personal or professional life.

His example was there are seasons to get through -- the summer of success, fall failure, weary winter and spectacular spring.

Guess may have provided the motivational rhetoric, but he had other sessions on leadership as well. For example, attendees chose two sessions to attend for the symposium.

These ranged from Thrift Savings Plan to federal resume writing, developing a strategic vision for your career and other topics.

Wait, one of the speakers toward the end of the symposium, said civilian employees on the base provide a unique service to society. He said they have knowledge, training, trust and are ethical.
He added that it's sometimes vital for an individual to get out of their comfort zone.

"If you want to advance, step out of your comfort zone," Wait said. "Own your self-development."

Those who were in attendance said they enjoyed the energized speech that Guess brought to the symposium. They also enjoyed learning the idea of 'be ready, don't get ready,' and it is OK to take risks.

In the future, some of the attendees said they would like to see continuous interaction during the sessions, more energy in the sessions and continuing to learn the topic of coaching such as leadership topics.

"I was thrilled to see so many of my teammates at the symposium, because professional development is essential for each and every one of us regardless of position or grade," Feehan said. "I firmly believe that if we want to remain relevant in these quickly changing times, we must continue to learn and grow."

Davis D. Tindoll, director of Installation Management Command Sustainment, was also a guest speaker and he talked about installation reform.