FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Oct. 24, 2019) -- Leadership Fort Sill (LFS), a civilian mentorship program, began its second class with a welcome ceremony Oct. 24, at Snow Hall.

The class has 27 mentees representing 17 organization from across the installation. They are in pay grades General Schedule (GS)-11 through GS-13.

Joe Gallagher, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill deputy to the commanding general, greeted the mentees in the Reimer Conference room.

LFS provides the students an opportunity to learn about the entire operations of the FCoE, to network, and to develop manager and leadership skills, he said. They will do this through site visits, by meeting senior leaders, through reading assignments and subsequent discussions, and working on projects in small groups.

"We want them to learn more about Fort Sill beyond their own foxholes," Gallagher said. He added that they can build connective tissue with their peers so they have a better understanding of what each other does.

Last year's inaugural class went great and through after action reports some changes were implemented for this year's class, Gallagher said.

"We are going to do more work with the mentoring process; and we're going to ask the mentees to develop a framework for a campaign plan on what Fort Sill ought to be doing and looking like over the next four to five years," Gallagher said.

The mentorship program is a big part of LFS. In November, each mentor will be assigned four or five mentees, who they will meet with monthly for one-on-one sessions.

Greg Marcum, 428th Field Artillery Brigade deputy to the commander, was one of the many mentors who attended the LFS welcome. He described one of his roles as a mentor as a sounding board.

"I'll listen to the employees and see what their interests are and where they want to go with their careers, and guide them with recommendations," he said. "We'll talk about literature and courses that will help develop them."

It was a competitive process to be selected for LFS as more than 50 mentees were nominated by their organizations, said Dr. Kyle Smith, dean of academics for the Directorate of Training and Doctrine and an LFS administrator.

Smith was also a planner for the inaugural class. He said there is less emphasis on organization visits than last year, but more focus on academics, and the campaign plan.

The class meets one day a month for the next seven months. It will be a fun year, but it will be work, Smith said. The class requires preparation and participation, but the rewards will be high.

Mentee Cheryl Potts, 428th FA Brigade training manager, said she applied to LFS because she saw it as an opportunity to grow, to meet new people, and to get to know other organizations. She said she's excited about the mentorship aspect.

"I want to pick their brains to find how I can get ahead, and get ideas that will help me in the future," said Potts, who is a GS-11.