The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote nationally on Aug. 18, 1920. Women’s Equality Day is celebrated Aug. 26 on the anniversary of the official signing of the proclamation. As the first female senior enlisted adviser for the Communications-Electronics Command, it’s a unique privilege to carry on this legacy of equity and justice.I’ve been lucky to have several people to look up to and inspire me along my journey, such as my many family members who have served in the military. My father was a highly decorated with valor Vietnam veteran and personal hero of mine. He was the second oldest of 12 siblings and the oldest son. Many of his younger siblings were somewhat close to my age, including his youngest sister, Donna. My Aunt Donna was in high school when I was in grade school.She doesn’t know this, but I looked up to her as a role model. She was good at everything. She played varsity sports, broke school records in track and was prom queen. She was very popular, smart, pretty and looked up to by many of my friends, myself included. When she graduated from school and decided to join the Air Force, I took note. Through her example, I knew it was possible to do it and leave such a big network of family. I watched her leave and would talk to my dad often about how she was doing. She traveled the world and moved up the ranks quickly! I actually tried to join the Air Force, but the recruiter was a no-show, so I walked next door to the Army, and the rest was history. I have many more aunts and uncles who have served, and who I am very proud of.It wasn't until my third change of station in the military that I encountered a female in my leadership chain of command or responsibility. It was in 1999 when I met then-Master Sgt. Brenda Kadet. At first, I was extremely nervous. She was a 4'11" female senior noncommissioned officer who was a jumpmaster, fit, smart and a compassionate leader who was very successful in her career. The rumor was that she was tough and would hold you accountable — no matter what. Until then, I didn't think you could get to that level as a female, because I hadn’t seen it before. During my time working with her, I learned a lot about taking care of Soldiers, to be better every day and to know my role as a Soldier and a leader. She would spend her extra time after hours mentoring me for promotion boards, pushing me through college, tutoring me in statistics (that was a tough class) and providing sage counsel when I was challenged in various leadership roles I would hold through the years.She faced many obstacles and adversities in her career, but she continued to do her job with utmost professionalism and pride. She would always challenge those who didn't do their jobs, seniors, peers and subordinates alike, and for that she had many experiences to share. No matter the time of day, she always made herself available, and I appreciated that. She was extremely successful, and after 30-plus years of service, she retired as a command sergeant major at the nominative level. To this day, I continue to leverage her counsel and mentorship. She has become a great leader, mentor, friend and family member to me. I work hard every day to be the leader she taught me to be, and I share that with as many as I can in the Army. She is a hero to me and I have always looked up to her. I believe many have.There are many additional women who have come before me who have pushed the standards just a bit further each time. Maj. Gen. Carol Timmons, who was the first female adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard, passed away earlier this month. She is a great example of another female military leader who accomplished many great firsts during her exemplary 42-year career. She was also one of the highest ranking openly LGBTQ+ service members. Timmons enlisted in 1977 as a member of the Delaware Air National Guard and was the first female air policeman for the 166th Airlift Wing. Timmons was a veteran of seven overseas combat deployments: Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Joint Guard, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve. She also logged more than 400 combat flight hours. I am proud to continue to build on this great momentum powered by the women before us.As I’ve previously shared, I want other female Soldiers to know that anything is possible. The sky’s the limit; we can all do what we want to do. That is the great thing about serving in the Army; you can do anything you want to do. It’s important that every Soldier, regardless of race or gender, know they can achieve their full potential. Every Soldier should have at least one mentor to help them grow as a Soldier and leader. Remember, we are even stronger when we work together to achieve those goals.People First, Winning Matters, Army Strong!