SHILOH, Ill. -- The Headquarters, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command senior enlisted leader hosted a three-day professional development forum last week from Scott AFB, Illinois. To ensure maximum participation and to meet COVID-19 restrictions, the event was conducted virtually.During the forum, subject matter experts from SDDC and the U.S. Army Human Resources Command spoke on topics that were in line with the Army People Strategy’s second line of effort, Develop Talent, by identifying employment, education and training opportunities, closing talent gaps and maximizing military and civilian members’ contributions to the Army.“Senior leaders from around the Army took time out to help us professionally, and we certainly appreciate everyone’s participation, making this event not only noteworthy but something we can learn from, record and playback and get better,” said SDDC’s senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Rocky Carr.The advantage of conducting an in-person forum is typically the social interaction and networking amongst the participants and presenters. This virtual event provided opportunities for a larger audience to attend the event, while still providing that interaction, and created training products that can be viewed on demand.Sgt. Maj. Quincy Rice, SDDC G3 Operations sergeant major, led the planning efforts for the forum and served as the event moderator.“Sgt. Maj. Rice has really been the engine behind pushing the ball and putting together such a stellar group to talk to our Surface Warriors,” said Carr.Although the event focused heavily on development of military members, the event was open to SDDC’s officers, enlisted and civilians. Both civilian and military members at all levels were granted a glimpse into each other’s talent management process.“The forum was extremely beneficial to all, simply because we work together, and it is important for military and civilian teammates to know what it takes for everyone to remain successful and stretched our operational reach, as we had Soldiers and civilians logged in around the globe from Korea, Hawaii, Europe, and across the United States,” said Rice.Throughout the event, participants were encouraged to ask questions and interact with the presenters and each other through the forum’s chat capability.“In my opinion, the most valuable part of the forum was the dialogue that our teammates had with the HRC team,” said Rice. “The conversations were invaluable and the forum was transparent. I really think our teammates left with increased enthusiasm and some good information regarding the process of development and the strategic effects.”During the first two days of the forum, briefers from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command provided insightful information on professional development, career progression and officer and enlisted talent management.“The U.S. Army Human Resources Command knocked it out of the park, dispelling the rumors and innuendoes, because we have had several policy changes in the last couple years,” said Carr. “They gave us a good baseline of where we’re at and where we’re going with developing talent and professional development.”On the final day, SDDC’s headquarters staff shared information on Inspector General, Defense Performance Management and Appraisal System, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention program, and the command ombudswoman’s role.“I hope attendees gained some insight into how professional development works and how the knowledge not only assists leaders personally but assists their subordinates with reaching each personal aspiration of their careers,” said Rice. “It is another piece of building a cohesive team with SDDC teammates and our relationships with HRC.”The comments from participants and senior leaders suggest the event was a success and may make the forum an annual event for the command.“This was exceptional that we’ve been able to reach out and provide professional development opportunities, and I know that the leaders who are out there are going to take the messages, the products, the data and information and then propagate those through their formations,” said Brig. Gen. Heidi Hoyle, SDDC commanding general.