Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program professionals discussed program updates, training guidance and how to facilitate SHARP conversations with positive examples during the latest SHARP Talk via Microsoft Teams Jan. 19.
SHARP Talk is a conference call led by SHARP Academy Training Specialist retired Master Sgt. Patrick Manning on the first and third Wednesday each month. SHARP TALK allows SHARP professionals to ask questions and discuss topics directly with SHARP Academy representatives and the network of other professionals on the call. The calls are accessible to anyone interested, and discussions are not recorded.
“The (SHARP) Academy has learned that we, too, have to be open-minded when we get feedback from the field," Manning said. "Although our training is taught across the entire Army, we have to be open to being taught things as well."
The talks began when the SHARP Academy determined information was not reaching the lower levels of SHARP. Manning said his own mentorship check-ins inspired the calls, and he began testing technology for SHARP Talk with small calls in May 2021.
“It’s really grown — our team now is 352 members strong. We average maybe 40 to 60 people on a call each time, and we’re trying to open it up to Hawaii, Alaska, Germany and Korea to give them the opportunity to call in as well. It started very small and spread by word of mouth.”
Retired Master Sgt. Charles Ley, SHARP Program manager, Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky., said SHARP Talk is a great collaboration, and the discussions clarify information that can be shared with a command and implemented.
Ley said even if professionals don’t learn something new in a call, they can clarify training.
“This is a great resource, especially for people that are new to the field, but even for those who have been in the field for quite a while because there are so many things that are published that impact our program," Ley said. "The SHARP Academy pushes out some great training, and they clarify what these training support packages mean, how they’re supposed to be implemented.”
Manning said professionals from higher headquarters join the call to answer policy-based questions. If participants in the discussion cannot answer a question, Manning and co-workers look into it and explain findings on the next call.
Retired 1st Sgt. Chinita Reid-Latson, lead sexual assult response coordinator at Fort Belvoir, Va., said the conversational aspect of the SHARP Talk is valuable.
“What I really like about the SHARP Talk is when Patrick says ‘How can we help you?' Even though they are the training component of SHARP, they always ask for ideas for better training, and I really appreciate that,” Reid-Latson said.
Manning said he reaches out to the SHARP community for input on projects and encourages a network.
Ley said having professionals from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and Army Resilience Directorate SHARP office join the calls has helped legitimize the forum.
“(SHARP Talk) has morphed into a great mentorship forum for people within the SHARP program," Ley said. "I applaud them for allowing that to happen and enabling people to reach out to them and answer those questions they might not be able to get answers to from different venues."
SHARP Talk is hosted the first and third Wednesday of every month. For more information email Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org or searching Microsoft Teams for the team code "ltmzbgs."