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Gladiators gather for 2021 Leadership Summit

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison
  • 960th Cyberspace Wing

Gladiators in the 960th Cyberspace Wing gathered here and virtually April 26-30, to participate in the 2021 Leadership Summit.

Over the course of four days, participants had opportunities to listen, interact and ask questions of keynote speakers, cyberspace leaders and each other.

According to the event planning committee lead, Staff Sgt. James Lee, 55th Combat Communications Squadron cyber transport technician, coordinating the event was challenging.

“In this ever-changing cyberspace world, the only way the unit can move forward in the right direction is if we’re prepared to push forward and push through obstacles,” Lee said.

“We have a lot of geographically separated units and bringing everyone together, especially during a pandemic, was not easy, but it was important,” he said. “So we came together to get it done and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my team.”

Each day of the summit had a focus to orient and challenge attendees to innovate, understand compliance, consider change, and discuss competition and convergence in the cyber world.

However, according to event planning committee team member and attendee, Capt. Kortnie Stiehm, 717th Information Operations Squadron assistant director of operations and cyber initial qualification training instructor in Hurlburt Field, Florida, the overall goal of the summit was to bring leaders in cyberspace together.

“More often than not, it cultivates innovation,” Stiehm said. “Bringing the experts together to integrate with our mission partners and our senior leaders at the command level so we can understand their strategic view will help guide us in the right direction at the operational and tactical levels.”

The leadership summit also helped orient and inform Reserve Citizen Airmen in the wing who didn’t have a cyberspace background.

According to Master Sgt. Jeanett Vielman, 50th Network Warfare Squadron first sergeant, the briefings improved her understanding of cyberspace so she is now better equipped to assist Airmen in her unit.

“My background isn’t cyber, it’s medical,” Vielman said. “Exposure to information warfare and how cyber fits into it and the roles we play as cyber warriors was beneficial to me because I now have some insight into the lives of my Airmen.”

The summit provided professional growth opportunities along with some challenges for leadership development. One such challenge required small groups of participants to organize and plan a simulated unit training assembly.

Vielman said she learned something about her own leadership style during the challenge and was able to pinpoint some areas she could improve upon.

“I learned I should take more initiative to share my thoughts and not be afraid that they’re stupid,” she said. “There are a lot of intellectuals in cyberspace, but I realized there’s no value added if I keep my mouth shut.”

The 960th CW’s mission is to ‘Provide combat-ready Citizen Airmen to dominate cyberspace,’ and its vision is ‘Cyber dominance! Any time, any place, any domain.’