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FOCUS summit fosters communication, builds leadership

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MARCOA Media
Story by Christy Mason on 03/26/2018
The 341st Missile Wing hosted a women's symposium at Malmstrom March 20-21 geared toward educating, enhancing communication and building leadership and unity across the military and local community.
Over 100 individuals attended the two-day summit titled F.O.C.U.S, an acronym for Females Organized to Create Unity and Success. The event was open to women and men, to include Air Force Global Strike Command personnel, family members and local community partners.
"The focus of the event was to help empower Airmen, to encourage them to grow in confidence and just learn from each other," said 1st Lt. Monica Urias, 490th Missile Squadron missile combat crew commander and event organizer. "We wanted the attendees to leave feeling like they formed networks, had people in their corner and felt more empowered in their jobs and in their life."
In addition to Airmen from Malmstrom Air Force Base, nearly 40 individuals from Minot AFB, North Dakota; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; and Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, were able to attend the summit.
"I think sometimes at a missile base we feel isolated because we are way up here in the northern tier and our mission is unique, so it's very different than the rest of the Air Force," said Urias. "To be able to have women and men from other bases come and hear the same things, to share their stories and know that we're all in this together builds up a great network and unites us."
Throughout the event, attendees heard from guest speakers, both military and civilian, who discussed topics ranging from diversity and mentorship to money management and balancing military life with personal life. Multiple sessions created opportunities to network with other attendees and interact with speakers.
"It's been a great experience," said Airman First Class Amanda Bulbulian, 341st Missile Wing command post controller. "I've met new people and put myself in a new environment. Hearing everyone's experiences has been encouraging and helped build my morale. There's definitely a lot of things I'll be able to take back to my office and share."
The symposium closed with remarks from Chief Master Sgt. Amber Mitchell, 341st MW command chief, who challenged participants to take back what they learned to their units and duty stations.
"Women can get to the highest enlisted rank, women can get to the highest officer rank. We can do that even while being a mom and being a wife," Mitchell said. "You can have it all, but not if you don't have the support to navigate those choices.
"We've learned so much and shared so much, so thanks for being on this two-day journey with us. I hope you carry these two days with you for the rest of your lives."

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