Hundreds of National Guard women gathered together for the first Joint Female Professional Development Training Symposium at Metropolitan State this past weekend. “The day [was] going to be packed full of growth and development opportunities for skills advancement, communication/networking, career mapping, being a leader and competing in the area,”
said Lt. Col. Barb Pazdernik, event coordinator.
Approximately 20 percent of Minnesota National Guard service members are women and female recruits have increased every year for the last five years. With women being fully integrated into combat by January 2016, women are mentoring and leading each other into greater positions of responsibility.
“I think women are competing in the arena every day, but are they given equal opportunities as their male counterparts?” questioned Pazdernik. “This day long training is really about providing the opportunity for women to take advantage of professional development. Historically, males have been offered more chances for professional trainings, mentorship and networking. This seminar opens the window to females to have those same opportunities.”
Keynote speaker General Janet C. Wolfenbarger is the U.S. Air Force’s first female four star general and shared her insights on making it to the top of a male dominated organization. Word of the seminar spread and tickets were reserved quickly, with the standing room only general session completely full.
The Minnesota National Guard, Metropolitan State University and the Metropolitan State Veterans Network sponsored the event April 18 at the Saint Paul Campus. Metropolitan State is a Yellow Ribbon Community that proactively supports service members and their families.