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Women leading women

U.S. Air Force Capt. Shirley Ziser, 20th Medical Operations Squadron mental health provider, speaks during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. Ziser, along with other subject matter experts, helped lead the discussion based on the mental domain of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Shirley Ziser, 20th Medical Operations Squadron mental health provider, speaks during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. Ziser, along with other subject matter experts, helped lead the discussion based on the mental domain of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Amanda Pelkowski, 20th Force Support Squadron operations officer, listens to a speaker during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. Pelkowski was one of many women from across Team Shaw that attended the lunch and learn in order to participate in discussions about mental health, deployment and spouse programs at Shaw. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Amanda Pelkowski, 20th Force Support Squadron operations officer, listens to a speaker during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. Pelkowski was one of many women from across Team Shaw that attended the lunch and learn in order to participate in discussions about mental health, deployment and spouse programs at Shaw. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ja’daiza Johnson, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron ammunitions flight precision guided munitions crew member, takes notes during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The lunch and learn, while focused towards the women of Team Shaw, was open to all members to participate in discussions around the mental domain of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ja’daiza Johnson, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron ammunitions flight precision guided munitions crew member, takes notes during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The lunch and learn, while focused towards the women of Team Shaw, was open to all members to participate in discussions around the mental domain of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Team Shaw members participate in a discussion about mental health, deployment and spouse programs during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The lunch and learn was an opportunity for Airmen and spouses to meet in an open forum with subject matter experts from the Mental Health clinic, the Airman and Family Readiness Center and other installation organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Team Shaw members participate in a discussion about mental health, deployment and spouse programs during a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The lunch and learn was an opportunity for Airmen and spouses to meet in an open forum with subject matter experts from the Mental Health clinic, the Airman and Family Readiness Center and other installation organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Team Shaw members gathered for a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The idea was brought to Shaw by Senior Master Sgt. Mary Ryan, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent, after having seen the impact of similar groups at her previous assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Team Shaw members gathered for a “Let’s Connect Shaw” Women’s Mentorship Forum at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 22, 2018. The idea was brought to Shaw by Senior Master Sgt. Mary Ryan, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent, after having seen the impact of similar groups at her previous assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Women from across Team Shaw gathered at the Chapel Annex for a Women’s Mentorship Forum, Feb. 22.

The purpose of the lunch and learn was to bring together Airmen from all different career fields to participate in an open forum discussion geared towards servicewomen and military spouses.

“There are so many more female Airmen now than there were when I was coming up, and I just think that it’s a good opportunity to be able to pass different things on,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mary Ryan, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent. “There’s a lot of questions we have that sometimes our male counterparts really aren’t sure how to answer. I think sometimes just to hear it from somebody that’s like you or has been through a situation like you have (makes it) easier to take that information.”

Started in April 2017, the group holds their meetings on the last Thursday of every month and covers a variety of subjects relevant to women in the service.

February’s topic was the mental aspect of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, and March’s is planned to be one of the remaining three domains: physical, spiritual or social. A panel of subject matter experts from various agencies – in this month’s case, Mental Health, the Airman and Family Readiness Center, and unit deployment managers – will be present to offer their advice and answer any questions the participants may have.

“My major takeaway was all of the information about (readiness) and the pre-deployment checklist,” said Airman 1st Class Ja’daiza Johnson, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron ammunitions flight precision guided munitions crew member. “I’ve only been here for a month and a half or so, so I knew what (a deployment) was but I wasn’t sure of all the details that come with it and the steps that I could take to better prepare if I do have to deploy.”

Each meeting ends with a feedback survey filled out by the participants, which will then shape the next meeting’s agenda or format.

“We find different ideas, and that’s where we use the feedback forms – to get an idea of what information people are really looking for,” said Ryan. “Those feedback forms are really important to us, and we’ve used different discussion points off of the feedback that we’ve gotten from (previous sessions).”

The next Women’s Mentorship Forum is scheduled to take place Thursday, March 29 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., both at the Chapel Annex.