Keesler hosts LEAD-a-thon for education, empowerment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The 81st Training Wing held LEAD-a-thon, an all-day leadership development symposium, on April 4 at the Bay Breeze Event Center.

The event, hosted by Dragon University, 160 gathered military and civilian Airmen for personal, professional and leadership development.

Senior leaders from Second Air Force, the 81st Training Wing and Headquarters Air Force used this opportunity to share their personal experiences, revealing myths surrounding those in senior leadership positions and emphasizing the importance of the Human Weapons System.

“We must shatter the myths that all leadership is perfect, or that we never make mistakes or have human emotions. We must connect and be vulnerable,” said Col. Chad Gemeinhardt, 81st Mission Support Group commander. “It takes courage to have uncomfortable conversations, be vulnerable, seek care for yourself and others and be willing to fail. What I hope to see in the future is brave leaders across the Air and Space Force making a positive difference every day.”

The afternoon portion of LEAD-a-thon consisted of breakout sessions for attendees to learn more about a range of topics including performance nutrition, organization and time management, leading up the chain of command and how to prepare for the high-end fight.

The event closed out with a recognition ceremony for the attendees, many of whom received the Dragon University Wingman patch. The patch symbolizes their achievement of the first level of Dragon University and the time dedicated to professional and personal development.

Leadership left attendees with a final message of empowerment and encouragement.

“In this maze we call life, we continuously hit roadblocks,” said Chief Master Sgt. Keith Castille, Headquarters Air Force chief of talent management. “Without guidance, without mentorship, we will all get lost. Part of building up our Human Weapons System is knowing our ‘why’, because the Human Weapons System is our most important capability on the battlefield.”