Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS)

The Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) convenes women leaders in the military and veteran community, experts, innovators, and thought leaders to explore emerging trends, strengthen skills, and transform observations into actionable insights to lead positive change.

26-27 APR Career Workshop and Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS)
See the past agenda, speaker bios, and details for the Career Coaching Workshop and OWLS: Unlocking Your Potential to Lead Courageously.
Event are hybrid with options to attend virtually or in-person on the campus of George Mason University in Arlington, VA.

Transportation and Location

We look forward to having you join us at the George George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia on the Arlington campus at Van Metre Hall, 135, Auditorium (metro stop: Virginia Square on the Blue and Orange lines).  The physical address is: 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington.  You may access the venue by metro or car.  Driving directions are on  Paid parking is available on site.  More details at and


Both events start promptly at 9:00am EST so we recommend you arrive early for check in.  All Career Workshop and OWLS participants are invited to join us for the Evening Networking Reception with hors d’oeuvres and open bar from 4:00-6:00pm on Tuesday, 26 April.  Formal sessions for both the Career Workshop and OWLS will run from 9:00am-4:00pm EST.

Dress Code

Event attendees are encouraged to be comfortable yet professional.  Event attendees are recommended to wear business casual. Those who are unit funded may be required to attend in uniform, in which case, Class B uniform or equivalent is recommended. Speakers and Presenters are recommended to wear business attire or Service Dress.

Lunch and Refreshments will be provided

Event attendees will be able to enjoy lunch and refreshments at both events. The Evening Networking Reception is open to both Career Workshop and OWLS registrants onsite, Tuesday  26 April.  Attendees will enjoy time to mingle with hors d’oeuvres and open-bar from 4:00-6:00pm.

Nov 9 Mini-Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Agenda

Once registered, access the 9 Nov Event by clicking the link to the sessions below:

Mini-Officer Women Leadership Symposium One Agenda 2021

Reimagining Meaningful Leadership: Leading Self
Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
(11:30a - 3:30p EDT)
Virtual Event

Time (EDT) SessionSpeakers
In a world of shifting threats and vast cultural pressures, how do you lead yourself
effectively and consistently to ultimately inspire confidence both personally and
professionally in those around you? This session shares experience, stories, and
lessons from two different perspectives that will help you successfully lead yourself.
Col Mafwa Kuvibidila USAF; Captain
Faliesha Yeager, USAF
In the face of internal and external pressures, how do you stand firm in your
leadership and convictions while skillfully navigating challenges that may compromise
your values or authenticity to reach your goals? This keynote will offer tips and
insights from her experiences as a woman submariner and astronaut.
Kayla Barron, former Submariner and NASA Astronaut;
Moderated by Laura Hatcher, USN Capt (ret)
12:45p2:15pLEADING SELF
In these unprecedented times, our traditional understanding of leadership is evolving rapidly to address new challenges. This panel will speak to various ways you can lead self by personally influencing your own thinking, feelings, and actions towards your goals to better align your intentions with the impact you want to have as a leader.

Moderated by Mo and Katy
RADM Melissa Bert, USCG;
Claudia Cimini, US Merchant Marines;
Master Gunnery Sergeant Bonnie Diaz, USMC;
Major General Urrutia-Varhall, USAF (ret);
Phyllis Wilson Army (ret) and President of Women’s Memorial
How do you maintain good health and fitness through all phases of life - especially when dealing with stress, pressure, and lack of consistency in today’s world? Olympian Elexa Orrange-Allen shares her experiences and personal strategies to build high performance, maintain wellness, and find balance in the face of life's challenges - especially during these uncertain times.
Elexa Orrange-Allen — US Army Veteran, Olympian, Coach, and Trainer
See Details below
Select and Join the Roundtable of your choice.
2:55p3:00p Change Roundtables
Select and Join a second discussion
Select and Join a second Roundtable Discussion
See Details below
Select and Join the Roundtable II Discussion of your choice.


Select the Roundtable you would like to join during the Mini-OWLS One, April 13.
Roundtable I (2:30pm - 2:55pm EDT) & Roundtable II (3:00pm - 3:25pm EST)

ThemeRoundtable TopicModerator
Optimizing Work and Life Finding Balance: Embracing Your Artistic and Creative Side as a Military Officer LtCol Janine Garner Marine Pilot and current Joint Staff member, published fantasy author and artist
At Sea or on a Deployment - Staying True to Self Lieutenant "Curt" James Bushman A career cutterman who has served for almost 20 years in the Coast Guard
Dual Career Balance Amy Ryder A former Air Force Intel Officer and current corporate executive and military spouse
Building Your Passion into Your BusinessLaura Hatcher A retired Naval Officer (USNA, ’92), who built her photography hobby into a business
Skills for Success Goal Setting Greg Jenkins Management expert, mentor, trainer, executive coach, published author & Army veteran
Mentoring for Impact, Collaboration, and Growth Melody Gratic, M.A.Ed Army veteran, business owner and International Trainer and Certified Coach
Decision MakingMo Barrett A former pilot, AF Colonel, (USAFA, ’93), expert leadership coach, comedian, and storyteller
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Shari Silverman, recently retired AF Colonel (USAFA, ’91), board certification in Orthopedics PT
Health and Wellness Alternative Health Tracy Lorenz Former AF helicopter pilot (USAFA, ’96), cancer survivor and alternative health advocate
Yoga Techniques for ResilienceShaye Molendyke Director of the Yogafit for Warriors Program and retired AF Lieutenant Colonel
Managing and Dealing with LossRev Marilyn Jenkins retired AF Colonel, become an Episcopalian priest, serving at St George's Episcopal
Continuing Discussion on Wellness During Uncertain Times (Roundtable 2 Only) Elexa Orrange-Allen Former Olympian, Army officer (USMA, ’90), corporate executive, trainer and coach
Habits to Build for Life Financial Management for Military and Veteran Women Kimberly Barboza Former Naval Officer (USNA, ’94) who is a financial advisor and business owner
Comedy: Bringing Laughter to Your Life Robin Johnson Army veteran, comedy mentor for Armed Services Arts Partnership and comedian
Financial Planning Halima Muhammad Financial advisor and Air Force veteran committed to financial success stories
Culture and Society Women, Peace, and Security Madison Scaccia Air Force officer, expert on women’s role in intra-and-post conflict reconstruction
Be a Lady They SaidBeth Jarvis US Army Veteran, Microsoft Senior Engagement Mgr, veteran advocate/USO volunteer

Once registered, access the Event Agenda and Roundtables using the links below:

Once registered, access your preferred OWLS Small Group Discussion (4:00p – 4:30p EDT) using the link below:

Military and veteran women officers, officers-in-training, senior enlisted women (E6+), and government leaders (GS 12+) are encouraged to attend.

Event Theme: Unlocking Your Potential to Lead Courageously

In the face of fear, negative self-perception, past failures, or external pressures, how do you lead courageously when it might be easier to take a more comfortable path? How do you skillfully manage your behaviors, relationships, decisions, and strategic vision to align your intentions with the impact you want to have as a leader?

The 2022 Career Coaching Workshop and Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS):

Hybrid event held at George Mason University and offered virtually for those who cannot attend in person.

  • 26 April, 2022: Professional development workshops, opportunities to network with top-caliber, military friendly employers and resources that assist military women in advancing their career goals and/or making successful career transitions after their military service.
  • 26 April, 2022 4:00-6:00pm: Cocktail Reception for both Career Workshop and OWLS attendees.
  • 27 April, 2022: Keynotes, panel discussion, and inspiring speakers in an event that brings together fellow women military and veteran leaders, experts, innovators, and thought leaders from all services.

The OWLS is an event with keynotes, panel discussions, and opportunities for discussion.  The 2022 event was offered in person at George Mason University with the option to attend virtually.

2022 Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Agenda

2022 Agenda for the Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS)

Unlocking Your Potential to Lead Courageously

26, 27 April 2022

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 (9:00a – 4:00p EST) Hybrid Event (In Person and Virtual)
9:00a – 4:00p EST  


(Refer to the Career Workshop agenda for more details.)

4:00p – 6:00p EST  



(Sponsored by the Schar School of Policy and Government. George Mason University)


Wednesday, 27 April 2022 – OWLS (9:00a – 4:00p EST) Hybrid (In Person and Virtual)
9:00a – 9:05a EST EVENT OPENING

Keynote Introduction



Keynote: Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones


10:00a – 10:10a EST Break

Panel Discussion


In the face of fear, negative self-perception, past failures, and internal or external pressures, how do you lead courageously when it might be easier to take a more comfortable path? This panel shares stories and offers perspective while offering tips and lessons learned about how to avoid simply doing what is comfortable.

  • Master Sergeant Griselda Benavides, Senior Leader, Branch Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
  • Major General Leah Lauderback, Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Space Force
  • Command Sergeant Major Tomeka O’Neal, Senior Leader, Defense Logistics Agency U.S. Army
  • Diane Ashley, Managing Director in Deloitte Government & Public Services

Moderator: Colonel Maria “MJ” Pallotta, USMCR

11:25a – 11:35a EST Break

Energizer Workshop: Colonel Mo Barrett, USAF (ret)

Psst! You’re weird.  In the best of possible way.  Stop masking what makes you different and embrace what makes you amazing.  We all have contributions to make so let’s unleash our quirks for good.

12:35p – 1:35p EST Lunch Break

Panel Discussion

The global pandemic has impacted men, women and historically marginalized groups inequitably. As a result, for women, some experts estimate that their presence and roles in the workplace have been set-back by 20 years. In this discussion, policy experts will share insights on issues directly impacting women and provide perspectives regarding the policy prescriptions and new opportunities that lie ahead.

·       Dr. J. Jarpa Dawuni, Founding Director, Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership, Howard University

·       Colonel Breanna D. Fulton, Deputy Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Department of the Air Force

·       Dr. Jeannette Haynie, Senior Advisor for the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

·       Ellen Laipson, Director, Master’s in International Security Degree Program and the Center for Security Policy Studies, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

·       Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality and Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center

Moderator: Dr. Bonnie Stabile, Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs; Founding Director, Gender and Policy (GAP) Center, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University


2:50p – 3:00p EST Break

Keynote: Rear Admiral Megan Dean, U.S. Coast Guard



Pricing for 2022 Officer Women Leadership Symposium and Career Workshop  In Person In Person  Virtual        Virtual 
Early Bird* Early Bird*
Career Coaching Workshop Apr 26 $45 $50 $30 $35
Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Apr 27 $150 $170 $55 $60
2 Days: Workshop and Symposium (Apr 26, 27) $175 $200 $65 $75
*Registration fees are non-refundable

*Early Bird pricing deadline ends: 11 April, 2022. If you need ideas on ways to pay for this event, please contact us at

Key Benefits

This event will inspire and help you to accelerate change and professionally advance yourself, your team, and your organization.
  • The OWLS is a hybrid event with potential to attend in person or virtually.
  • Inspiring thought-leaders and experts share their experiences and insights to support you where you are at in your career.
  • A nation-wide cohort of accomplished peers with diverse perspectives and life experiences — who offer a meaningful exchange of knowledge and supportive community.
  • An immersive, engaging experience with the opportunity to meet women counterparts in different services and roles.

2021 Mini-Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Series

Mini-OWLS Series – I (Completed)

13 April, 2021 – 11:30-3:30pm EST

Leading Self:

This theme speaks to your personal ability to influence your own thinking, feelings, and actions towards your goals. By being open to feedback, gaining self awareness, and skillfully managing your behaviors, you can better align your intentions with the impact you want to have as a leader.

Mini-OWLS Series – II (Completed)

5 August, 2021 – 11:30-3:30pm EST

Leading Others with Humility, Power, and Influence:

This theme speaks to your ability as a leader to humbly build relationships and gain power to influence others for positive impact.  By effectively balancing personal attributes such as flexibility and stamina with skills such as conflict management, motivation, and communications, you can better optimize resources to effectively lead teams for mission success.

Mini-OWLS Series – III (Completed)

9 Nov, 2021 – 11:30-4:30pm EST

Leading Ethically into the Future:

This theme speaks to your ability to recognize trends and strategically pursue opportunities that have potential to create value and impact for the future.  Driven by guiding principles and ethics, you seek to effectively lead your teams and organizations for positive change.

Resources from 2021 Mini-Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Events

Mini-OWLS THREE (held Nov 9) Event Resources and Recommendations are below:

All Past Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Event Resources and Videos may be accessed by AcademyWomen members.

Join AcademyWomen (free) and access event session videos and resources 

featured Panel Discussions: