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.

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
11:30a11:35a WELCOME AND OVERVIEW
11:35a12:15pLEADING IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
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
12:15p12:45pTHRIVING THROUGH CHALLENGE
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
2:15p2:30pWELLNESS DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES
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
2:30p2:55pROUNDTABLE I DISCUSSIONS
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
3:00p3:25p ROUNDTABLE II DISCUSSIONS
See Details below
Select and Join the Roundtable II Discussion of your choice.
3:25p3:30p SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND CLOSING

ROUNDTABLES

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.

The 2023 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.

  • 13 April, 2023 9:00-4:30pm: 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.
  • 13 April, 2023 4:30-6:00pm: Evening Reception and 20th Anniversary Celebration of AcademyWomen. All Welcome.
  • 14 April, 2023 9:00-4:30pm: 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.

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.

The OWLS is an event with keynotes, panel discussions, and opportunities for discussion.  The 2023 event was offered in person at George Mason University with the option to attend virtually.

2023 Event Theme: Leading for Impact

In the face of conflict, opportunity and challenge,  how do you lead for impact when it might be tempting to just get the job done? 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?

EVENT PRICING

Pricing for 2023 Officer Women Leadership Symposium and Career Workshop  Early Bird

(In Person)

In Person  Virtual 
Career Coaching Workshop ONLY Apr 13 $45 $55 $35
Evening Reception ONLY Apr 13 (If not registered to attend the Career Coaching Workshop or OWLS) $20 $20 n/a
Officer Women Leadership Symposium ONLY (OWLS) Apr 14 $150 $190 $60
2 Days: Career Workshop and Symposium (Apr 13,14) $175 $255 $75

*Early Bird pricing deadline ends: 15 March, 2023.  If you need ideas on ways to pay for this event, please contact us at owls@academywomen.org.

2023 Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) Agenda

2023 Agenda for the Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS)

Leading with Impact

13-14 April 2023

Thursday, 13 April 2023 (9:00a – 4:30p EST) Hybrid Event (In Person and Virtual) 
9:00a – 4:30p EST 2023 CAREER COACHING WORKSHOP 

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

4:30p – 6:00p EST EVENING RECEPTION AND 20 YEAR CELEBRATION OF ACADEMYWOMEN 

Celebrate 20 years of AcademyWomen and connect with military and veteran women from all services.  Open to ALL REGISTRANTS of the Career Coaching Workshop & Officer Women Leadership Symposium. Also an option for participants to attend the reception ONLY.

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

Friday, 14 April 2023 – OWLS (9:00a – 4:30p EST) Hybrid (In Person and Virtual)
9:00a – 9:05a EST EVENT OPENING AND OVERVIEW
9:05a – 9:10a EST OFFICIAL WELCOME  

Keynote Introduction

9:10a – 10:00a EST PERSPECTIVE FROM THE TOP

Keynote 

10:00a – 10:20a EST Break
10:20a – 11:35a EST BALANCING WORK, LIFE, AND SANITY

Panel Discussion

In the face of daily pressures, work of national importance, and the urgency of family, friends, and significant others, how do you maintain balance to make decisions and lead effectively?  This panel shares stories and offers perspective while offering tips and lessons learned about how to balance a range of responsibilities while maintaining peace of mind and sanity.

11:35a – 12:00p EST ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS (Part 1)

In-person participants will join a table topic discussion of choice.  Virtual attendees will join others in small-group moderated discussions.  Topics include:

  • Work-Life Shuffle
  • Mentoring
  • Power and Influence
  • Sponsorship
  • Service-Specific Table Updates
  • LGBTQ and Navigating Military Life 
  • Understanding Loss and Grief
  • Open Discussion
12:00p – 12:15p EST Grab Lunch and Change Roundtable Discussion 
12:15P – 12:40p EST ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS (Part 2)

In-person participants will join a table topic discussion of choice.  Virtual attendees will join others in small-group moderated discussions.  Topics include:

  • Work-Life Shuffle
  • Mentoring
  • Power and Influence
  • Sponsorship
  • Service-Specific Table Updates
  • LGBTQ and Navigating Military Life 
  • Understanding Loss and Grief
  • Open Discussion
12:40P – 12:55p EST Break
12:55p – 1:50p EST LEADING FOR IMPACT WHILE HARNESSING YOUR STRENGTHS

Workshop

1:50p – 2:10p EST Break
2:10p – 2:55p EST MAKING WAVES AND MOVING THE NEEDLE

Fireside Chat

AcademyWomen celebrates 20 years since the launch of the Officer Women Leadership Symposium in 2003.  Speakers share the advances, reflections, and stories of progress in policy, leadership, and the impact of women leaders over the past two decades. 

2:55p – 3:15p EST Break
3:15p – 4:25p EST LOOKING BACKWARDS, SIDEWAYS, AND FORWARD TO LEAD WITH IMPACT

Panel Discussion

Women have established respect, built trust, and led successfully over time through a range of circumstances.  Yet often those forging new paths still feel alone.  This panel shares stories and offers perspective while offering tips and lessons learned about how to lead with impact with a reminder that as a leader you are shaping new history with significant legacy and support.

4:25p – 4:30p EST EVENT DAY SUMMARY AND CLOSE

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 maps.gmu.edu.  Paid parking is available on site.  More details at info.gmu.edu and transportation.gmu.edu/arlington-campus.

Timing

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 Reception with hors d’oeuvres and open bar from 4:30-6:00pm on Thursday, 13 April.  Formal sessions for both the Career Workshop and OWLS will run from 9:00am-4:30pm 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 Reception is open to both Career Workshop and OWLS registrants onsite, Thursday 13 April.  You may also register and join us for ONLY the Evening Reception if you prefer.  Attendees will enjoy time to mingle with hors d’oeuvres and open-bar from 4:30-6:00pm.

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: