HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — During the first-ever Team Hill Company Grade Officers Leadership Symposium here Dec. 1, the base’s junior officers had the opportunity to gain important insight and perspective they’ll benefit from as they progress in their careers.
The full-day professional development symposium, led by the Hill AFB CGO Council (CGOC), was the first of its kind hosted here. CGOs in attendance ranged from newly-minted second lieutenants to senior-level captains.
The symposium is designed to fill the gap in professional development between Hill AFB’s Lieutenant Professional Development Program and when officers go to Squadron Officer School, and between SOS and becoming a field grade officer.
“The Air Force is changing every day and the demands being placed on our junior officer corps are increasing with those changes,” said 1st Lt. David Sage, CGOC president. “This symposium has been crafted to be a forum for CGOs who ‘know how to Air Force’ but still have some questions about certain things because they’ve never experienced them before or perhaps were never taught.”
The junior officers heard from several officer, enlisted and civilian leaders on topics ranging from revitalizing Air Force squadrons to progressive discipline. They also listened to senior leaders’ experiences stemming from military and civilian relationships, and they received talks on leadership principles.
“The CGOC’s goal for this symposium is to establish a forum for professional development and mentorship from our local and regional senior leaders,” said Capt. Bradford Davis, CGOC vice president. “Often, you are at the mercy of ‘luck and timing’ as to who might be your boss, and that may have a profound effect on the mentorship you receive. This forum hopes to bring multiple unique perspectives together for maximum benefit.”
The symposium proved to be a success and “bigger and better” symposiums are expected in the future.
“We said we would call this successful if we could pull together senior leaders from across Team Hill for a single-day symposium, and have at least 30 attendees,” said Davis. “I don’t think any of us were prepared for the overwhelming support we received from both leadership and CGOs from across the installation. In fact, this conference was endorsed by all major wings on the base, and was attended by over 80 junior officers from nearly all [Air Force Specialty Codes].”
Attendee 2nd Lt. Caleb Mild from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center received particularly valuable insight.
“[This conference] is fantastic for someone like me and a lot of other lieutenants who are here,” he said. “It’s good to hear about the experiences of others before we actually have to do the same things.”
Sage believes this symposium will pay dividends as he and other junior officers progress in their careers.
“Attending events like this allows people to do two things: learn from leaders who have been where you have been and to grow spheres of influence by networking with peers,” he said. “Throughout your career people hear these nuggets of leadership multiple times; I know I have. Hearing those nuggets at different times can have impact on how you learn from them because you are never the same person as you were before. As leaders we’re always growing and learning from the past. The networking with peers, that resource is invaluable. I really enjoy meeting people and events like this bring people together that would never normally be in the same room, let alone have a meaningful conversation.”
The symposium would not have been as successful as it was without base support.
“The CGOC has received tremendous support from nearly all major units on this base both in terms of assistance and finding guest speakers and encouraging CGOs to attend,” said Davis. “Additionally, our attendance rate and our positive feedback shows just how CGOs appreciate the opportunity to attend a conference like this locally. Everyone wants to get better, to get to that next level.”