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Workshop hears Airmen's concerns

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- More than 200 members of the Air Force Reserve team converged on Colorado Springs the last week in October and then headed home with ideas for improving their Human Resources Development Councils.
Air Force Reserve Command's HRDC played host to a three-day workshop at the Sheraton Colorado Springs Hotel that attracted participants from around the country. HRDCs, both at the local and command level, advise commanders and make recommendations on anything related to their people.
"I have four goals for our participants this week," said Maj. Gen. Peter Sullivan, mobilization assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs at the Pentagon and chairman of AFRC's HRDC, as he kicked off the conference. "We want to provide updates on current Air Force human resources initiatives and efforts; we want to provide tools and practices you can take back to improve your unit HRDCs; we want to provide networking opportunities so you can learn from other councils' successes and failures; and we want you to have fun."
In a large organization like the Air Force Reserve, sometimes Airmen feel unimportant in the decision-making process. As a First-Term Airman Panel-member at the Human Resources Development Council conference, Senior Airman Nicole Cyrus, a personnelist from the 728th Airlift Squadron, discovered that Air Force leaders appreciate and respect the opinions servicemembers of all ranks, career fields, races and sexes.
"I realized how our experiences, diverse backgrounds, opinions and values are heard by senior leaders and command chiefs," said Airman Cyrus, who was selected to participate with six other Airmen on the First-Term Airman's Panel.
"I was nominated to sit on the panel to answer questions from senior Air Force Reserve leaders, attend break out sessions, and speak about the diversity within our wings. I was very encouraged by the warm reception we received as first-termers."
Airman Cyrus has served in the Reserve for a little more than a year now.
"Airmen want to know about career opportunities, to be recognized, earn awards, sit on various panels, and represent the Reserve," she said. "We are all very different people, but we share many of the same goals regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, financial situations, or career paths. Many of the panel questions related to what we would like to see change in the Air Force, what the climate was like at our units, the mentoring program, and whether or not we needed more training."
Airman Cyrus left feeling more inspired to volunteer with the HRDC, participate in outreach programs with Washington state schools, and support the 728th AS as best she can.
"Within my squadron, I plan to assist our new Airmen in anyway I can, so that they are comfortable within the squadron and know how they are contributing to the overall mission," she said. "I think it's important to know how we can improve ourselves within the Air Force and make this career everything we want it to be."
(Bo Joyner, Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs, contributed to this story.)