NEWS | Sept. 10, 2021

405th AFSB's Project Inclusion continues with women’s mentorship seminar

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade continues its ongoing Project Inclusion initiative, and this month the brigade welcomed a special guest to discuss women’s roles in the workforce.

Motivational speaker and veteran Moniek James joined the 405th AFSB virtually for a women’s mentorship program seminar online Sept. 9 titled ‘How Confident Women Navigate Conflict in Leadership.’

For women working in business and in leadership roles, James said conflict is inevitable.     

“We all struggle with conflict – at work especially,” said James, a marketing strategist, entrepreneur and confidence coach. “But we all know serving in a leadership role comes with certain responsibilities, and that includes dealing with conflict.”

James talked about some of her experiences as well as her background during the seminar. She talked about the pressures associated with work as well as situations she’s encountered where conflict was present. Soldiers and civilians from the 405th AFSB also provided their experiences, and stimulating dialog – often energetic, yet thoughtful – was offered by nearly everyone.   

At one point during the discussion, James asked seminar participants whether they were conflict avoiders or conflict seekers.

Master Sgt. Roxanne Richards, a 405th AFSB Logistics Civil Augmentation Program professional dialing into the discussion from Poland, said she’s a conflict avoider and a firm believer in clear communication at the onset of anything.

“I feel that if I communicate clearly early enough I can actually avoid situations that may result in conflict down the road,” Richards said.

The brigade’s operations noncommissioned officer in charge, Sgt. 1st Class Samara Burnett, said based on her personality she’s probably more of a conflict seeker than a conflict avoider.

“I find myself being a conflict seeker because I am sometimes an aggressive communicator,” said Burnett.

If a person or organization doesn’t respond to a request or a tasker in a timely matter, said Burnett, “I may get a little bit more aggressive with my communications, and that’s conflict right there.”

“You can still be very firm about your expectations without embarrassing or humiliating somebody,” added Lt. Col. Alan Manzo, 405th AFSB Support Operations officer. “If someone is not meeting the expectations of the workplace, you need to have that conversation that may be uncomfortable for them and uncomfortable for you.”

One the points James covered during the session was the 4-step process to navigate conflict. They are 1) identify your roles and responsibilities, 2) release attachments to the outcome, 3) activate your superpowers, and 4) invite the conversation.

When it comes to activating your superpowers, James said it’s about empathy and audacity.

“Remember that you have arrived at this moment because you have what it takes. Activating your audacity allows you to believe in yourself a little bit more, to get to the other side of the conflict and to get to the resolution,” James said.

Attendees seemed to relate well to that statement and everything James presented.

What’s really impressive is the fabulous mix of attendees at today’s session, said Jody Fasko, the 405th AFSB deputy to the commander. There are both males and females from across the 405th AFSB – at multiple locations – from the brigade’s Logistics Readiness Centers and the Battalions, as well as participants from outside the 405th AFSB.

“It really speaks to why we are doing this today,” Fasko said. “This is our second event focusing on women’s mentorship, but it’s not about just targeting women. It’s looking at how we can achieve greater diversity within our organization and how we can help individuals grow and find opportunities that may stretch them outside their comfort zones.”

“What you shared, Moniek, I can see applicable to navigating conflict in any kind of relationship,” Fasko added. “That could be with your peers, your friends and your spouses.”