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“Empower Her Steps” this Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keira Rossman
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Team XL celebrated Women’s History Month through the Empower Her Steps discussion panel and luncheon to promote awareness, recognition and support for women Mar. 27, 2024.  

This initiative supports a series of efforts by Laughlin to foster an environment of equality and support for women, both in the military and the broader community.  

“Female empowerment is bringing our fellow women Airmen up and pushing them to do their best,” said Airman 1st Class Karem Veras Villalona, 47th Operation Support Squadron weather forecaster. “Even today I was given the path to narrate this panel today thanks to my Master Sgt. who suggested me for the position.” 

Panelists included:  

Lt. Col. Nicole Pries, 47th Healthcare Operations Squadron primary care flight commander. 

Mrs. Mimi Casey, Laughlin XL Spouse Club President, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron commander spouse and mother. 

Lt. Col. Purvi Desai, digital service expert with the United States Digital Service and USAF reservist. 

Cynthia Cardenas, 47th Flying Training Wing equal opportunity director. 

Capt. Sydney Philips, 47th Operations Group executive officer and first assignment instructor pilot. 

And Master Sgt. Chelsea Moschell, 47th Operations Group first sergeant 

Featured guests on the panel shared various experiences to inspire and offer advice on navigating personal and professional challenges. One such experience shared was by Pries. 

“There’s a gender bias that women are too emotional but as a nurse I need to bring that to the table,” said Pries. 

She went on to explain that in the Air Force, about 70% of Airmen are men and 30% are women. However, when looking in the medical field, the balance tips significantly, with women making up about 90%. This significant female presence brings its own set of challenges, especially against the backdrop of stereotypes about emotional women. Yet, Pries argues, it is precisely this emotional insight that is invaluable in nursing, allowing for a deeper understanding of patient needs, fostering inclusivity and enhancing the quality of medical care. 

The event facilitated connections among attendees and showcased local women-owned business booths from Laughlin and the local community including: The Laughlin XL Spouse’s Club, Stone’s Sweets, Consuela’s Cleaning Service, Mightea, Bare Beauty Esthetics, and Minor Farms. 

The event supported Laughlin’s commitment to creating a culture of dignity and respect where every member can thrive and trust that they can report issues at all levels without negative consequences. Additionally, the discourse explored integrating a spectrum of resilience to cultivate a resilient inclusive mindset. 

Team XL advocates for policies that guarantee equal opportunities and encourages discussions that aim to dismantle stereotypes. This approach is intended to cultivate an environment where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated. 

One such notable stride towards inclusivity in Laughlin’s legacy is the achievement of Capt. Tabitha Letourneau, 86th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, when she made history as the first pregnant instructor pilot to fly with student pilots. Enabled by recent policy updates from the Department of the Air Force, this achievement paved the way in supporting Team XL’s diverse needs. For more on this story, click here.

Efforts in promoting awareness, recognition and support for women contributes to an atmosphere that values diversity, equal opportunity and mission success.