SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Air Force values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all
we do remain in the foundation for our Air Force, but are the Airmen evolving
into something else? Something greater?
80th Flying Training Wing held an off-site leadership development conference May
4, 2018, to further develop their people and collaborate ideas to build a more
efficient pilot training program.
leaders host conferences like this all the time across the Air Force, this
particular conference offered something truly unique. Col. Andrea Themely, 80th
FTW commander, noticed an Airmen leader who she thought could lead the
discussion and facilitate their commander’s growth and asked Tech. Sgt. Pete
Ruiz to take charge. Ruiz – an adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms
Center of Excellence (PACE) – readily accepted the commander’s challenge.
one big thing we need to focus on to influence our Air Force culture is our
values,” Ruiz said. “We need to make them visible, tangible, observable and
measurable. Our values affect our actions, our actions affect our behaviors and
our behaviors affect our culture.”
people, better Airmen, better Air Force was the motto that Ruiz adapted from
PACE. Ruiz held the floor – and every commander’s attention – for nearly an
hour and a half. Each commander including Themely, seemed quite engrossed in
his presentation as they took notes. When he was finished, they all engaged in
a round-table type discussion; offering both comments and questions about
presentation was perfect because it helped us understand how our actions are so
critical to developing our culture,” said Themely.
isn’t a new topic for commanders, but the perspective changes when the
conversation is diversified. Different generations often have a different
approach or theory about the ever-evolving topic of leadership.
we try to do is focus on deliberate development of all of our leaders so that
we give them some time away from the mission to sit back, think and put their
thoughts into perspective on how to be a more effective leader for their
people,” Themely said. “We can always strive to have a better organization,
better unit, better leaders and better people. I think that has a positive
impact on those that we lead, because when they see us trying our best to be
better for them, it makes other people want to do better too.”
partnerships and forging NATO fighter pilots is what the 80th FTW does best.
Ruiz is very special and we know from working directly with him that we have
much we can learn from the people around us,” Themely said. “It’s important for
all of us to learn from each other.”
“We are agents of
change within the system or of the system,” Ruiz said. “Behaviors change at a
micro level. That’s why it’s so important for us to pay attention.”