Event encourages Offutt women to empower one another Published May 10, 2019 By Kendra Williams 55th Wing Public Affairs OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska hosted its first Women’s empowerment seminar April 17, 2019. The seminar featured a panel of seven women who spoke on varied topics. “I wanted to bring together a diverse group of women from around base, to include not just military personnel, but civilians and spouses as well so we could network, build bonds, mentor each other and become better women and people,” said Senior Airman Chelsea Wells, 55th Communications Squadron, cyber security technician. Air Force members are often stationed far from home and their traditional support system. When they encounter challenges, they don’t know who to turn to. In the seminar, tears were shed and vulnerabilities were shared from different perspectives with women in different phases of their lives. “The topics we picked were self-awareness, burnout and balance, reinventing yourself after trauma, overcoming adversity, finding your why and self-care,” said Wells. The event wove together like a tapestry with common threads of overcoming challenges, self-determination and heroism intertwined with hope and inspiration among the panel speakers. “I am extremely passionate about women’s rights and women’s empowerment,” said Wells. “I think it’s important as women to remember where we came from, how far we’ve come and how much more of a difference we can still make.” At one point the participants had a brief one minute meditation where they took a moment to focus on their breathing. Meditation is a form of self-empowerment and can be practiced regularly. “We need to honor the strengths in each other and build each other up,” said Shannon Manion, panelist. Comradery was encouraged as well as seeking out mentors, looking for mentees, and supporting each other in good and bad times. “I think it's so important to become mentors and supporters of other women,” said Manion. “Too many times we see each other as competition and that's sad.” Women’s History Month is celebrated once a year, but the panel emphasized that women’s empowerment doesn’t have to and shouldn’t stop there. They challenged attendees to find a place for continued support in regular everyday life. The event ended with each participant taking out their cell phone and recording a personal affirmation video with encouraging phrases.