SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Company grade officers from across the base and ROTC cadets from the region attended a one-day CGO Leadership Conference March 11, which was hosted by the Scott CGO Council.
The annual conference allowed CGOs a chance to talk with leaders at various levels of their careers including commanders from major commands, wings, and squadrons, as well as representatives from the senior enlisted corps. It also gave them a chance to network with fellow CGOs.
“We gather from our widespread areas of expertise to learn from each other and gain leadership insight from that,” said 2nd Lt. Justin Medige, 375th Communications Squadron flight commander. “It’s crucial for us to be forward thinking.”
A company grade officer is the first tier of the officer rank structure which includes second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and captains. For many of these young officers they’re just starting out in their military career and it gives them a chance to learn from others’ experiences.
“My role as a CGO is to bring new energy to the unit I work in, to bring a new perspective and to be that extra voice in the room to prevent leadership from getting stuck in their ways,” said 2nd Lt. Tahlia Clanagan, Defense Information Systems Agency cyber operations officer. “So, coming in as a CGO and saying why don’t we do it this way, just raising those questions no matter how [small] they may be, they can lead to something positive.”
This year the CGOs in attendance heard from Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, commader for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, about how to be successful in a complex world. He talked about the importance of staying vigilant in a modern world where threats move so quickly. He also talked about the importance of a healthy work life balance, maintaining professional and personal relationships and how it can make you an all-around better leader. Attendants also asked him questions about leadership strategies and creating connections with their Airmen.
“Getting to come to events like these and getting to see what other CGOs are talking about and where they all are and getting to make those connections [is] important,” said Clanagan. “Also getting to hear leadership perspectives is important because what I hear today isn’t the same as what was said even last year.”
There were also various discussions throughout the day about mentorship, innovation, sustainment and operating in a competitive environment. While the topics were different they all had the same goal to help CGOs become better leaders so they can thrive in their career.
“My biggest takeaway from today is that there is no one way to make it to the rank you want to make,” said Clanagan. “Your career can be however you want it to be, you don’t have to just check the box. It’s important for you to find your passion so you’re making your career work for you as well as working for the Air Force.”