AFCEA International Chapter News

Focus on Mentoring at Chapter Launch

Mentorship was the focus at the initial meeting of the chapter in April. Soldiers and civilians from U.S. Army Europe, the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, 5th Signal Command and other local units gathered in the Gen. Shalikashvili Mission Command Center to launch the chapter and hear Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, 5th Signal commander, share his nearly three decades of career military experience regarding mentoring and preparing for future challenges. "We have to train you to use technology that does not even exist yet to solve problems that we don't even yet know that we have," said Gen. Crawford, after showing a video about the rapid transformation in technology that is evolving on a daily basis. "We've got to develop the capacity to see around corners." A major part of that preparation is guiding future leaders and mentoring fellow soldiers and civilians to expand their horizons and to seek career enhancement opportunities, said the general. "My responsibility is to develop leaders to solve the problems of tomorrow," he said. "You don't grow leaders by letting them do the same things over and over again." While it may seem easier to hire like-minded employees and to "rely on the proverbial system to take care of your people," Gen. Crawford told his listeners it is their responsibility to guide and mentor junior staff, saying, "You are the system." To be a good mentor an individual must be interested, have a positive outlook and be enthusiastic and dependable, Gen. Crawford said. Mentors should also be experienced, current in their job skills, visionary and have a solid network of beneficial relationships. "You, the mentor, must be credible," he said, adding that those seeking a good mentor must be selective. "Don't settle for just anybody who is willing to talk to you." For the person being mentored, it's crucial that one be solution-oriented, dependable, appreciative and respectful—especially of the mentor's time. "You've got to be receptive to feedback," said Gen. Crawford, explaining that being honest about one's expectations, limitations and possibilities is equally important. This applies to leaders as well, he said, pointing out that knowing one's strengths and weaknesses helps in discovering coworkers and staff who can complement an organization and leadership. "You want to hire people who are good at the things you're not good at or don't care to do," he said. The guest speaker praised the efforts of the association in raising scholarships for military youths and funds to help such charitable organizations as the Fisher Houses in Landstuhl. In addition to charitable efforts and service to the local community, AFCEA is dedicated to serving as a forum where government and industry can effectively communicate and explore relevant issues in information technology, communications and electronics for the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities, according to H.S. Schmidt, chapter president.

Event Photographs:

H.S. Schmidt, chapter president, presents guest speaker Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, 5th Signal commander, with a token of appreciation at the April meeting.
H.S. Schmidt, chapter president, presents guest speaker Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, 5th Signal commander, with a token of appreciation at the April meeting.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Karl Weisel

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