When she is not working, you might see Chief Master Sgt. Cynthia Villa, helping out at church, or hanging out with her family -- her parents, siblings, 2 nephews and her niece -- at the beach or at an amusement park. Or, maybe you will find her rooting for her favorite sports teams and playfully trash-talking the other team.
With 18 years of service in the Air Force, Chief Villa has become the new command chief for the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, and is looking forward to using her experiences, personality, and drive to serve and benefit Team March.
"It goes without saying that my family and my faith are my backbone," said Villa, "My Air Force family, the Wing, the 452nd is definitely very near and dear to me because the of the time I've spent at March, the quality of the people and mentors, and what we are able to do when we get down to business and make things happen."
Villa believes in empowering Airmen to do more to become better at their jobs, receive tools to be future leaders, and have opportunities for development, with the overall goal: be mission ready and effective leaders. She believes communicating why Airmen are tasked and trained to do what they do is important.
"A lot of times young Airmen come in, they're new, filled with energy, and we don't explain the importance behind that required training," explained Villa, "the impact that they have in their role--it's amazing how quickly Airmen can understand the impact they have on that mission when we take the time to explain, and when you put that into perspective, it's amazing what goes on after that. Letting Airmen know how things fit into the big picture, and how the big picture couldn't be seen without what they bring to the table."
She believes that improved communication is a crucial key to improvement with in efforts throughout the base.
"We can do better in communicating the message, the opportunities," said Villa, " I'm all about sharing information. The meaning, the importance, and the impact."
An admitted admirer of the customs and courtesies of military life, Villa has a direct style that portrays her confidence and passion for the Air Force, her new role, and for the Airmen she cares for.
"I'm firm, I'm fair, and I'm consistent. I'm a very candid and transparent professional. I'm a very disciplined individual," detailed Villa, "I have a passion for exceptional work ethic. We rely on each other to be mission ready, so you have to hold people accountable and make sure they are compliant."
Villa said she believes that the core values showing in someone's work and manner speak volumes about an individual, but there is more to being a leader.
"I love command presence, but we also are human," continued Villa, "When I tell you I got your back… I got your back. I'm here for you, and that's exactly what I mean. That human piece is taking care of others and their needs… It's mission first, but people always."
Chief Villa's passion for serving led her to pursue a first sergeant role, which she served for over 4 years after being first selected to the duty in 2011. Her history of serving Airmen was inspired by the impact her first sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Perez (ret.), had on her.
"The slight intimidation, but at the same time caring… that man went above and beyond," Villa reminisced about Perez, "When I was able to witness him, and see the impact that he had on me personally and the rest of the Airmen, I said I wanted to do that and serve like he serves."
Her passion to serve and learn and better those around her comes from the mutual learning she gets from her Airmen, said Villa.
"I’m learning from these younger generations. We have to be open minded to ideas and their willingness to make improvements," explained Villa. "I know I don't know it all, and I'm going to continue to learn and develop so I can pay it forward and ensure that Airmen are going to be developed and afforded the opportunities and the skills that I have been afforded as well."
In her descriptions of what she would like to see improved, and her stories about her many experiences leading to the command chief role, Villa said she has never forgotten what is most important to her.
"It's great to get the job done but there is that other piece, the family piece." said Villa, "Ensure that you're spending time with loved ones and thanking them for serving with you. Detach a little bit, enjoy and have fun. We work hard, so play hard. Connect with others and get to know them… It was my family, my faith, and my fellow wingmen that I surrounded myself with… There is no way I can say I did it on my own."
Villa said she knows that the important contributions from the base to our nation's security could only have been done by a cohesive team and that she is passionately committed to supporting and serving her Air Force family as command chief.
"It's a team effort," Villa said, "The wing commander, vice, myself, we can't do it on our own. We need the efforts of everyone. It's all encompassing of how we make things happen. March is having an impact. What we bring to the fight is second to none."