Women’s History Month event educates, empowers, encourages

  • Published
  • By Ms. Ashley Van Dien
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

Lt. Col. Catina Barnes, director, American Forces Network (AFN) Broadcast Center, DMA-Riverside, hosted a panel of six successful women from a variety of career fields at the 2019 Women’s History Month Lunch and Learn panel at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., March 27.


With the theme “Visionary Women: Educate, Empower, Encourage,” a diverse group of DOD employees and Inland Empire residents who attended the event, deemed the “Boss Lady Talk Show” by Barnes, the moderator, listened as panelists discussed past mistakes, military careers, motivation and mentorship.


“Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever your orientation or ethnicity, know your history,” said panelist LaRita Shelby, actress, entertainer, and marketing professional. “Stand proudly and firmly upon that, and represent the very best of that.”


Panelists also shared their stories of personal and professional obstacles and achievements while offering candid advice and recommending resources.


“We want to help each other grow. We want to make sure that we are all successful together,” said panelist Chief Master Sgt. Timi Bilal, 452 AMW inspector general superintendent. “Take a proactive approach, and seek mentorship and advice from those around you. Keep the lines of communication open, keep things in perspective and stay positive.”


Military women especially have had to take a proactive approach throughout history. Women have served in military operations in the U.S. since the American Civil Way, nearly 150 years, but were only fully integrated into the force a few decades ago.


“We’ve made great strides over the last 40 years, and we have so much opportunity,” said panelist Col. Kelly Hosey, commander, 452nd Mission Support Group. “Grow where you're planted and keep your options open. Learn everything you can, don't turn down opportunities, even if they seem small,” she added. “Go TDY, go on deployments, work hard, do your best and it will be recognized. We all deserve to be valued for who we are.”


Historically, women have had to prove their abilities in order to gain leadership status. Today, women continue the good fight for their places in history, and to make the world a better place.


“Stand in truth, love and power,” Shelby said. “Show up to bring good to someone else, and to the world at large.”


The event was organized by the 452 AMW Airman and Family Readiness Center, DMA-Riverside and Congressman Mark Takano’s office. Senior Airman Reyna Carbungco, 452nd Force Support Squadron, was the emcee. Chaplain Capt. Shannon Dong, 163rd Attack Wing, sang the national anthem and offered the invocation. Other panelists were Master Sgt. Priscilla Bertee, 358th Civil Affairs Brigade; Marisela Magaña, City of Perris Mayor Pro Tem; and Stacy Carter, real estate and property management entrepreneur.