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Leadership Institute unique to Patrick AFB

In a class exercise on recognition and praise, Ms. Cartama Ramos-Crafton gives a big dose of compliments to classmate Mr. Rich Greisamer. Both are attending the 45th Force Support Squadron’s Leadership Institute – a civilian leadership development
course administered by the Force Development Flight and geared toward Patrick’s mid-level civilians. The course is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chris Kraus)

In a class exercise on recognition and praise, Ms. Cartama Ramos-Crafton gives a big dose of compliments to classmate Mr. Rich Greisamer. Both are attending the 45th Force Support Squadron’s Leadership Institute – a civilian leadership development course administered by the Force Development Flight and geared toward Patrick’s mid-level civilians. The course is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chris Kraus)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- There's a buzz of excitement in the air over at the 45th Force Support Squadron's Force Development Flight. That's because their very first Leadership Institute class graduates Wednesday at 2 p.m. in a ceremony at the Base Education Center.

This unique civilian leadership development course, managed by Flight Chief Dr. John Culliton, is geared toward Patrick's midlevel civilians and is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Air Force.

The course is perfect for civilians with little or no formal leadership training and focuses on core leadership competencies like strategic thinking, external awareness, technology management, partnering, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building, influencing, negotiating, DoD mission and culture and ethics.

"The main text used in the course is 'The Leadership Challenge,' by James Kouzes and Barry Posner - recognized as top experts in the field," said Force Development Specialist and Lead Instructor Virginia Medeiros.

"Students also get the opportunity to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a self-reporting questionnaire that reveals their own unique traits, psychological type, motivations, strengths, weaknesses and more." she added enthusiastically.

Attendance at the six-week course is convenient for students. Classes meet on  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

The class size is small - approximately 12 students, which allows everyone to participate in class assignments, discussions and role-playing exercises.

The wing recognized the need for civilian leadership training, so registration is through a wing-wide tasking that allows commanders and senior civilian leadership to select individuals they feel hold the capacity to fill leadership positions. The wing is lucky to have an instructor like Ms. Medeiros spearhead this initiative.

Her teaching style is relaxed and energetic at the same time. Her motto, and that of the institute's, is "Air Force civilians are Airmen too!" This explains why all of her students exhibit a positive attitude while participating in class assignments.

But Ms. Medeiros can't do it all alone, there's a lot of material to cover. That's why she's augmented by some of Patrick's best in-house talent.

An all-volunteer force of 13 instructors, trained and certified by a team of professional military education school instructors from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., share their knowledge and life experiences with the class. And the students appreciate it.

"This has been an extremely rewarding experience and we all feel very fortunate to have been chosen for the inaugural class," said Rich Greisamer, a quality assurance evaluator assigned to the 45th Space Communications Squadron. "We have Leadership Institute unique to Patrick AFB first class of civilian course graduates Wednesday an outstanding group of students who quickly became a cohesive, productive team."

Mr. Greisamer is not alone in his praise of the course. "I think this program is great!" said Cartama Ramos-Crafton, a contracting specialist with the 45th Contracting Squadrion construction section at CCAFS.

"It is refreshing and encouraging to see programs like this become a reality. I believe that the principles I've learned will not only help me in my future endeavors, but I can already see them affecting and influencing my choices at work."

So commanders, senior civilian leadership, mid-level civilians - need any more convincing on the benefits of Patrick's one-of-a-kind Leadership Institute?

How about this?

"Leadership is learned, nobody's born with it!" Ms. Medeiros said with a smile.

For more information about the Force Development Flight's Leadership Institute, call Ms. Medeiros at 494-7498.