MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Retired Gunnery Sgt. Nancy Arroyoavila, president of the Edith Macias Vann, Southern California Chapter of the Women Marines Association, along with fellow WMA members, spoke to Marines at the Pacific Views Event Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 8, 2014.
Retired and former Marine women from the WMA teamed with the I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group Female Marine and Sailor Council to share their career experiences, including challenges and achievements they experienced along the way.
The council is a noncommissioned officer-managed forum that meets quarterly. Its purpose is to discuss gender-specific issues, establish a professional network, and leverage mentorship opportunities in order to increase individual and unit readiness.
The council was originally set up to provide a venue for female service members to network and mentor each other, said Master Sgt. Bonnie Diaz, the acting motor transportation officer in charge of I MHG and sponsor of the council.
The meetings are designed to allow the Marines to network, build camaraderie, mentor and speak about future initiatives regarding female Marines.
The next step for the council is to move away from small meetings and move into a bigger forum, said Diaz. The council wanted to bring guest speakers to share stories about their involvement in major conflicts and open up the forum for the women to ask questions.
The WMA is here for us to help each other and ensure camaraderie among women who share a common bond, said Arroyoavila.
The members of the council are developing a platform to share experiences with one another and strengthen their bonds, and are now looking toward the future and planning an annual symposium.
“The symposium is going to be called the I MEF Women’s Military Leadership Symposium, and that will be every year in March during Women’s History Month,” said Diaz.
Attendees of the council meeting expressed interest in continued participation.
“It was really motivating to see, and I hope I get the opportunity to come again,” said Lance Cpl. Jasmine Meade, a radio operator with 9th Communications Battalion.