National Guard company-grade officers will have several opportunities for professional development at the 145th General Conference & Exhibition in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 18-21.
Besides hearing from senior Pentagon leaders in the main session, CGOs will also have a separate officer professional development track aimed at providing them tools that will enhance their careers.
The OPD track will include four special lines of effort benefiting Guard CGOs, with each part of the track focusing on the theme of "Bridging the Gap" between traditional training and effective leadership.
The program "allows them to adapt to being the leaders we need in the 21st century," Capt. Rasheeda I. Bilal, the Area VI Army representative on the NGAUS board of directors, said of the OPD track July 26.
Bilal was recently appointed as the association's Area VI rep after spending several years as the NGAUS board's Army Company-Grade Officer rep.
She also serves as logistics director for the California Guard’s 115th Regional Support Group.
According to Bilal, the OPD track's first line of effort involves strategic mentorship.
Attendees will be able to engage with Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during discussion and Q&A sessions.
They will also have audiences with Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, the director of the Air Guard, Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, the director of the Army Guard, and Maj. Gen. Ondra L. Berry, the adjutant general of the Nevada Guard.
The second line of effort is CGOx, "a peer-led idea lab" featuring presentations resembling TEDx talks.
Per Bilal, CGOx speakers will address their peers and state and senior leaders about topics ranging from innovation to recruiting and retention during six-to-eight-minute presentations.
Potential CGOx speakers must submit a short proposal explaining their presentations by Saturday (Aug. 5).
Bilal noted the OPD track's third offering will be a "high-energy" interactive workshop conducted by Indigo Anchor, a management consulting firm that is sending people from the company's Salt Lake City, Utah, office to Reno.
The workshop will discuss evidence-based decision-making for leaders, including common pitfalls to avoid and sources of evidence for reaching better decisions.
Bilal added the OPD track's final line of effort is a two-day training in conjunction with the NGAUS conference called "Purple Resolve: The Heart & Mind of a Warrior" that will unfold Aug. 17-18.
Purple Resolve is an educational program that promotes personal and professional commitment to the military’s highest ideals.
For example, Purple Resolve teaches listeners about cultivating resilience inside and outside their military careers.
In 2021, Nevada became the first state nationwide to develop a Purple Resolve curriculum.
This year, Nevada Guardsmen will lead Purple Resolve exercises at the NGAUS conference alongside PTSD NOW!, a partner organization that is sponsoring the exercises.
PTSD NOW! is a nonprofit that seeks effective solutions for supporting military personnel who are experiencing stress or depression during or after deployments.
"It is just rooted in community, in service, in empathy," Bilal said of what Purple Resolve teaches about Guard culture. "It is a deep devotion to the calling to serve."
Guardsmen interested in attending the Purple Resolve workshop before the association’s annual conference can register here.
Bilal said that after registering, the Nevada Guard Association will pay for participants' lodging and have meal vouchers waiting for them at their hotels once they check in for the Purple Resolve exercises.
For more details about the Purple Resolve exercises, the Nevada Guard Association's letter of intent about the course is available here.
The LOI states the Purple Resolve exercises are open to 25 CGOs, and will cover two nights at the hotel each participant's Guard association chooses for the NGAUS conference.
And while travel costs aren’t covered for these participants, attendees can join the Purple Resolve course without visiting the NGAUS conference.
"They are the leaders in 20 years from now," Bilal said of what she hopes the workshop’s participants realize. "How do they want to shape that?"
— By Mark Hensch