Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. — Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Ford is the superintendent of the 50th Network Operations Group and has been in the Air Force for 22 years. Ford has held six different positions throughout Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, additionally she has gone on a deployment to Saudi Arabia, since February 2012. She has seen the base change and evolve into the space leader it is today, and it has driven her to be better and to expect excellence. Although a lot of personnel have come and gone, she has seen the base flourish and is forever thankful for the many friends, co-workers and personnel that have shaped her into the person she is today. Ford will be leaving Schriever AFB and reassigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia as the new Air Combat Command A6/3D Functional Manager.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is a servant leadership style. I believe in working hard regardless of what position you’ve been placed in. My motto is “actions speak louder than words.” Regardless of a position or title, leaders are present at every level within the Air Force. A leader must be willing to follow as much as lead with the Air Force Core Values. I want to help ensure the Air Force is postured with the next generation of leaders. I believe a servant leader works for the Airmen while maintaining true to the core values and standards set forth by our senior leaders.
What was your motivation for joining the Air Force and where did you start your career?
As a young college student living on my own and working three jobs, I knew I wasn’t on the path I had always wanted. I was trying to figure out where I fit in, and what I wanted to do. I met several individuals from the military branches in college, and after contemplating my life and what I wanted to accomplish I decided to pursue the military. It was the best choice of my life. In July 1995, I took my first airplane ride to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and started my career. At that time, I was unaware of the adventure I was about to embark on.
What do you feel your strengths and weaknesses are?
My greatest strength is loyalty. I will work non-stop for another individual, cause or project to ensure the stars align, the vision is sought or the end result meets expectation. My greatest weakness is increased attention to detail. Although most people will see this as a strength, it becomes a weakness because trying to ensure all the details are perfect or substantiated can delay a project, decision or task. However, every strength and weakness can be used to balance yourself, it’s just a matter of understanding what they are, working within your means of what you can and cannot control, then seeking out others to help with the gaps with a delicate balance of humility at the same time.
Who is a leader that stands out to you?
A leader that stands out to me is my mom, Francis Renelle McGuigan. Other people may pick great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.; however, my mom raised 13 children, had three miscarriages and remained a devoted Christian while dealing with adversity throughout her life. She gave me a solid foundation of love, trust and core values that I live by to this day. She was a hard worker and devoted to the development of her children. She taught me how to deal with disappointment and celebrate, even amidst adversity. She passed away in 1998 when I was a young airman first class stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Through her love and unwavering support, I have chosen to lead our Airmen and share these values with them and have developed a determination to do better and make her proud as she watches over me and my family from afar.
How do you prepare junior Airmen for leadership roles?
As with any leadership role, I like to challenge people to get out of their comfort zone. Junior Airmen must understand they need to be prepared to lead others; they need to take chances and step into the unknown to really know what they’re capable of. Not everyone will be the best public speaker or project officer, but Airmen must be willing to see their potential. If failure occurs, you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Failure occurs only when you’ve stopped trying and never learn from the mistakes, challenges and successes. Every opportunity is a time to learn. Don’t stop learning.
Is there anything else you would like to add about leadership?
Leadership is not easy, but everyone is a leader. Regardless of your rank, position, age, sex or duty title, you play an integral part in shaping future Airmen, the Air Force and the United States. Take time knowing, serving and leading our Airmen. Be yourself, don’t stop at failure, and accept those around you for who they are.