By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — For Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, 50th Space Wing command chief, engaging with Airmen is “champion” business.
During COVID-19 however, opportunities for the chief and his fellow wing leaders to engage with Airmen on a personal level have been few and far between.
To fill the void, Alexander initiated an online mentorship series called “Life and Leadership” that has aired three episodes to date.
“Late last year, my team and I were talking about different ways to communicate,” Alexander said. “Maybe you don’t catch someone on shift. Even if you’re speaking at [the First Term Airman’s course] or any other engagement – you’re still missing people. We wanted to get our message out to more teammates (enlisted, officers and civilians) and decided to make podcasts or videos they can access at their leisure.”
Episodes of the series can be found on the Schriever Air Force Base Facebook page and YouTube account.
“You’re not going to get all the answers to life’s problems and you’re not going to become the greatest leader there’s ever been just by listening, but the hope is we can add to your toolkit,” Alexander said.
Topics covered to date in the series include: the future of space, keys to success and hope in the face of adversity.
“It’s inspirational to receive mentorship and insight from someone in the higher rungs of the military,” said Airman 1st Class Sebastian Yancey, 2nd Space Operations Squadron space systems operator. “I work mids (a shift that works from 11 p.m. – 7 a.m.) so I don’t get to see our senior leaders that often. It’s nice to have a platform where I can listen to leadership and receive mentorship without having to be on base at the same time as them.”
Although Alexander hosts the series, Col. Jack Fischer, 50th Space Wing vice commander, has been a guest speaker on an episode, and there are plans to bring in other senior leaders, such as Col. Jim Smith, 50th Space Wing commander and Col. Brian Kehl, 50th Mission Support Group commander among others.
“I like to say we don’t necessarily give advice,” Alexander said. “Every guest is not so much giving advice as they are sharing experiences and different perspectives. You decide what you take from it.”
Alexander calls on his experience; leading Schriever in his current role in addition to his more than 25 years of serving in the Air Force.
“I think everyone wants mentorship,” he said. “You look at stuff and think, ‘I’d like to be that, but how do I get there?’ and as a young Airman you’re often looking and saying, ‘There’s no way.’ You learn from mentors’ experiences: successes, failures or even just their perspective.”
As for a schedule, Alexander said he hopes to release at least one product a week. However, there is no set schedule for when episodes will be available.
“Come with an open mind,” he said. ”If there’s something you want to hear, let us know. We’re just trying to offer other means for people to connect and receive mentorship.”