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Women's Mentorship Network (WMN)
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In February 2013, a small group of women officers on Fort Hood recognized the need to create opportunities for mentorship. They extended an invitation to the women in their Brigade Combat Team to come together to discuss relevant professional development topics. Within six months, groups became active in units across The Great Place, discussing topics ranging from gender integration and the Ground Combat Exclusion policy to sexual assault, resiliency, and female readiness. Inspired by the concept of circles from the book The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman, participants established norms that meetings remain voluntary, empowering, and maintain trust and respect. Recognizing the success of the program, the officers decided to expand the concept and create a formal Network. On 11 January 2014, the WMN celebrated its official launch with over 60 military women of all ranks (including Army and Air Force) to strategically plan the vision and structure of the WMN.

The WMN is an all-volunteer, decentralized, values-based organization. The vision is to inspire and empower military women to develop into adaptive and resilient leaders and form a core group of support. The organizational model is designed to be scalable, easily replicated, and conducive to transient populations to create the conditions for more developed mentoring relationships. The network employs a structured, field-tested methodology to achieve mentoring outcomes including professional development, psychosocial support, and role modeling. These outcomes are achieved through highly structured, one hour meetings, with exercises designed to promote peer-to-peer and reciprocal mentoring interactions.

The Women’s Mentorship Network is open to all men and women, civilian and military, who support the cultivation of female military leadership through adaptive, resilient mentorship. Membership in the network is qualified by participation (as a Member, Facilitator, Advisor, etc).

The main effort of the WMN is the mentoring circle led by trained facilitators. Other supporting administrative and social events are planned on a volunteer basis.

a. Facilitator Training. Military women who are interested in becoming a facilitator apply through the core cadre and attend formal training. Fort Hood has 19 certified facilitators, many of whom will take their skills onward upon deployment or to next duty station to host mentorship circles across the military.

b. Mentorship Circles. Facilitators schedule circles as they are available and advertise to all members through email and social media (FaceBook,

c. Membership Drives. The cadre host periodic socials to invite new members and introduce the organization and facilitators. Events are self-resourced and open to the community.

d. Supporting events. Other projects such as lecture series, charity work, or races are shared among members through social media to build social cohesion.

e. Cadre Meetings. Volunteers fill key staff positions to provide administrative and logistical for events.

The Women’s Mentorship Network is an organic, grassroots organization that continues to grow through the efforts of volunteers committed to women in the profession of arms. Transparency is an integral component to the WMN, and we are dedicated to communicating with chain of command to the fullest extentas we cultivate this unique approach to leader development.

Women's Mentorship Network CHARTER (pdf)

The Power of Discourse (pdf) by Angela Karrasch and Heather Gunther

POC: MAJ Heather Gunther / 913-433-6171


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