Members of the Desert Lightning Team are getting the opportunity to develop themselves professionally and personally through the Leaders Are Readers book club here.
Leaders Are Readers is a program designed to allow members of the D-M community to come together, read and discuss the readings.
“The purpose of the book club is two-fold,” said Tech. Sgt. Lorenzo Livingston, Airman Leadership School instructor and co-founder of LAR here. “It’s to get our Total Force reading, whether it is about leadership or not. It is also meant to give members a chance to meet for mentorship and to share lessons learned.”
The book club is open to anyone, whether they are civilian personnel, guard, reserve or active duty. Officers and enlisted service members are also encouraged to invite retired service members and dependants.
“Everyone has a different perspective on what they think and feel leadership is,” said. Tech. Sgt. Steve McIntyre, 355th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Element noncommissioned officer in charge and co-founder of LAR here. “Anybody can come in. Of course, we still have rank structure and expect everyone to be courteous; but everybody can interact and get different perspectives on leadership, motivation, mentorship and other things.”
Livingston and McIntyre only established the book club in April, but it has already gained support from base leadership. In fact, Chief Master Sgt. Dawna Cnota, 355th FW command chief master sergeant, suggested the first book LAR read.
“We read books that emphasize leadership and management skills to help you develop,” said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Reyna, 355th FW command chief master sergeant executive. “The first book was a suggestion from Chief Cnota. We are on the second book now, which was from Sgt. Livingston’s collection. It’s not just books from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Reading List. They send out an email listing several books, and we vote on them.”
Meetings are currently held on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The 12 p.m. meeting is held in the ALS second floor auditorium, and the 4:45 p.m. meeting is held in the Mental Health conference room. Each meeting lasts an hour.
“We encourage people to come,” McIntyre said. “You get to talk to people that you probably don’t normally get to talk to. I don’t know how often you would get to talk to Chief Cnota on a normal basis, but she is there.”
The readings and interactions have already given some insight to some of LAR’s regular attendees.
“One of my favorite ones was ‘Stay in your lane,’” Reyna said. “A lot of Airmen put a lot of pressure on themselves. They stay late, and they do all these things. They feel like they are taking on so much, like they are taking on the whole Air Force’s needs. You need to understand stay in your lane. You’re an Airman: develop, train, figure out what you are doing, don’t put all this added pressure on yourself, and if you need help don’t be afraid to ask.”
Livingston says there are plans to expand the program here by hosting meetings with the maintainers. He also plans to move the readings into other than leadership, such as finance and education. Also, several Airmen at or en route to other bases are already planning to develop their own LAR programs.
“The 355th FW leadership really jumped on board with this, as well as the first sergeants and group chiefs,” Livingston said. “They really care about reading, especially with the base library closing down.
That’s not an excuse to not read and professionally develop yourself.”
For more information about the Leaders Are Readers book club, contact Tech. Sgt. Steve McIntyre at 228-4926 or Tech. Sgt. Lorenzo Livingston at 228-4208. Information can also be found on the book club’s Facebook page, Desert Lightning Team “Leaders Are Readers” Book Club.