Arnold Air Force Base spotlights Women’s History Month: Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Cirricione

  • Published
  • By Kali Bradford
  • AEDC Public Affairs

March is Women’s History Month. Observed annually, the month celebrates the contributions of women to U.S. history, culture and society. The month provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of women throughout history.

The origins of the month can be traced back to 1978 with a weeklong celebration organized by the school district of Sonoma, California. Presentations, essay contests and parades were held highlighting women’s contributions. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week, and the U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the event expanded to the entire month of March.

Today, the month is celebrated nationwide and across the world with International Women’s Day that is observed on March 8. During the month of March, Arnold Engineering Development Complex is recognizing female leadership and personnel and the vital role each plays to the mission of test and evaluation. The following female is sharing what makes Women’s History Month special to her.

Serving as the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Senior Enlisted Leader, Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Cirricione understands what it takes to be a good leader. In her 27 years of service in the Air Force, Cirricione has several women to credit for her strong leadership abilities.

“There’s really a good number of women that have been a positive influence,” she stated. “Oddly enough, however, there were not very many present in my early career days as a young Airman; simply because we didn’t have any women in our work center other than one or two other Airmen like myself. As a young NCO [Noncommissioned Officer], there was Master Sgt. Letitia Edgerson, and from her I learned to be a tough but fair leader. My favorite line that I still use today from her is, ‘I don’t get paid to make friends, I get paid to do a job.’ It resonates today because, at times, I will see a leader that is worried about being liked, but liked is not the same as respected. When we worry about being liked, it usually means we don’t hold subordinates to standards and this causes the work center to suffer, morale to be lowered, etc.

“Around the same time was Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Zahn, who taught me that I needed to be involved in my own performance report writing and that ‘nobody will care more about your career than you do,’ and how to correctly observe and rate others in that process.”

Cirricione added that females looking to a make an impact and become a leader should remember the importance of working hard and taking care of those around them.

“Treat everyone with dignity and respect, set standards and hold everyone equally to them,” she said. “Stay humble, know that you are not always the smartest person in the room and seek others’ advice, especially subordinates. If you made a mistake, own it! That will go very far with the people you lead.”