Distinguished visitor talks on mentoring

Team Hill - Junior Force Council members start to gather for a luncheon with Debra Tune, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics on Dec. 8 at the Landing (formerly known as Club Hill).
By Anne Morrison
Hilltop Times Staff
December 15, 2011

Team Hill's Junior Force Council hosted a member of the Air Force's Senior Executive Service last week for an hourlong lunch at the Landing (formerly known as Club Hill).

Debra Tune, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, stopped in to dine and talk with the group of about 30 JFC members. Tune asked everyone to introduce themselves and spoke briefly about issues facing the civiliam work force, emphasizing also the importance of mentoring.

"I had really good mentors, everyone needs a good mentor," said Tune. "You need somebody who's been around for a while and is successful to give you advice."

Tune spoke about the value of being a member of the Air Force civilian work force, and commended the group for taking on a career as a civilian in the military during a time of reducing budgets when cuts are at the forefront of the nation's attention. She gave an example of a GS-9 civilian whose position was eliminated in the early '80s and is now a successful senior executive in the Air Force.

"I could share many examples like this where everything ended up OK in the end," she added.

After lunch, Tune took questions from the JFC. The questions were mostly concerned about the shifting culture surrounding their jobs. She assured them not to worry about their positions, but rather be proactive in their jobs.

"There are some things that are based on luck, but some things are not," Tune said. "You must have good performance and a good education. You've got to be good at your job."

To sum up the lunch, Tune shared a few final pointers for success as a DoD civilian.

"Don't be afraid to speak up if you've got something valuable to say," she said. "That's what makes this democracy so great -- those who speak up."

Among other things, Tune said to the council that there is no "one size fits all" and encouraged the council to become diverse within their field. The more experience you gain, the more valuable you become, she added.

Jason Carrion, the JFC's president, spoke highly of Tune, and said he was honored that she had specifically requested to speak with the council.

"Her insight was very motivating," he said. "It was a great opportunity to get answers from the top and to be able to get that out to our work force."

The Junior Force Council is an organization on base made up of different Department of Defense civilians who have been working with the department for less than 10 years.

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