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Whiteman Warrior

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, right, works with Karen O’Camb, the Mission’s End club manager, to select the décor for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. The theme for this year's celebration is Working to Form A More Perfect Union:  Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, right, works with Karen O’Camb, the Mission’s End club manager, to select the décor for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. The theme for this year's celebration is Working to Form A More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, selects tableware in preparation for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. Simes said she believes confidence, fairness and courage are essential leadership qualities, regardless of gender. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, selects tableware in preparation for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. Simes said she believes confidence, fairness and courage are essential leadership qualities, regardless of gender. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, selects tableware in preparation for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. Simes said she believes confidence, fairness and courage are essential leadership qualities, regardless of gender. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shonda Simes, the 509th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of food and beverage, selects tableware in preparation for the 2016 Women's History Month Celebration Breakfast at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., March 21, 2016. Simes said she believes confidence, fairness and courage are essential leadership qualities, regardless of gender. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sandra Marrero)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Rank/name:  Master Sgt. Shonta Simes
Duty Title:  NCOIC, Food and beverage
Hometown:  Jacksonville, FL
Years in the Air Force: 16

Question:  How do you, as a woman in today's military, find strength from the women who came before you?
Response:  I find strength in those who served before me by "being excellent in all that I do" to uphold the historical success of influential women of the past.

Question:  What women or women inspires you and why?
Response:  Today I am inspired by three women. The first is my mother, who worked her entire life, raised five children and started a ministry to aid those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. The second is my supervisor, Senior Master Melissa Sgt. Perez, who has always challenged me to exceed the standard in every aspect of my military career. Third, I am inspired by retired Maj. General Margaret Woodward, for whom I had the pleasure of working protocol for during her leadership of Seventeenth Air Force. I watched Maj. General Woodward command two units, Air Forces Africa and Seventeenth Air Force, and she made it look good. She taught me everything I know about decorum and what to expect from others- now that's girl power!

Question:  What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Response:  The most significant barrier to female leadership is acceptance of it from others. Mostly because there is so much negative stigma surrounding women being leaders that their talents are often overlooked.

Question:    What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation?
Response:   It takes courage, fairness and confidence; the mindset that the word "female" has absolutely no bearing on being a leader!

Question:  What do you do "like a girl"?
Response:  I laugh like a girl and own 113 pairs of shoes!