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NCLS 2023: A graduate, entrepreneur motivates future female leaders

Jen Griswold presenting at NCLSJen Griswold, CEO of BossLady Bio, speaks to cadets at the 30th anniversary of the National Character and Leadership Symposium at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., Feb. 24, 2023. Griswold’s message to cadets is to be their true selves and never stop believing in their abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin R. Pacheco)

By Senior Airman Michael Ward
U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Jen Griswold shared her experiences as an entrepreneur, author and retired military officer with cadets and faculty Feb. 23-24 during the National Character and Leadership Symposium.

Griswold, a Class of 2000 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, spent more than 20 years in the Air Force. She is the founder and CEO of BossLady Bio, a website and branding development company dedicated to helping women in business.

“If I have one major passion, it’s empowering future female leaders,” said Griswold. “Anything is possible for these amazing women.”

The Academy prepares future leaders

Griswold says leadership was always in her DNA but the journey has not been a simple one. The leadership skills she developed through various aspects of her Academy experience laid the foundation for her success.

“My path has been all sorts of unconventional and I’m proud to have forged my own way,” said Griswold. “I think if I had to boil it down for the ladies, I would encourage them to know they are trained and ready to tackle leadership roles in every corner of the world once they graduate the Academy.”

Griswold said she was eager to be a speaker since this year’s NCLS theme “reimagine leadership; inspire teamwork,” is of deep significance to her.

“I was honored to be asked to speak at NCLS 2023,” Griswold added. “I care deeply that this institution continues to build our future leaders, so there was no chance I would miss it.”

The leader of character framework of living honorably, lifting others and elevating performance laid the foundation for the symposium.

“Cadets need to learn from people like her as they explore the different ways they can contribute to the military after they graduate from the Academy,” said Melissa Parent, NCLS speaker team lead. “They need to see they can continue to serve well while also focusing on their family and civilian opportunities.”

Exploring leadership and teamwork

Griswold wants the cadets to know that she was once sitting exactly where they are sitting and one of the biggest lessons she learned at the Academy is if you put your mind to it, you can achieve it.

“I want to bring very practical examples to the cadets for ways they can build vision and esprit de corps through their leadership,” said Griswold.

The symposium epitomized the Academy’s strategic goal to develop leaders of character through all aspects of the Academy experience, Parent added.

“Leadership is at the forefront of everything we do, amplifying the need for not only a motivational speaker but a relatable one as well,” she continued. “Jen Griswold proves that you can excel in many different arenas, often simultaneously. At the heart of what she embodies in all her endeavors is an inclusive, giving and strong team mindset.”

Cadets in audience at Jen Griswold NCLS presentationCadets listen to CEO of BossLady Bio, Jen Griswold, speak at the 30th National Character and Leadership Symposium at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., Feb. 24, 2023. The seminar was about empowering women and what you can accomplish while in, and out, of the service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin R. Pacheco)