Seeing the need for women to network and support each other, Sgt. Demaris Strong, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron flight sergeant at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, created the Lady Eagle Association.
“Men are welcome to come to the meetings, but I started the Lady Eagles to give women in this career field a place to discuss challenges that are specific to them,” Strong told Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker of the 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Division.
The Lady Eagles allows Strong to instill the principles she has learned during 11 years of service in future Airmen, including the lesson that leaders must know how to fight and when to fight.
Finding that balance has been one of the biggest challenges and most important lessons for Strong. Early in her career, Strong learned from leaders who fought for her – a trait she strives to embody for her Airmen.
“I always thought everyone deserved to have someone fight for them tooth and nail,” Strong said.
“What I learned was, if you fight for everyone all the time then at the times when it really matters, no one listens. If you fight for everyone, you lose credibility.”
However, she also learned to choose her battles wisely, and that not everything required a fight.
“I’ve taught myself to reserve my fight for the ones who deserve to be fought for,” Strong said.
Although Strong has learned which fights to choose, she never leaves any of her Airmen or personnel on the sidelines and strives to support all her Airmen.
She uses her experiences as a female Defender to mentor other females on topics such as how to watch their appearance and staying focused on careers as well as seeing the big picture.
“From day one, you need to put your all into what you do so that when and if you come across any obstacles, people want to fight for you and take your side,” Strong said.
“They need to come ready to give their all and do their best daily for the mission and their superiors, but ultimately for themselves,” Strong said. “They need to be the Airman who are worth the fight.”