An Inclusive Workspace

  • Published
  • By Airman Cailey Aandal
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Erin Hansch, the 133rd Airlift Wing's Human Resource Advisor, can be thanked for being the catalyst that sparked momentum behind the concept of allyship to the 133rd Airlift Wing, turning it into a movement.

As the Human Resource Advisor, Hansch advises and assists senior leadership on strategic initiatives that directly affect organizational culture. To increase Airmen's awareness of this concept, she planted seeds via virtual and in-person training and mentor sessions on allyship.

"Allyship is the act of being supportive of another person or group that otherwise might go under-represented," said Hansch.

Two flightline supervisors at the 133rd, U.S. Air Force, Senior Master Sgt. Heath Trupe and Master Sgt. David Gindorff applied allyship when they recognized that the new mothers on their team were constantly at a disadvantage in their workplace, having to leave the flightline in search of a lactation space. Knowing they could improve this daily disruption, the leaders converted a room close to the flightline into a lactation space for the mothers.

"The most powerful part of allyship is that it doesn't impact one person or group at a time, but it inspires others to be change agents too," said Hansch.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Taylor Nielson, a nursing mother herself, was inspired when she heard this story from Hansch. Nielson, who works in the headquarters building, saw the same gap in her workspace. In short order, she was also able to create a space for the mothers in her building. Taking it a step further, she also spearheaded a local public health initiative to create more lactation spaces for mothers around the base.

"My vision is that all Airmen at our wing act as allies and create a safe space for everyone to be represented and that they amplify the voices of others," said Hansch. "When all Airmen act in allyship we will continue to build a culture of warfighters that maximize problem-solving and critical thinking that allows us to be ready for any challenge we may face in the future."