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360 Leaders Course empowers leaders at JBSA-Lackland

By Rachel Kersey | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Feb. 3, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

The 502nd Air Base Wing welcomed the 50th class of the 360 Leaders Course to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Jan. 27. The course is a week-long, science-based leadership course that provides comprehensive, holistic training in personal  health, wellness and resiliency, which empowers participants to guide Airmen under their care with compassion and understanding.

“Healthy leaders are more effective leaders,” said retired Col. Mary Lopez, who founded 360 Veterans Association with the help of retired Brig. Gen. Steven Salazar. “This is your week to take care of you.”

360 Veterans Association, a 501(c)19 charitable organization now in its 10th year of operation, has trained over 3,000 people worldwide. The nonprofit is contracted to provide several courses annually for Joint Base San Antonio, with the next one scheduled for June 15-19.

“We need this,” said Col. Peter Velesky, 502nd ABW and JBSA vice commander, who gave opening remarks. “We need to spend the money on this because it’s going to help a lot of people.”  

The motto of Three-Sixty Inc. is, “Skills for leaders, skills for life.” Accordingly, the course touched on a variety of topics including stress management, mindfulness, physical fitness, anger management, couples communication, domestic violence, nutrition and many others. A psychologist, a retired military chaplain, a physical therapist, a financial adviser and a yogi joined the team to provide subject matter expertise and offer one-on-one consultations, completely free of charge.  

The idea is that with increased education for leaders, participants in the course will be able to bring their newfound knowledge back to their workplaces and even their homes in order to improve the environment and morale.

“We want you to be able to ask the right questions to be able to engage our airmen and get them help,” Salazar said. “Life can be tough sometimes and Airmen are tough, but not immune to life circumstances. They deserve to be equipped with the best possible skills to promote their personal growth and resilience.”

At the end of the week, the 50th Daniel A. Quintana Memorial Leadership Award was presented to Adrienne Beard, a class participant and the coordinator of the JBSA-Lackland Military and Family Readiness Center’s Exceptional Family Member Program. 

“I hope they make this course mandatory if you’re promoting to a leadership role,” Beard said.  

All of the students took a vote on the last day of class to determine which classmate exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities. Beard demonstrated servant leadership throughout the week, bringing cereal and milk to share with her classmates in the mornings after yoga, arranging for a thank-you card to circulate for the instructors, and even brought pain management devices to assist a fellow student. 

This course’s award ceremony was special because Staff. Sgt. Daniel Quintana’s wife, Nilda, and daughter, Adrianna, flew in from Virginia to participate. Quintana was part of the 360 Leaders Course’s first class in Germany and was killed the following year in Afghanistan while on deployment in 2011.