As the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, JoAnne Bass is proving that the sky's the limit for women in leadership.
With Military Appreciation Month in May, NBC 6 has decided to highlight Chief Bass as she has made history as the first female senior enlisted leader of any U.S. Military service. She's also the first person of Asian American descent to hold that title.
“If I can be that example to help shatter any glass ceiling so that when our airmen come in, perhaps I’m shattering the glass ceiling so that they have a floor that they can walk on, then it’s all worth it for me," Chief Bass said.
Chief Bass followed in her father's footsteps as he served in the Army, but she created her own path when her career in the Air Force began in 1993. She came in as an Aviation Resource Manager and even met her husband at her first duty station.
"When I joined our Air Force, I didn’t quite understand how it would truly be life-changing for me. Not only would it help me understand what it means to serve in a greater capacity than I ever thought, but I also learned that service in the military is more than a job. It’s truly a calling," said Chief Bass.
The responsibility of her new role is not lost on her as she represents almost 700,000 Airmen.
“It’s an honor for me to serve in this capacity and to lead our airmen and to take care of their families," said Chief Bass.
The military leader is also making sweeping culture changes in the Air Force, including modern reforms in women's hair regulations and fitness standards.
She's also expanding her platform on social media as she's trying to reach younger generations of women and men in the military.
“I love going out and spending time with our airmen to hear their story. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s hugely rewarding. You will gain experiences that will change the course of your life. There is nothing better than having the opportunity to serve your nation," said Chief Bass.
Chief Bass hopes to keep making progress and opening new doors for everyone in the Air Force day by day.
"The sky's the limit. We’re super excited in the Air Force because our goal is to create an environment where every single person can thrive, where they can be their very best. That’s what we hope we will accomplish in the next few years while we’re sitting in this seat," said Chief Bass.