Disability Employment Awareness Month mentoring panel highlights inclusivity

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

Challenges and opportunities for inclusive mentoring were key topics of discussion during the Air Force Materiel Command Disability Employment Awareness Month Cross-Cultural Mentoring Panel, Oct. 24.

Hosted by Rebecca Traynor, AFMC Disability Program Manager, the event featured panelists with diverse disabilities alongside command employment experts who discussed ways to cultivate effective mentoring relationships with individuals across the ability spectrum.

“Managing assumptions is especially critical, especially when working with individuals who have an invisible disability,” said Rhiannon Brown, Curriculum Developer and Language Specialist, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, Air Education and Training Center, and event panelist.  “Ask questions and seeking knowledge with an open heart and mind will help you be a better mentor to those around you.”

Additional event panelists included Edward Rua, Chief, Missile Sustainment Division, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center; and Melissa Servillon, Disability Program Manager, 72nd Air Base Wing. An American Sign Language interpreter provided translation during the event.

AFMC Cross-Cultural Mentoring sessions began in 2022 to highlight the importance of mentoring and encourage demographic diversity in mentor relationships across the command. This panel event was an opportunity to create greater awareness and understanding of disability challenges and guidance for more productive, tactful mentoring relationships across demographics.

To view the entire mentoring session, visit


To learn more about the AFMC mentoring program, visit https://www.afmc.af.mil/Careers/AFMC-Mentoring/.