Voices of the VaANG: Chief Master Sgt. Jennilee Kipper

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
  • 192nd Wing

“When I first joined, I was the only woman in my technical training class. And then, when I got to my first base, there was only one other woman in my flight for a long time. That was just the norm! Chief wasn’t really a goal of mine and I think part of it was because I never really saw a lot of women in leadership positions. There are still times when I’m the only woman in the room.

I have a 14-year-old daughter and four boys. I’ve always told her you can be anything you want to be but she just thinks it’s so cool to see me as a woman chief. There was a picture of all of us chiefs on a stage and there were only two of us women in the picture. My daughter just thought that was so cool and for a 14-year-old girl to think that...I feel like it’s a duty of mine to show other people they can do this too.

Growing up in the military, there were times when I was told straight up that I would never be a chief because I was a woman, or on the flip side, you only got that stripe because you’re a woman. But, maybe if I talk about it, other women won’t have to. There’s a quote that says there are two kinds of people in this world: I went through it so you should have to too, or I went through it so you don’t have to.

It’s because of the women who stood up over 100 years ago that we got the right to vote. But they didn’t do it for themselves — it wouldn’t change their lives much — it was for the women who came after them.” — Chief Master Sgt. Jennilee Kipper, 185th Cyber Operations Squadron superintendent