In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Colonel Eries Mentzer, Vice Commander of Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and former Air Force fellow at the Wilson Center.  Col. Mentzer discusses her rise through the ranks of the United States Air Force and the personal and professional mentors who helped shape her career.  Gwen Young, the Director of the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative also joins the discussion.


Colonel Eries Mentzer is Vice Commander JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA BOLLING (JBAB). Previously she served as a Force Support Officer with United States Air Force since 1997 performing duties as a Legislative Liaison to the Congress, Joint Staff Planner, Speechwriter, and Military Assistant to the Air Force Manpower, Personnel, and Services Director, the Joint Staff Director, and the Deputy Secretary of Defense. She also served as Commander of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron in Southwest Asia ensuring the morale and welfare of more than 10,000 joint and coalition members as well as the dignified transfer of fallen warriors in Central Command. Most recently, Eries served as the Military Assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff directing his strategic engagements and supporting his responsibilities as a Joint Chief, a Global Air Chief, and as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for organizing, training and equipping 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and abroad. Eries is graduate of George Washington University where she earned a Masters in Organizational Sciences.  She also earned a Masters in Human Resources from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska.  Her research at the Wilson Center focused on evolving talent management practices for today's all-volunteer force.

Gwen Young is Director of the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and Women in Public Service Project. She previously applied her passion for female empowerment in African conflict zones, in the halls of academia, and at a diverse array of NGOs. A lawyer and public policy expert by training, Gwen has more than 20 years of experience in international public service, including work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the International Rescue Committee, and the Harvard Institute for International Development.   


John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming.