By Taylor Jo Russo, Staff Writer
Lt. General Flora Darpino ’83, spoke to students on Friday, Mar. 22, in the second installment of the Eisenhower’s Institute Women and Leadership Program lecture series. LTG Darpino is a retired Army general officer and military lawyer who served as the 39th Judge Advocate General (JAG), U.S. Army. She was the first woman to hold the position since the establishment of the Army in 1775. General Darpino spoke about her career and the biases she was exposed to in a male dominated field.
LTG Darpino shed light on her career and some of her specific accomplishments, but the majority of her talk focused on the lessons she learned about herself, the Army, and how to overcome bias based on something you can’t control, like your biological sex. As an example of the strong bias she experienced, her first assignment, she was told by her male boss, “I told them not to send a woman, but they sent you anyway.” LTG Darpino decided to focus on the latter part of that quote, holding onto the fact that they sent her anyway, knowing what she was capable of.
LTGDarpino explained that, throughout her career, she overcame barriers and watched them break down overtime. When asked what advice she would give to future JAG’s, she offered this:
- Be smart and stay smart.
- Be a leader and have a personality.
- Be or want to be physically fit.
- Be cooperative.
- Leadership is never about the leader
Some other advice she offered to overcome intense biases were to have optimism, be organized, have forgiveness, be honest, and do not listen to the nay-sayers, even the ones in you. She finished by reminding students to stay focused on the long-term goal and she urged to not get caught up in the moment.