WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
A leader whose noteworthy career transcends the confines of the financial arena continues to focus on service to Air Force Materiel Command Airmen.
Teresa R. Bickett, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Deputy Director of Financial Management at Headquarters, AFMC, and shares responsibility for the financial health of significant programs and budgets.
Bickett entered federal civilian service in 1985 as a Government Service – One (GS-1) summer hire at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. She counts ‘running the gambit from GS-1 to SES’ as the impetus for a strong commitment to guide, support and mentor others.
“Throughout my career progression, I was always looking for a way to impact others,” said Bickett.
Doing the best job for the Air Force and the country while moving forward has been Bickett’s focus throughout her career, but as time passed, the placement of her feet on the progression ladder became more strategic. Selecting future positions based on where she could have a greater impact on the women around her became a major consideration.
Bickett has held a variety of financial management and logistics leadership positions at Headquarters AFMC, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Before her current position, she was the Chief for the Centralized Asset Management Division Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where she directed the Air Force’s largest operation and management account.
With each position came more responsibility and more opportunities to impact women by helping them to move forward. Today, Bickett continues to focus on mentoring African American women and others to be successful.
“It’s really important to find ways to break down barriers, to be more flexible and inclusive by working, coaching and making a larger bench,” said Bickett. “Sometimes it is not easy when one might feel that their contributions to the organization are not valued. Resilience can be shown through learning from these experiences and continuing to move forward.”
According to Bickett, the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of teleworking have made it more difficult for many women to feel that they are progressing in their careers and doing a good job. As a leader, Bickett acknowledges this difficulty, especially for those who are also the primary familial caregivers, though progress has been made through greater opportunities for telework, family and maternity leave.
“Often it falls to the woman to make choices, and during certain times in my career, it was necessary for me to step back. Events occurred which slowed my career, but didn’t end it,” said Bickett.
Bickett attributes the support of her family as a key to her ability to find ways to balance her AFMC mission alongside day-to-day life, and she didn’t let situations control her or halt forward career progression.
While stopping short of saying she always wanted to be a leader, Bickett clearly recalls knowing she wanted to make a difference.
“There was always that sense of service,” said Bickett.
Bickett continues to make a difference, just as she has during the past 37 years of her career, through mentorship and service to AFMC Airmen. She continues to hone her legacy, inspiring those who follow to aspire to aim high and achieve.
“As a leader, being able to help Airmen and bring others with me has been so important. My hope is to leave things better,” said Bickett.
During March, Women’s History Month, the Air Force Materiel Command will highlight women leaders who continually contribute to the strengthening of the Air Force mission.