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#KnowYourMil: Master Sgt. Victoria Fiermonte

  • Published
  • By Candy Knight
  • Fourth Air Force Public Affairs

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- “The quickest way to acquire self-confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do.”

These words drive Master Sgt. Victoria Fiermonte to do the best she can in a job she never considered when she joined the Air Force more than 11 years ago.

Fiermonte is the executive assistant to Chief Master Sgt. Cynthia Villa, the Fourth Air Force command chief. As the executive assistant, her responsibilities range from project management and travel arrangements to organizing teleconferences. She has also done her fair share of event planning. 

“This is not an easy job,” she said. “You have to learn to adapt and learn to think ahead. Sometimes you have to get creative and push forward. You have to be a manager and a journeyman all at the same time.”

So why would a Health Services Management Specialist who spent her entire 11-year career in the medical field apply for the highly visible executive assistant position?

“Medical is my home. I love to help people and it’s my passion, but I love a challenge and I’m always on the lookout for them,” she said. “I apply because this position provided great opportunities to better serve my country and grow as an Airman. The opportunities you have and the amount of networking is invaluable. I have learned so much about the military and the Reserve in this past year than I did in my previous jobs.”

Fiermonte added that “it was a no brainer” to apply to work for Chief Villa.

“Having Chief Villa as my Command Chief while I was at the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, and seeing the type of leader she was, I never questioned applying for the position to be her executive assistant.”

Fiermonte felt the organizational and time management skills she honed as a medical administration specialist, in addition to her ability to multi-task, would impress Chief Villa. 

Being a team player also helped. In fact, according to Chief Villa, this was one of the most important attributes applicants had to possess.

“(During the interview process) I was looking for a person with a great attitude, who was self-motivating, eager to learn and grow, and who epitomized customs and courtesies,” Chief Villa said. “Most importantly, the person had to be a team player and someone who would connect with my personality, and be an awesome teammate.”

Chief Villa added that of the five applicants she interviewed, she was impressed by Fiermonte’s level of confidence.

“Master Sergeant Fiermonte had tough competition,” Chief Villa said. “I narrowed it down to the top three candidates. I also did my homework on the top three candidates to include soliciting feedback from two teammates who were serving or had served in the executive assistant capacity. Fiermonte’s level of confidence was a highlight. Additionally, she had completed Noncommissioned Officer Academy training and possessed strong administrative skill sets. Most importantly, I felt she’d fit right in with our Fourth Air Force team.”

Given the tough competition, Fiermonte was truly surprised when she received word Chief Villa had selected her for the position.

“I was ecstatic. I was shaking, I was so excited. It was very unexpected but couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.”

And what advice did Chief Villa give her new executive assistant on her very first day of work?

“Trust was a must! There must be trust between the chief and the executive assistant in order to serve the team effectively,” Chief Villa recalled. “I shared that I was a very transparent person and communication would be critical. Most importantly, it needs to be two-way communication. I am not perfect and I need to make sure she provides me respectful but honest feedback if I’m missing the mark. I charged her with being aggressive with her career. I am here to develop, mentor and set her up for success, but she must have the drive and ambition to make the best of her career. Being good wingman to each other is key.”

Chief Villa added Fiermonte’s motivation, and attention-to-detail has aided the chief in succeeding in advocating for Fourth Air Force’s enlisted corps.

“There is no way I could be as efficient and remain readily available to serve the men and women of 4th AF without my executive assistant,” Chief Villa said. “She keeps me on target and I can’t thank her enough for her contributions to our team.

So, what lessons has Fiermonte learned during her time as the chief’s executive assistant?

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that I am an advocate for our Airmen. Whether this is by association, direct involvement, or by channeling concerns up to Chief Villa, I am helping the Fourth Air Force’s efforts to care for and develop its Airmen, implement change, and succeed in its mission.”

Helping Airmen get their voices heard has been Fiermonte’s favorite aspect of her position.

“I have noticed at a couple of visits, some Airmen are afraid or too shy to approach Chief, so I have been approached and advocated for them to get their questions and concerns answered.”

When asked what advice she would give Airmen interested in applying for positions outside their AFSC, Fiermonte stated a familiar phrase --- Just Do It!

“Don’t be afraid or intimidated, just do it,” she said. “Challenge yourself and reach for the stars!”