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Master Sgt. Sonja Williams takes over as 174th Attack Wing Human Resource Advisor

New York Air National Guard Master Sgt. Sonja Williams poses while working in her new office at the Joint Health and Wellness Center, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York on February 3, 2013. Williams recently took over as the 174th Attack Wing’s Human Resource Advisor, where she focuses on force management, force development and diversity. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released).

New York Air National Guard Master Sgt. Sonja Williams poses while working in her new office at the Joint Health and Wellness Center, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York on February 3, 2013. Williams recently took over as the 174th Attack Wing’s Human Resource Advisor, where she focuses on force management, force development and diversity. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released).

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York -- The New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing recently welcomed Master Sgt. Sonja Williams to her new position as the Human Resource Advisor (HRA) here.

"I'm very excited about this new position," said Williams. "I get to go around and inform people on base as well as in the community. I'm a people person, so I'm looking forward to what's ahead."

Williams attended Toms River High School in New Jersey, and later graduated from Jefferson Community College with an Associates Degree in Art. From there she moved onto SUNY Potsdam where she earned her Bachelor's in Secondary Education and her Master's in Reading.

Williams has been a member of the unit since December 1997. Prior to becoming the HRA, she worked in the Civil Engineering Squadron for six years as the training manager.

Williams says her civilian experience will help her as the Wing HRA. "I teach high school Spanish," said Williams. "I'm used to talking with people day in and day out."

The HRA position is unique to the Air National Guard and only a traditional guardsman can hold the position. Williams says that there are three main focuses for her as an HRA: force management, force development and diversity.

After receiving the news that she was the new HRA, Williams began setting goals to accomplish. Her fellow airmen even tried giving her ideas. "I've been getting suggestions and it's nice to see that people care enough to get involved," said Williams.

One of her goals is to establish a mentor program for those entering the military for the first time. This program would help ensure that no airmen ever feels alone or has nowhere to turn for answers. It also builds early relationships between the airmen that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Another program she wants to champion is a leadership workshop designed to better develop chief master sergeants. This program would give staff and technical sergeants a chance to interact with chiefs here and learn what it takes to attain their position.

Finally, HRA Williams wants to eliminate the negative connotation that comes with the word diversity.  "Diversity is getting 100% from 100% of your people 100% of the time, period" said Williams. "I just want to do the best I can."