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January 2024 Signature Speaker Series Luncheon

January 10 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

$35.00 – $50.00

Resilience is Not an Individual Sport

Laurel “Buff” Burkel, Colonel, US Air Force (retired)

In this presentation, Colonel Burkel will share the story of the 2015 NATO helicopter crash she survived in Kabul, Afghanistan and highlight the central and crucial role the outpouring and many forms of support she received and continues to receive, played and continue to play in her recovery and lifelong healing journey. Her story is a powerful reminder to bloom where you are planted, that connections matter, being in shape for your life can make a crucial difference in daily life and in times of crisis, dynamic leadership is valuable and important in the work environment and in our lives, celebrate personal milestones, and, most importantly, resilience is not an individual sport.


11:00 am – 12:15 pm – Networking, Welcome, and Lunch
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm – Presentation and Final Announcements

Key Take-A-Ways:

  • Bloom wherever life plants you – look for and draw positivity from the good of your situation.
  • Resilience is not an individual sport – connections matter! Support and take care of yourself…and each other – YOU are our nation’s, your community’s, PWA’s, and your loved ones’ greatest treasure!
  • Get in shape for your life – you never know when you might need it!
  • Nurture and BE dynamic excellence – a true measure of a leader is whether they grow people (and themselves) to their potential and beyond
  • Celebrate personal milestones – take time to enjoy the good things along the road of life!

More about Buff:

Colonel Laurel “Buff” Burkel retired from the US Air Force in December 2018 after over 27 years of service. She is a distinguished graduate of the University of Michigan’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program and holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and master’s degrees in Human Resource Management (MS) from Chapman University, National Security Affairs (MS with Distinction) from US Naval Postgraduate School, and Strategic Studies (MA) from the US Air Force Air War College. Colonel Burkel is a senior navigator with more than 2,100 flight hours (including 285 combat and combat support hours) in training, F-4, C-141, and C-130 aircraft. Over the course of her military career, she commanded an operational C-130 squadron, both at home and deployed, and served in a variety of leadership positions at the group, wing, major command, Headquarters Air Force, joint, and international levels, including tours in the Republic of Korea, Canada, and Afghanistan. On her last deployment in 2015, Colonel Burkel served as the advisor to the Afghan Air Force’s Director of Training in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her deployed tour was cut short due to the injuries she sustained from the October 2015 NATO helicopter crash in Kabul that took the lives of two of her subordinates.

Read more about Buff…

You have the choice of: 

Spaghetti and Mini Meatballs
Four-Cheese Ravioli with Pesto Alfredo Sauce
Fettuccini Alfredo

Your meal will also include:

Ciabatta Rolls
Italian Salad
Vera’s Lemon Cookies
coffee, tea (hot and cold), water, and soft drinks

Please advise us of any food allergies at checkout.  Thank you.

Disclaimer:  Photos and videos of all members, guests, speakers, and affiliates may be used in any and all publications and materials promoted by PWA.

The Professional Women’s Alliance is an organization of women supporting one another for personal and professional development.  We strive to keep the annual membership cost affordable to encourage participation.  We also believe in “try it before you buy it” which is the reason we offer potential members the opportunity to attend two events before deciding to join.


January 10
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
$35.00 – $50.00
Event Category:


Maggiano’s Little Italy St. Louis
#2 The Boulevard Saint Louis
Richmond Heights, MO 63117 United States
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