Accelerating mission success through a culture of connection.

We can’t change peoples’ feelings. But we can change their conditions.


Overall program rating out of 5

2022 Major General Marcelite Harris Trailblazer Award

NILE (NCO Inclusive Leadership Excellence) was created in direct response to the rising rates of suicide among enlisted servicemen and women in the US Air Force.

The program addresses the cultural challenges that hinder mission readiness and service member well-being through targeted interventions that focus on the one person who holds the greatest influence over their day-to-day experience: their NCO.

Mission Readiness Requires More Than just preparation; it demands cultural solutions.

The US military boasts some of the most stressful jobs on the planet, bolstered by a culture of toughness that leaves little room for vulnerability or connection. At the bottom of this power structure sit junior enlisted who, unlike their peers with regular jobs, don’t have the option to quit, transfer, or go home if the conditions get to be too much.

Rising suicide rates across the DoD over the past decade(+) are a common symptom of unhealthy organizational culture. 

24/7, mission-driven, high tempo, and little downtime or solitude.

High-performing, high-stress conditions, often without a clear endpoint.

Uncertainty about the future combined with a lack of interpersonal skills and experience navigating these conditions.


NCOs typically feel little agency over their identities as leaders, or the cultures they foster as a result. Because of this, NCOs tend to perpetuate harsh military cultural norms within the microcosms of their teams.

NILE disrupts this passive mindset by facilitating NCOs through a process of connecting to their histories, their senses of self, and their personal leadership missions. This helps them learn to recognize and break the cycles of cultural toxicity, and discover their agency and power to create inclusively excellent cultures.

Targeting Influencers to Accelerate Change

NILE isn’t a blanket program for all NCOs; it’s strategically targeted to specific problem areas of a command where inclusive leadership is breaking down. S2A’s development & support team identifies these problem areas in our cultural discovery phase, powered by Constellation.

Constellation is an organizational network analysis (ONA) tool developed by S2A. We use this tool to map the informal networks of influence and collaboration – known as shadow networks – that exist underneath the formal command and control structure of a given unit.


The areas of greatest cultural stress within a military unit


The positive sources of influence who make change happen


The people who are most isolated and at risk

We use these insights to build each NILE cohort, empowering each NCO participant to transform the larger culture from within.

Each NILE cohort comprises 12-18 NCOs, hand-selected for their informal networks and positive cultural influence. These NCOs help spread the word, drive interest, and accelerate widespread adoption of the program in the shortest amount of time.

how NILE works

Over the course of this life-changing 3-day workshop, NCOs form an authentic connection to their own identities as leaders, and learn to build a supportive culture of inclusive excellence for their most at-risk service members.

Day 1

Breaking Expectations

Personal stories from seasoned military veterans: Inspiring authenticity

Reflection on military culture and personal identity: Uncovering hidden biases

Recognizing the intricate relationship between culture and character development

Day 2

Claiming Personal Agency

Cultivating a sense of personal mission and identity as an influential leader

Connecting with core motivators and formative experiences: Guiding principles

Embracing an internal locus of control: Taking responsibility for change

Day 3

Authenticity is Power

NCOs share their personal stories with junior airmen: Fostering connection

Vulnerability and courage: Creating a supportive and open environment

Transformation through inclusive and compassionate leadership: Strengthening bonds

NILE Offers Targeted Solutions With Vast Collateral Benefits.

NILE doesn’t just help prevent suicide. It dramatically improves overall team and command performance. 

When supported, engaged and empowered, NCOs and junior airmen get measurably better at accomplishing the mission. Team cultures powered by inclusive excellence will outperform more disparate or fractured teams every time. 

Why? Because feeling connected and in control empowers servicemen and women to activate their full and best selves towards the work at hand.

Stay in the Know

Participant Testimonials

WARNING! Attending NILE may cause serious perspective shifts, as evidenced by these testimonials from our most recent cohort at Little Rock Air Force Base…

“Gives us a lot of tools, definitely useful ones that are actually applicable to peoples’ lives and livelihoods. We have more power as NCOs than we realize and with great power comes great responsibility.”

“I came into this course thinking it was going to be like every other one.I learned more in 3 days about myself and others than I have in years.”


Inclusive Leadership

What does ‘Inclusive’ truly mean in the context of leadership? It’s a term that often sparks various interpretations from many different people, but Kevin Norman, NILE Program Director, provides valuable insights into how he thinks of inclusive leadership within the context of NILE.



Participant TestimonialS

Our recent NILE cohort at Little Rock Air Force Base has once again demonstrated the significant impact of this program. These testimonials highlight the deep personal and leadership development experienced by our participants. NCOs are discovering new perspectives, embracing vulnerability, and encouraging self-reflection, which are crucial for effective leadership and personal growth.

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