Capt. Hope Bell

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Capt. Hope Bell is the executive officer for the 413th Flight Test Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Bell has been in the military for 21 years, starting off as an enlisted Airman in the active-duty Air Force for six years. She later joined the Air Force Reserve for a brief while before transitioning to the Air National Guard with the 116th Air Control Wing here at Robins and earning her commission as an officer.

While there, Bell said she found herself out of her element as a brand-new 2nd lieutenant within the aircraft maintenance world, a career field she had no background in.

“I was very intimidated by all the details, mechanics, demands and pressure,” she said. “I don’t stutter, normally, but I would stutter in the meetings, and I was terrified of being questioned.”

Finding it challenging to speak publicly, Bell found Toastmasters International, an organization that helps individuals become more effective communicators and leaders.

“You know how a child may think there’s a monster under their bed, and they’re afraid to go in their room?” she said. “That’s how I was with public speaking. I knew something was on my back and under my bed. And one day, Toastmasters gave me the confidence to pull the sheets back, look under the bed, pull out the monster and say, ‘I’m not afraid of you anymore.’”

Seven years later, Bell has held four elected offices within Toastmasters and remains an advocate for the group.

Bell most recently served at Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command as a personnel officer. Before coming to the 413th FTG two months ago, she said she expected it to take some time before finding her groove here, but a smooth transition and solid mentorship allowed her to integrate easily.

“This will be one of my highlight jobs,” she said. “If someone asks me what was the best position, I think this is going to be it … and I’m grateful for that.”