The 2014 Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium at the Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, VA, was standing room only. This year’s conference hosted by the Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA) was framed by the question: why do YOU serve? On hand to answer that question were members of the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Army National Guard. Those attending ranked from junior Enlisted and Officers to senior Enlisted to Flag officers of most of the services. The keynote speaker was the Navy’s next four star – VADM Michelle Howard, whose inspiring talk ascribed the traits necessary to pioneer in any territory. VADM Howard recently left Hampton Roads after being deputy commander at US Fleet Forces in Norfolk.
|VADM Michelle Howard|
The first day of the conference was dedicated to joint issues shared by all the services, as well as appreciation of varied approaches to those issues. The day began with opening remarks from US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Cari Thomas and continued with US Coast Guard Rear Admiral (ret) Mary Landry. Master Gunnery Sergeant Rolanda Bailey, USMC, followed with a clever and intense discourse on her thoughts on “Why I Serve.”
For the second day, the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard had separate tracks to focus on service-specific agendas. For the Navy, the morning incorporated three breakout sessions with items from career management, to work-family relationships, to self-care for better resiliency and leadership. VADM Nora Tyson, the most recent deputy commander for US Fleet Forces, was also on hand to speak during a morning session.
The Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM William Moran, listened to Sailors’ concerns and provide guidance on Navy personnel matters. A Senior Leadership Panel consisting of three Navy Vice Admirals highlighted the afternoon. VADM Nanette DeRenzi (42nd Judge Advocate General), VADM Robin Braun (Chief of Naval Reserve), and VADM Jan Tighe (US Fleet Cyber Commander) shared personal experiences from their careers and answered questions from the audience. The Navy agenda wrapped up with a brief on Enlisted women in submarines and a uniform policy update.
The 2014 Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium was a very positive, upbeat conference that encouraged women and men of all ranks and all services to continue developing their leadership potential by promoting a command climate embedded in respect for all.
(This post was written by Commander Colette Grail.)