Sailors ‘Chart the Course’ at Leadership Symposium

Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), answers a question during a panel discussion about women’s wellness at the 2017 Hawaii Women’s Joint Leadership Symposium.

Story and photo by MC2 Gabrielle Joyner

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

The 2017 Hawaii Women’s Joint Leadership Symposium, hosted by the Hawaii Women’s Joint Leadership Committee, was held at Ford Island Conference Center on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Oct. 17.

The theme for this year’s symposium was “Charting Your Course, Navigating your future,” featuring keynote speaker Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, Commander, Navy Installations Command, who stressed five main themes of focus: own it, navigate it, value difference, it can get hard and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

“Bring talent to the table,” said Jackson, who as the head of the shore enterprise oversees 11 regions and 71 installations. “Winning the fight against our adversaries involves winning the fight against ourselves.”

Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class LaVida Boone, a guest at the event assigned to JBPHH, said that she found Jackson’s speech to be not only helpful, but also inspiring.

“In Vice Admiral Jackson’s opening speech, she talked about the importance of resiliency, dusting yourself off and getting back up, and that really stuck with me,” Boone said.

The objective of the event was to focus on opportunities and insights for those who serve in the military while exploring options, providing tools for their future, and encouraging them to continue their service.

“Events like these provide service members the opportunity to pause and interact with other women across multiple ranks, branches, ages, and experiences,” Boone said.

“What we do can be difficult and demanding, and we forget that we’re all sharing in the same experiences. Any forum where service members can be forthright and honest about their experiences, reassure others that they’ve been there too and understand, or shine a light on issues that need to be addressed, to make circumstances better for others greatly contribute to retention.”

The annual symposium offered several workshops, including a women’s wellness panel, social media presentation, financial readiness seminar, an introduction to future employment with “Branding Yourself” and breakout sessions, where attendees were able to ask individual questions and have candid discussions with guest speakers, leaders and their peers.

“I thought that the ‘Branding Yourself ‘ presentation gave insightful advice and tips about branding yourself for future potential employers, and how to set yourself apart from other job applicants,” Boone said.

Symposium participants were encouraged to use this event to network with leaders and peers, as well as bring back new knowledge and perspective gained in the forum back to their commands.

“I think all Sailors should take the opportunity to attend command sponsored symposiums and cultural presentations,” Boone said. “They’re always well executed, educational, and entertaining. I always come away from them glad and feeling better for having attended.”

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