By MC2 Laurie Dexter, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii
More than 100 Sailors attended the 2014 Women’s Waterfront Symposium on Oct. 7 at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The symposium focused on current issues and future initiatives applicable to women in the surface Navy, both enlisted and officers.
The symposium’s theme was “Why Do You Serve?”
According to Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, education, communication and understanding are important keys when overcoming challenges. The greatest tool we have is a passionate, dedicated and engaged human mind that is willing to work with others, the admiral said.
The symposium offered interactive forums with leaders from around the island and a diverse group of communities to answer questions from the audience.
“A mentor can help guide a Sailor to make positive choices in their career,” said Lt. Cmdr. Noelle Murphy, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, who organized the event.
“It’s someone to exchange ideas with and discuss potential solutions to challenges. And it’s someone who can motivate and provide inspiration when needed. The symposium is a chance to hear how successful leaders–both men and women—from around the waterfront have tackled problems and succeeded.”
The symposium featured a panel discussion where Sailors had the opportunity to ask senior leadership about concerns, future Navy plans and personal experiences. Topics discussed in the panels included: leadership, mentorship, family/work balance, networking and support.
Both men and women were encouraged to join the discussions and participate in the symposium.
“Men and women are both in the Navy,” said Navy Chief Counselor Athena Allen, Navy Region Hawaii.
“So at the end of the day without both genders at functions like this, we’re not working as a team. We don’t want to divide by having these functions. We want to provide an opportunity to specifically get some of the females involved, so they can hear both from male and female counterparts as well as vice versa,” Allen said.
Following the interactive leadership panel, a speed-mentoring activity ensued to provide Sailors with the opportunity to speak oneon-one with leadership.
“I think the whole day has been put together to have something for everyone,” said Allen.
“The speed-mentoring gave Sailors the opportunity for intimate moments between junior Sailors and senior Sailors—both officers and enlisted—so they could ask those questions that maybe they’re not sure about or they feel uncomfortable asking in front of a group. We’re able to reach a more diverse group of personalities with the opportunity for different forums to exchange information,” she explained.