CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) and Republic of Korea (ROK) Naval Academy midshipmen participated in a combined Women's Leadership Symposium, May 22.
The first-ever symposium provided a venue for ROK and U.S. Sailors to discuss mutual challenges and share experiences to help develop the leadership capabilities of each attending Sailor.
"We wanted to create a forum where ROK and U.S. Sailors would freely interact and realize the benefit of a cross-cultural exchange of ideas and advice," said Lt. Cmdr. Meredith Werner, CNFK Force Judge Advocate and symposium organizer. "The open dialogue and honest discussions enabled mutual mentorship, and through the shared experience we were able to provide tools for ROK Navy females to mentor and support each other throughout their careers."
Throughout the one-day symposium, the participants discussed several topics including the difference in Korean and American cultures and their effect on leadership tactics and the perception of gender in leadership positions.
"The ROK midshipmen have not had much interaction with U.S. female Sailors, so they were very engaged throughout the evening," said Werner. "The majority of their questions were focused on improving cooperation and interaction with their male counterparts and how to address sexism in the military."
Werner hopes to expand the symposium to all pay grades to allow more Sailors to learn from each other's experiences.
"The response was overwhelmingly positive," said Werner. "The ROK midshipmen asked to continue the program, and I hope to include more Sailors as we move forward with this combined mentorship program."
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