WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Christina (Tina) Alvarado, deputy chief for Reserve policy, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, joined five Hispanic military leaders for a panel at the National LATINA Style Awards to offer guidance and advice on leadership and self-development.
Alvarado's journey into the military was an unconventional one. She worked as a critical care nurse before moving to Washington, D.C. as a full-time staffer at the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, following the footsteps of her biological grandmother, who was one of the first female staffers on Capitol Hill. The veterans she met inspired her to join the Navy as a Reserve critical care nurse. Shortly thereafter, she deployed to Operation Desert Storm.
She went on to establish Navy Medicine's first reserve expeditionary medical facility (EMF), EMF Dallas in 2011. She was the first nurse to serve as the commanding officer of what was once a "fleet hospital" and one of the first women to do so as well. She and her team were given the honor of plankowners as the first Sailors to staff the EMF. Since that time, a total of four Reserve EMFs have been created within Navy Medicine.
"Having the honor of being a commanding officer with a team that accomplished a first like that was enormously satisfying," Alvarado said. "There aren't many positions to go post-command, so I thought it'd be my last one and I'd retire as a captain."
Shortly thereafter she picked up her first star for rear admiral lower half, and five years later, with her second star, she's still serving as Navy Reservist.
During the LATINA Style panel, Alvarado told the group about a young Hispanic woman and Navy nurse she recently met. It was this officer's first time interacting with a flag officer. The woman expressed her admiration for Alvarado, and said, "You've made me realize that someday I may have the opportunity to be in your position."
That statement is one that has changed Alvarado's perspective on the importance of her role as a leader.
"At that moment, I started to wear my stars differently," Alvarado said. "Holding a position of leadership isn't about the person in the position or the traditions of honor that come along with it. Rather it's about what that position represents for those striving to do better for themselves and those around them. I probably work harder now than I ever have before, because the young men and women of the Navy depend on me and I will not let them down."
"Success is never a solo journey, and I never measure success by what I have done," said Alvarado. "My success is measured by the accomplishments of those I've had the honor to lead. My shipmates in Navy Medicine have proven to me, through their accomplishments and the work we've done together in the last 29 years, that I have all the success I'll ever need."
LATINA Style is a national magazine dedicated to the needs and concerns of the contemporary Latina professional working woman and the Latina business owner in the United States, showcasing Latina achievements in all areas, including business, science, civic affairs, education, entertainment, sports, and the arts.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel which provides health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families, and veterans in high operational-tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships, and research units around the world.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.