WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Representatives from the Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard gathered to celebrate the contributions of women at a Navy birthday celebration at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Oct. 20.
The event was sponsored by the Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing professional development through networking, education and mentorship for women in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The event was highlighted by speeches from Rear Adm. Kathleen M. Dussault, director of Navy Logistics Programs and Corporate Operations Division (OPNAV N41); Rear Adm. Margaret DeLuca Klein, chief of staff of U.S. Cyber Command; and retired Command Master Chief Jaqueline DiRosa.
All three speakers shared their own experiences as women in the Navy and emphasized the importance of fostering future contributions of women.
"It will be 34 years next year that I've been in the Navy, and it has continued to be exciting, empowering - just an incredible adventure," said Dussault.
The speakers also discussed the vital role of mentorship to leadership development.
"Throughout my career, I remember that seed that was planted early, and I've always relied on mentors and people," said DiRosa. "If it wasn't for my mentors that helped open doors of opportunity, I don't know where I would have ended up."
DiRosa broke two proverbial glass ceilings during her time in service as the Navy's first enlisted woman to be selected as a force master chief and then a fleet master chief. DiRosa currently serves as senior enlisted director of SSLA.
SSLA President and USS Higgins (DDG 76) Prospective Executive/Commanding officer Cmdr. Nicole Shue also shared her thoughts on women in the Navy and the need to pursue opportunities for women in the sea services.
"It is our responsibility to keep those doors open and to take up that torch and to continue to excel and grow and provide a larger force of women in the Navy," said Shue.
The celebration culminated with the unveiling of a commemorative wall plaque in honor of all the women who have served in the Navy over the past 103 years.
The plaque features the SSLA logo prominently displayed above a quote from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus which reads, "We literally could not run the Navy without women."
Underneath the quote is a dedication to the women in the Navy who have served with honor, valor, and sacrifice since 1908. The plaque will remain part of the permanent collection on the United States Navy Memorial Commemorative Plaque Wall, which features dedications to notable groups, ships, individuals, squadrons, battles and prominent events in naval history.
For more information on SSLA, visit www.sealeader.org.
To learn more about women in the Navy, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/organization/BUPERS/WomensPolicy/Pages/default.aspx.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.