Hispanic and Latino leaders from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard came together virtually to discuss leadership, identity, and maintaining a culture of excellence May 5.
Sponsored by the Association of Naval Services Officers, a non-profit that focuses on mentorship of Hispanic-Latino servicemembers, the symposium was an annual meet up to re-commit to the ideals of recruiting, retaining, and ensuring promotion opportunities for people of Hispanic and Latino descent.
“We are in uncertain times. Times that call us to maintain a culture of excellence,” said Capt. Roy Love, who is the DC chapter president and whose chapter hosted the virtual symposium. “This was an opportunity for service members across all three maritime services to recognize that there are people of diverse backgrounds like them striving for success – and working together to get there.”
Paired with speed networking break out groups and panels that included industry experts on and military leaders on diversity, equity and inclusion, the symposium touched on key issues affecting society at large and breaking down barriers.
The U.S. Navy works alongside affinity groups like ANSO as part of a strategy to maintain positive relations with underrepresented groups.
Vice. Adm. John Nowell, the Chief of Naval Personnel and also the Navy’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, was presented with a Legacy in Leadership and Vision Award by the organization among a handful of others who have championed the importance of mentorship and inclusion.
“In this time of Great Power Competition, leveraging our diversity is critical to warfighting readiness,” said Nowell in his brief remarks. “And ANSO is actively helping us achieve that. With organizations like ANSO leading the way, we’re going to continue to get after the recommendations of Task Force One Navy—now part of the Culture of Excellence—to build a more diverse, equitable, and lethal Navy.”
One of the panels at the symposium addressed cultural insensitivities Hispanic/Latino Americans face and encouraged hard conversations where appropriate to address concerns. The panel kept with the theme of Task Force One Navy emphasis on “necessary conversations” and being transparent about ways you may be feeling hurt by co-workers. Participants felt this was an important panel within the overall framework of professional growth.
Overall, attendees were grateful to have the opportunity to see and hear from leaders of Hispanic/Latino heritage who have dedicated to help the next generation achieve similar heights.
“This sort of conference provides a great networking opportunity with people who look like you and have your similar background,” said Lt. Sabrina Reyes-Dods, who is the Women in Submarines Coordinator at U.S. Submarine Forces Atlantic. You’re able to ask ‘What problems did you face and how did you get through?’”
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