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Women's History Month: Human Resources

Navy leaders and pioneers


Commander Karen F. Muntean is currently serving as a Human Resources Officer.

Q: How did you decide to join the Navy?

A: I initially joined the Navy as an avenue to go to college, but my intentions later changed to a career commitment due to the extraordinary people and great sense of purpose.

Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you throughout your Navy career?

A: As an enlisted Sailor and as an Officer, the Chief's Mess has been integral in my development and decision to stay-Navy for over 28 years. At the rank of E-3, I also had a Lieutenant who mentored me and encouraged me to set measurable goals. She has followed my entire career and she placed my Command Pin when I assumed command of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio, March 2016.

Q: Can you share a story about someone, perhaps someone in your family or otherwise, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than perhaps even you ever thought you might.

A: I am fortunate to have a family who has always encouraged me to reach for the stars and they instilled in me a confidence that has sustained me through success and through failure. We are a family of faith and likewise, a family of optimism and resilience. I grew up in rural Tennessee, where the traditional role of a female was somewhat predestined. My family, however, never guarded my aperture, but rather encouraged me to test the boundaries. My Grandfather encouraged me in math; my Grandmother taught me to fish; my Father taught me carpentry and my Mother taught me to be a lady, all the while whispering, "You can do anything."

Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable to you and why?

A: Shortly after 911, I joined Cargo Handling Battalion TWELVE as a Division Officer and later deployed with them to Kuwait. My division was 26 strong and the largest group I had managed to date. I had served along-side many of my Sailors as an enlisted Corpsman, so I had some anxieties about reengaging as their Division Officer. This group of men and women took me in and made our success a priority. Their professionalism and attitude had a life-long impact on me and I am forever grateful.

Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?

A: Being a leader in the Navy means serving people. It is the responsibility to operate with the greatest of integrity and striving for the highest competency; to remain relevant in thoughts and actions as it pertains to mission and the needs of those you serve. Being a leader in the Navy is not a position, but rather a point in time when you move forward and are followed with the trust and confidence of those under your charge.