Women's History Month: Rear Admiral Alma Grocki
Navy leaders and pioneers
"From the Revolutionary War to current conflicts, women have played a crucial role in the security of our nation and the success of the U.S. Navy. Join us as we celebrate Women's History Month by profiling women leaders and pioneers across the Navy."
Q: Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?
A: I decided to join the Navy for the opportunities in education, leadership, and a career. My dad worked for 39 years as a General Foreman supervisor at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and I liked being around ships and submarines. I witnessed the pride the workers had doing something for the nation that didn't revolve around a profit or material gain for themselves, but because it was a job that needed to be done right, and they had the skills to do it.
Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you?
A: I've had several mentors from different parts of my life. Obviously my dad, who taught me that experience was more important than rank, to be humble, but stand up for yourself, to work hard at what you do, and to have integrity. My JROTC instructor in high school whose strong yet quiet leadership style garnered much respect and always did what was right for the unit, even if it was hard on an individual. My first outrigger racing canoe coach who taught me strength of mind as well as body, strength of will and digging deep, and not letting you defeat yourself. All of these role models were examples to live the way you wanted others to see you and follow you.
Q: Please tell us a story about someone, perhaps in your family or otherwise e, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than you ever thought you might.
A: This was my outrigger racing canoe coach. I was four years out of the Academy, a LTJG about to become a LT, and trying paddling for the first time. I had always thought of myself as a mediocre athlete (I was a rifle shooter in high school), but this sport wasn't something you had to grow up doing, or take years to really be good at. I picked the stroke and timing up quickly, but needed to work on my power and endurance. He motivated me to work on strength training, partly because I wanted to be more powerful in the canoe, but also because I didn't want to disappoint him. He coached with a combination of encouragement and challenges, and could tell if we weren't working to exhaustion. After years of paddling himself, he knew how the mind could defeat the body, and in his own way, made us think about how well we would do based on how much we were willing to work. He raised my self- confidence to a level which I applied to other aspects in my life, and this canoe season was the turning point in my ability to see how far I could go in my career, and in life, if I was willing to work hard at something. He asked me to be an assistant coach after a year, which lead to me being on the Board of Directors for the club, and opened my world to people and possibilities beyond the life I had known before.