Rear Admiral Paula C. Brown is currently serving as Deputy Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Deputy Chief of Civil Engineers.
Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?
Growing up overseas in Taiwan and Malaysia heavily influenced my awareness and pride in being an American and appreciating the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Through my childhood friends and their families, I saw that my personal values were also held by those serving the Navy. Even though my own family was not in the military, it always felt good to stand tall respecting our National Anthem, and the Navy continues to evoked that pride. I joined the Navy to be independent, to realize a dream and overcome challenges. I continue to serve to give back and to pay it forward.
Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you?
My parents have always encouraged and expected both me and my brother to do well at whatever we did. They gave us encouragement and support in all of our endeavors.
During a college internship, my first real boss when I was just 18 years old was a woman; Dolores Taylor, one of the first engineering hydrologists in California. She never "mothered" me, but was always there to patiently explain the "whys" of our work and the value in performing well, delivering correct information/analysis and doing a consistently good or great job. She always supported my curiosity and courage to do and learn more. I admired her grace, her strength to excel and hold strong with her convictions.
Barbara Bush was one of the first people that gave me credit for not only doing my job, but being a woman; "they finally sent the right man for the job," was her response when I was an Ensign and showed up to help explain a facilities question she had on the renovations we were doing at the Vice President's residence (1983-4). Again, a woman with deep convictions, grace, poise and stubbornness that inspired me to excel.
Mostly I look for people that take calculated risks and make difficult decisions with dignity and confidence; General Colin Powell comes to mind. I also look for smart people that are my juniors as they bring an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm to direct our future.