Diversity and Inclusion Office Hosts Panel Discussion for Women's History Month

Story Number: NNS180515-13Release Date: 5/15/2018 3:03:00 PM
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By Kristi Britt, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Specialist

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Each year the month of March is dedicated to women's history, honoring and celebrating the struggles and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States. At Norfolk Naval Shipyard, we honor and pay tribute each year to the women who, through their steadfast determination and inspirational contributions, have shaped America's history and continue to pave the way forward for all.

The Diversity and Inclusion Office (Code 1103) led a panel discussion March 21 in recognition of Women's History Month, focused on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement and what shipyarders could learn from them in order to create a work environment where all people feel safe to speak up. The panel included Code 1100 Executive Director Lisa Downey, Code 900 Production Resources Office Cdr. Jip Mosman, Code 950 fourth year Apprentice Ashley Holden, Code 900T Apprentice Program Director Colby Tynes, and Code 200 Workforce Development Melinda Matthews.

"We wanted to build a conversation where our shipyard family could learn from what's going on in the world today and bring those lessons back to our day-to-day operations," said Capt. Beth Silsdorf, diversity and inclusion officer. "We want to ensure our shipyard is an environment of equal opportunity where our team feels safe with one another or feels safe to speak up in times of need."

The discussion provided a chance for the workforce at all levels to discuss their personal experiences and what they hope can bring about the change needed to the shipyard.

"I've been to a lot of different places as a member of the military and I've experienced different cultures around the world," said Mosman. "This conversation is relevant everywhere and it's important. If you create an environment where people are comfortable talking to you, it provides a place for others to feel safe and heard. It isn't always easy but we have to make a point of doing the right thing inside and outside of work. Pay attention to each other, listen to each other. It truly goes a long way."

Holden also added, "One thing I want to see change at the shipyard is more classes and training to help the workforce grow. I enjoyed Team of Winners and I hope that continues to be prominent in the shipyard. I want to see people stand up for other people. Sometimes a female will feel more confident if someone says something to someone and they ask to stop and people actually help stand up for them instead of laughing or giving a high five. If you see something, say something; even if it's pulling someone to the side and speaking with them about that incident. People will remember that you stood up for them. I'm grateful they put Team of Winners in place and hope more people take to heart what that training stands for."

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