MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NNS) -- The 2008 Navy Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) and Diversity Training Symposium began Sept. 22 and runs through Sept. 26 in Memphis.
This years theme, "Accentuate the Positive: Pathway to a Healthier Command Climate," promotes the notion that a healthy organizational climate is critical to mission readiness.
Rear Adm. Scott Hebner, assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for Career Management, spoke to an audience of approximately 300 fleet-wide EOAs, Command Managed Equal Opportunity (CMEO) officers, command master chiefs and civilians, during a brief Sept 23.
"Equal opportunity and diversity are both very important elements of our Navy Total Force and are an absolute necessity as we go forward to continue to remain highly competitive with the private sector workforce," said Hebner.
"Everyone is different. Diversity is based on the concept of recognizing and embracing these differences. We must respect and encourage those differences to further our mission and to remain the best."
The primary goal of the symposium is to conduct professional development training for command level EOAs, CMEOs and other leadership that address equal opportunity and diversity issues.
The schedule includes briefs from senior leadership, diversity and equal opportunity subject matter experts and experienced training professionals. The training focus is on effective interpersonal communications, current diversity strategies, equal opportunity policies and the Navy's diversity campaign plans.
"We are way more diverse now than we were when I was on my first ship," said Cmdr. Bill Garren, executive officer, Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Atlanta, a prior-enlisted limited duty officer who has served more than 30 years in the Navy.
"The Navy's (EO and CMEO) programs are better than a lot of private sector organizations and we're going to continue to get better. I've learned a lot here that I can take back and apply to our recruiting efforts," added Garren.
The Navy continues to demonstrate its commitment to equal opportunity and diversity through continued training extended to its Sailors and civilians. The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), opened in 1971, was established to address the education and training of military and civilian personnel on these topics.
"It has been very enlightening. There have been some great speakers including the CNO's (Chief of Naval Operations) advisor for diversity, who shared the CNO's guidance, as well as speakers from DEOMI who are here to train. I've got a much clearer understanding," said Chief Electrician's Mate (SW/AW) Jeffery Sampson, CMEO for NRD Atlanta.
The CNO's guidance on diversity includes driving toward a Navy that reflects the face of the nation.
"An area that's of great interest to me, of great focus to me is the issue of diversity within our military. The military of the United States must reflect the nation. We have to work today to put in place the demographics of 40 years from now," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, at Aspen Ideas Festival earlier this year.
For more information about equal opportunity and diversity in the Navy visit:
www.npc.navy.mil/CommandSupport/EqualOpportunity/ or www.npc.navy.mil/CommandSupport/Diversity/.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.