Naval Officer Takes Pride in Mentoring Hispanics for Career Opportunities

Story Number: NNS100609-24Release Date: 6/9/2010 11:12:00 PM
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By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- A student at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., is utilizing her position as the national president of the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) to encourage other Hispanics to fulfill their career aspirations in military service.

"I was so fortunate to have caring and concerned mentors when I was younger," said Cmdr. Angela Katson, who was born in Colombia and is a naturalized citizen of the United States. "They helped me realize that I had wonderful potential and that I could reach my career goals serving in the Navy."

"Working with the dedicated people at ANSO has allowed me to share my life experiences with teenage students, enlisted military personnel and junior officers," said Katson. "My mission is to make them aware that they have the ability to overcome personal challenges and achieve more in life than they ever imagined."

ANSO was established in 1981 to proactively link the Hispanic community with the Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. The organization supports the sea service chiefs by assisting in Hispanic officer recruitment and retention; fostering the professional growth and development of Hispanic sea service personnel through mentoring, networking, training and educational programs; and supporting and nurturing junior enlisted personnel desiring to apply for officer programs.

"We work hand-in-hand with the various recruiting commands to target a greater diversity of people who have the right skills to do the jobs for the naval services in our highly-competitive world," said Katson. "We've come together to actively find ways to recruit, retain, mentor, and network in order to achieve the Chief of Naval Operation's 2037 strategic diversity goal, namely that 13 percent of our active duty officer force should be highly qualified Hispanics. This would be a significant increase above our current rate of approximately six percent."

Katson recently spoke to more than 1,000 young Hispanic girls and their mothers on Latina's Day during a diversity symposium at the University of Texas-Pan American.

"That was a golden moment for me to motivate and encourage those young women to make the most of their talent and abilities," Katson said.

ANSO and the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) will hold a joint professional development and training symposium in Portsmouth, Va., July 26-30. The conference is unique because it's the first time these organizations have come together at the same venue to mentor military personnel and share leadership ideas and initiatives. All three sea service chiefs plan to attend the event.

"NNOA is the African-American counterpart to our organization," Katson said. "This is the first ever joint conference, and we're expecting more than 800 people to attend. Just imagine participating in a workshop where an enlisted person can sit across the table from an admiral and engage in one-on-one conversation to receive professional guidance. This will be mentoring at its best."

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