VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Diversity action officers (DAOs) and Mentorship Program coordinators (MPCs) from Navy Information Domain commands participated in mentoring and training sessions with senior leaders of Navy Cyber Forces (CYBERFOR) and Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), July 26-30 in the Hampton Roads, Va. area.
Sailors were in town for the combined symposium of the Association of Naval Services Officers and National Naval Officers Association, the affinity groups for Hispanics and African-Americans, respectively, serving in the sea services.
CYBERFOR Commander Rear Adm. Tom Meek kicked off the week in an address to the domain DAOs and MPCs. He also participated in a panel discussion on diversity in support of the Maritime Strategy at the ANSO/NNOA conference.
"One of my top priorities is to develop an inclusive culture that values diversity," Meek said. "We have a progressive diversity program that focuses on five areas, including accountability, communications, outreach, mentorship and training. Each member of our domain diversity and mentorship team, and in fact every member of our workforce, plays a key role in our success. That's why we wanted to maximize our time with our Sailors who were in town for the ANSO/NNOA symposium."
NETWARCOM Commander Rear Adm. Edward H. Deets, III, participated in the ANSO/NNOA speed mentoring session, and conducted several one-on-one mentoring sessions for the domain team and other conference attendees. He also briefed members of the Information Dominance Corps at a conference break-out session.
"I'm certain everyone participating in this joint conference understands the strategic imperative of diversity - ensuring our force is the best it can be and fully prepared to answer all bells," Deets said. "The strength of our great Navy is drawn from the rich diversity of our men and women, and our interaction this week builds on that strength."
Additional sessions for the domain DAOs and MPCs included a two-day mentor/protege training session in which 21 Sailors earned a certification in mentorship, and a diversity course, "Appreciating Differences."
CYBERFOR Force Diversity Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Venzor, conducted the mentoring training sessions and talked about the soon to be released domain Mentorship Strategy.
"The CYBERFOR total force mentorship strategy is designed to provide every Sailor and civilian the opportunity to develop a mentorship relationship," Venzor said. "The strategy encourages both mentor and protege to develop enduring relationships while empowering the protege to take charge of their professional and personnel development."
Closing out the week's events, CYBERFOR Chief of Staff Rear Adm. John W. Smith Jr., emphasized that everyone brings unique talents and abilities to the table - and valuing those differences enhances team performance.
"The U.S. Navy is one great big melting pot," said Smith. "When we look into that pot, we see each other as stronger together than we are apart. That makes our Navy better."
Smith said that his favorite motto "one team - one fight" doesn't mean that we always have to agree, but that we challenge and energize each other to be our best, together.
Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Allan Grove, mentorship program coordinator for Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific in Wahiawa, Hawaii, was impressed with the number of flag officers who participated in the diversity/mentoring events.
"We not only heard from the flag officers, but we saw their level of commitment this week," Grove said. "To see them take time out of their busy schedules shows that this isn't just lip service, but they are truly supportive of this program."
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