By Lt. Jeffrey S. Gray,
Outreach Navy City Public Affairs Chicago
Rear Adm. Michael Lyden, commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, sat on the Power and Influence Leadership panel, where he had an opportunity to talk about diversity in the Navy, inspirational leadership, living up to personal expectations, and civic involvement as a form of social networking.
"The Navy's Supply Corps consists of 3,400 professionals," said Lyden. "We're the business managers and premiere logisticians in the Navy. We like to think across the entire Department of Defense in total. We provide some incredible opportunities for leadership. We provide a wide range of business services from procurement, financial management, supply chain management, and distribution—you name it, we're doing it.
"From buying new ships and aircraft, to setting up forward operating bases in the far eastern reaches of Afghanistan on the Pakistan border - right out of the box, when we talk about leadership, what we offer coming out of college and into our business as a junior officer, you're put in charge of anywhere between 10 and 300 people," Lyden said.
The panel also included such corporate leaders as Douglas Conant, chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Company; Manny Favela, chief financial officer of McDonald's Latin America; and Keri Gawrych, executive vice president and division senior credit officer of Sun Trust Bank's South Florida division.
Panelists shared details about their leadership styles and how they were able to enhance their influence by tapping into different sources of power and effectively achieve objectives while motivating their teams toward improved performances.
Lyden also discussed the value of serving in the Navy in terms of being introduced to leadership early in a junior officer's career.
"I remember going to graduate school after being in the business for about seven years, and we were sitting around having leadership discussions and I realized that those of us who had been in the military had been in command, in charge, or responsible for large groups of people and our peers hadn't had that type of experience at that particular point and time," said Lyden. "So right from the start, not only do you get to witness leadership, but you get to live it and be part of it and have leadership responsibility and experience that's really unmatched."
Participants asked the panel about the prospects of Hispanics in leadership as the demographics of the country shift and Hispanics become a larger portion of the
"As a hiring organization, I believe the opportunities for Hispanics are unlimited," said Lyden. "As the demographics of the country evolve, we fully understand that we have to represent society in terms of demographics. Clearly the Hispanic community is poised to take on all types of leadership positions like never before. We certainly look forward to that in the U.S. Navy and we embrace that type of opportunity for those who want to serve."
For Lyden, engaging and connecting with the leadership of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, a prominent professional association that has access to graduate students who might be interested in serving in the U.S. Navy, will pay dividends in the future and be the start of a fruitful relationship.
Lyden's participation at the conference is part of the Navy's initiative to enhance the its branding by creating opportunities for Navy representatives to engage and connect with youth, educational, civic, government, and business leaders in targeted cities and specific professional associations; and, communicate the importance of educating and training future naval officers from diverse backgrounds for leadership roles within the United States Navy.
The goal of NSHMBA is to increase the number of Hispanics graduating from MBA schools through scholarships, awareness programs and mentorship and to enhance career management opportunities for Hispanic MBAs from school to leadership positions.
More than 8,500 Hispanic MBA professionals and students attended the conference, which included professional development seminars, a CEO speaker series, and the nation's largest career expo for Hispanic MBA professionals.