Leadership News

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Leadership Is About Service, Vice Chairman Tells NDU Graduates

By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- The National Defense University’s class of 2018 is part of a network that’s unique in its interagency, joint and combined composition, Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the graduates here today.

“You met students from other countries, you met students from other parts of government and you developed relationships of trust and understanding. You should use those relationships for the rest of your career,” the vice chairman said, speaking at NDU on Fort McNair in Washington.

Selva told the graduates to take care of themselves and be ready to give every bit of energy they have to be advocates for the people for whom they work -- the men and women they will lead.

 “Leadership is about service, and you work for them, not the other way around,” he said. “If you're not successful, they're not successful. And, if they're not successful, you are not successful.”

The chairman told the class that each one of them is “uniquely qualified to lead because you have proven it. You wouldn't be here if that wasn't true.”

Thinking Strategically

At NDU for the past year, the students learned to think strategically about the forces shaping the world today, and how they can use all of the tools they have to help shape the world to be the place they want it to be. But they must start with the world the way it is, he said.

“Because there are no military miracles, planning matters. Strategy matters. Seeing the world as it is and applying the tools you have learned here at NDU matters,” he said.

“It is the intersection of leadership and innovation that make the changes in the way we conduct war. Look at the world we face today. Russia and China are two compelling strategic challenges,” the chairman said.

“If we build a force that is capable of countering Russia and China, we’ll have a force that’s capable of countering [rogue] regimes, like Iran and North Korea,” he said. “But that same force may not be suitable for countering violent extremism, which continually morphs and will be with us for a very long time.”

That is the environment of today, Selva said -- one that’s more complex and volatile than the United States and its allies have faced since World War II.

‘No Nation Can Go It Alone’

“Like the members of the greatest generation, we learned during that war no nation can go it alone,” he said. “Our allies and partners multiply our capability. We are much greater than the sum of our parts. We are substantially greater because we each bring unique capacity and capability to the battlespace.”

As that battlespace continues to evolve, leaders must be more agile, not only in their ability to protect power, but in their ability to bring their allies and partners along with them, he said.

“Your job as leaders in our government and leaders in our military and the militaries and governments of your nations, is to help our leaders answer the tough questions of how to meet today’s challenges and how to prepare for tomorrow’s threats, while shaping the world in a way that we want it shaped to reflect our common values and our common interests,” Selva said.

“See the world as it is. Be honest in your assessment of how we can apply the tools that exist to shape that world,” he said. “And be realistic in your aspirations for what you can do and what you want to make the world look like.”

The vice chairman also encouraged the class to be thankful for their families and others who support them. “You owe a debt of gratitude to your families,” he said.

At NDU today, College of International Security Affairs graduates received a certificate or Master of Arts degree in strategic security studies with concentrations in either counterterrorism, or South and Central Asia. Eisenhower School graduates received a certificate or Master of Science degree in national resource strategy. College of Information and Cyberspace graduates received a certificate or Master of Science degree in government information leadership. National War College graduates received a certificate or Master of Science degree in national security strategy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Leadership in a Diverse Environment Training Focuses on Women in Leadership

By Kelley Stirling, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division

WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division held a Leadership in a Diverse Environment (LDE) training event on May 31, 2018, in West Bethesda, Maryland.

The event, though mostly geared toward women either in or seeking leadership positions, was created to provide any employee with knowledge and tools to help understand how diversity in the workforce can help lead to success.

"Research have shown that the top 50 companies are very successful because of their diversity, and they consistently outperform other companies on stock performance." said Dr. Paul Shang, Carderock's acting technical director, during his welcoming remarks.

Capt. Mark Vandroff, commanding officer, connected diversity and inclusion directly to the Naval Sea System Command's (NAVSEA) vision to "Expand the Advantage," and that the advantage in this case is people.

"One of the things we work hard here at Carderock to do is to bring talent, and in order to get the most talent, we have to bring in a diverse group of people, because talent exists everywhere," Vandroff said, adding that attendees should see the LDE training event as an investment in human capital.

Carderock's LDE training event, developed by Carderock Chief of Staff Kathy Stanley, brought together women leaders within the Department of the Navy to talk about their experiences. Guest speakers included Victoria Bowens, director for DON Diversity and Inclusion Office; retired Navy Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, former Carderock commander and astronaut; and Sarwat Chappell, program director for the Office of Naval Research's Weapons, Power and Energy Office.

Besides stories on how they got where they are, a common theme for all the speakers was how they balance work and life.

"I think everyone agonizes over this," Chappell said. "I gave myself permission to juggle my life and work, and it is OK sometimes to do that."

All of the speakers said they had taken advantage of opportunities throughout their career. Stefanyshyn-Piper said the opportunities can come with risk.

"You have to take risks, there are going to be risks," Stefanyshyn-Piper said. "Don't let your own self-doubt be the thing that holds you back."

Bowens described diversity not only in terms of gender or race, but also generations and culture. She said the only real difference between generations is technology, and other than that, there are just experiences.

"The expectations of men and women have changed. The expectations of the workforce have changed," Bowens said. "Be sensitive to the differences, be sensitive to these cultures."

There were also a couple of panel discussions, one with women in leadership and the other with new professionals. The women in leadership panel included Neaclesa Anderson, division counsel for Carderock; Susan Tomaiko, director for Undersea Systems Contracts Division at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA); Robin White, director for Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering at NAVSEA; and Steffanie Easter, director, Navy Staff and senior chief of naval operations.

The new professionals' panel consisted of all Carderock employees: Trisha Shields, aerospace engineer for the Sea-Based Aviation and Aeromechanics Branch; Kristine O'Connor, administrative officer for the Ship Signatures Department; Dr. Krista Michalis, program manager for the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) 219 programs; Charlotte George, program director for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Outreach programs; and Nancy Adler, branch head for the Performance Evaluation Branch.

Each of the panels was asked the same questions in order to get perspective from both senior and junior leaders in the workforce. One question that had similar answers from both was what, 'was the most challenging thing about becoming a leader?'

"Going from engineer to program management, I think the biggest challenge was I had to stop being a doer and transition to being a leader," Easter said.

There were several pieces of advice from the panelists that they thought made improvements to their career, such as networking with peers and leaders, finding mentors, learning public speaking, being prepared in every assignment, taking advantage of collateral opportunities and stepping out of their comfort zone.

"It's tremendously important to seek out mentors," Adler said. "I have peer mentors and senior mentors. Be open to feedback and take action on direction they are giving you."

The women on the panels were also asked about their work and life balance.

"It's important to recharge as much as possible," Anderson said. "You're able to give your best self to the job when you take the time to recharge."

Easter said she had redefined work and life balance to just knowing what takes priority when and to making one decision at a time and then living with that decision.

Similar to Stefanyshyn-Piper's comment about taking risks, George said she and the other members of the new professionals' panel clearly took risks to get where they are.

"It's obvious that we took risks, and we made our own initiatives," George said. "Not everybody gets that same empowerment from their supervisors. I think Carderock creates the environment to get what they want. The reason I came to Carderock versus private sector was because of the academic environment and that everybody here is smarter than I am and that's what I want to be around."

At the end of the new professionals' panel, Vandroff said he was very impressed with the panel and their level of dedication, insight and maturity.

"I feel really good about Carderock's future. Great stuff about how to be a good employee, about how to be a good supervisor, about how to relate to your colleagues," Vandroff said, adding that he would like to do a similar panel for all employees at Carderock to hear.

The event had a couple of other breakout sessions, including "The Science of Self Defeat," where Carderock's own Emily Grauwiler, head of the Workforce Development Branch, shared insights about getting past subconscious stress and intimidation in order to provide the best efforts and talents to the organization.

Cmdr. Sarah Rice, the naval integrated fire-control test and evaluation lead in Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 7, led a session about Lean In Circles, which are small peer groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together, sharing experiences and advice on overcoming challenges. The Lean In Circles were initiated by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook. In 2015, the Department of Defense partnered with LeanIn.Org to launch Lean In Circles throughout the department and all military branches.

Combatant Craft Division, a detachment of Carderock located in Norfolk, has started a Lean In Circle, and members have said it's been successful so far.

Rice shared "four A's" that she thought could help people realize success in the workplace: awareness - realizing external and internal biases; acknowledgement - see something is an issue; amplification - see what can be done about it; and advocacy.

"The aim is to help one another and make each other better," Rice said.

During the closing remarks, attendees were challenged to take what they had learned back to their work areas.

"It doesn't stop here. It's really up to each and every one of you to take this back and grow with it and make it bigger than this," Stanley said.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Coaches Help Warrior Games Athletes Achieve Goals

By Shannon Collins, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Athletes competing at the 2018 Defense Department Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy here earned spots on their teams with the help of their coaches.

Throughout the week, the coaches will support their athletes as they compete in shooting, archery, cycling, track and field, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and the new sports added to the Warrior Games -- powerlifting, indoor rowing and the time criterion for cycling.

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Richard “Trainwreck” Burkett, a national-level archery coach at the games, began his journey as a wounded warrior, learning archery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He earned certifications and began training other wounded warriors from all service branches and competed at the Invictus Games in 2014 in the compound bow, earning a gold medal.

Burkett, served 22 years in the Marines and piloted MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. He’s ranked third in the nation for his division on the U.S. National Archery Team.

‘There’s a Passion That’s Been Ignited’

Helping athletes on the archery range helps them build confidence in other areas, he said.

“It gives them confidence and something to wake up in the morning and look forward to, something to take with them besides a medal or besides the experience,” Burkett said. “There’s a passion that’s been ignited. If they can drive that arrow into that tiny little circle 20 yards away, what else can they do?”

And, “there’s a level of pride and satisfaction when these guys win and do well. And they turn around, and you see the smile on their faces. That’s better than anything,” he added.

Medically retired Marine Corps Sgt. Dan Govier is also a nationally ranked Marine archery coach. He competed at the first three Warrior Games and earned gold medals in the recurve competition for the individual events and three gold medals in the team events.

Both Marines said their medals don’t mean as much as helping train the new athletes and helping them get from athlete to coach, such as this year’s returning compound archer, retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Doug Godfrey Jr., who served 15 years as a logistics chief.

“I want him to wear this jersey,” Burkett said, pointing to his coach jersey. “I want it to say ‘Godfrey’ on the back of it. I want him to be a teammate of mine. He’s got the talent to do it.”

Govier said he enjoys watching the athletes recover from injury and gain confidence.

“I’ve seen archery help out guys with strokes and [traumatic brain injuries]. One of our recurve shooters had a terrible stuttering issue after his stroke and now he’s able to hold full conversations with you after two years,” he said. “Archery has done a lot for him. This program has helped build his confidence to get him around the guys again -- just having that sense of team. In the Marine Corps, we believe in team. We’re a family. Once a Marine, you’re always a Marine. We’re friends for life.”

Godfrey, who has a spinal injury, will go to the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, with Burkett as his coach in October. He said Govier helped him last year during the tournament.

Marine Corps head coach Michael Kleinert, water sport specialist for Wounded Warrior Battalion West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, has attended the Warrior Games for the past seven years.

Kleinert said he loves being the swimming coach for wounded warriors.

‘It’s Important for These Guys to Find a Positive Outlet’

“It’s important for these guys to find a positive outlet,” he said. “To see these guys, maybe being at a low point in their life and just getting into a hole filled with water and coming out of it and really feeling great about themselves and great about where their life can be. That’s something special to see, that transformation. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Kleinert said the games are all about recovery and what’s next for the athletes.

“Hopefully, this gives them a spark to be motivated in other areas of their life, too,” he said.

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Robert Dominguez said Kleinert saw him swimming at Camp Pendleton and told him about the trials and games.

“He’s been helping us through the whole process of trials all the way through the games, trying to prepare us for this competition. He’s very inspiring, motivating, always pushing us to the next level,” Dominguez said of Kleinert.

Dominguez said he injured his back and can’t run anymore, so he took up swimming and cycling. “Mike’s going to keep working with me and training me, even if I get out of the military,” he said. “I’m hoping to make the team again next year and hopefully make it to Invictus.”

Royal Air Force Warrant Officer Simon Chapman, who’s served as a policeman for 32 years, has an injured right leg and two prosthetic hips due to a head-on collision with a car while he was performing a cycling time criterion.

He swam competitively 30 years ago and had been cycling on an interservice military team when he was injured in 2007. Chapman is competing in the cycling events here.

“The accident knocked my confidence a little on the bike. And always being good at any type of sport, and having lost some of my power, I thought I wouldn’t be able to get back on a bike again,” he said. “I’ve been training every night, even in bad weather, out in my garage.”

‘The Coaches Have Been Fantastic’

Chapman said he’s attended two training camps with a British Paralympic swim coach. “The coaches have been fantastic,” he said. “She changed my stroke. My stroke’s more efficient through the water. She’s made swimming easier for me to be honest, especially at my age.”

He said the cycling coach helped as well, having them race 60-70 mph on an old racetrack. “I thought I was a good cyclist; I thought I was a competent cyclist,” he said. “We were racing throughout the whole period, side by side in groups, teaching us corners safely, next to people. It’s been a brilliant experience.”

Chapman said having support staff is important. “They know how to speak to you, be with you, how to encourage you and make your journey better,” he said. “Injuries shouldn’t stop you from doing sport. I’ve seen people who haven’t been able to get out of the house. And being through this journey, and now, in front of cameras, here in the States, can’t be better than that?”

Retired Royal Australian Navy Warrant Officer Geoffrey Stokes, the head coach for Australia, said his athletes achieved a lot of personal bests so far at the games and gelled as a team.

“We’re really pleased to be over here and really grateful for the invitation to come here and participate in this fantastic event,” Stokes said. “It’s all about socializing with like-minded people who are going through the same journey.”

From now until July 9, about 300 wounded, ill and injured service members representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command, along with allied armed forces from the United Kingdom, Australia, and for the first time Canada are competing here at the 2018 DoD Warrior Games.