Lessons in LeadHERship
Posted by Shawn Eggert, Monday, March 28, 2016
Coast Guard members from throughout Alaska arrived to the 17th District offices in Juneau for a conference to discuss leadership, issues and concerns facing women in the service March 24.
The Women’s Leadership Symposium was conceived of as an opportunity for female Coast Guard members to meet with and gain insight from senior members and females in leadership positions. With an active duty contingent of only 15 percent, it’s often difficult for women in the Coast Guard to find others who’ve dealt with the sometimes unique pressures females in the military face.
A panel of diverse and respected leaders and mentors including Alaska Congressional Delegate Connie Mckenzie, Capt. David Husted, executive officer, Air Station Kodiak, and Col. Rebecca Young, an advanced nurse practitioner with the Alaska Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment was assembled to share their experience with members from throughout the district.
“A theme amongst the speakers was that effective leaders find a way to organize the most efficient team by allowing each member to bring something different to the team based on their own strengths,” said Lt. j.g. Stacia Sarwinski, co-project officer for the event.
“Diversity is not about Equal Opportunity or Affirmative Action; diversity is about using the differences in experience, personality, strengths and weaknesses of the people you work with to create the best team,” Husted said during his presentation.
Together, the workshop’s guests and panel discussed topics ranging from: fostering a positive workplace climate, work/life balance (with and without children,) leading and working with different generations, effective leadership/speed reaching, challenges and success in abnormal leadership and the art of coming back and letting go. Approximately 100 members from 12 units throughout Alaska attended this year’s symposium and, by all accounts, the event was considered a success.
“I believe it is important to have these symposiums to get people talking about leadership, to allow people to share experiences and opinions, best practices and lessons learned,” said Sarwinski. “It also offers an opportunity for networking, which I think is especially important within Alaska because we have remote units that could have very few females. By having a symposium and bringing together members from multiple units in the state it allows attendees to meet new people and foster mentor-relationships.”