Navy Civilians Gather in Hawaii for Leadership Development

More than 250 Department of the Navy civilian employees attended a professional workshop May 19-20 designed to enhance their leadership capabilities and help with career development strategies.

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet's director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, addresses members of the civilian work force May 20 during a panel discussion with members of the Senior Executive Service. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, addresses members of the civilian work force May 20 during a panel discussion with members of the Senior Executive Service. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

Hosted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Civilian Human Resources) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), in partnership with Executive Diversity Advisory Council the training, “Cultivating Leadership for the Next Generation,” included members of the Senior Executive Service, flag officers and other Navy experts presented content and information to attendees focused on leadership.

“I believe leaders are born but I also believe there are tools to make leaders better,” said Mark Honecker, executive director and chief of staff, U.S. Fleet Forces. “So by listening to a bunch of different leaders’ perspectives, the participants can find something in each of those leaders that they can take on to better themselves.”

The training event also gave the civil service workers from various commands an opportunity to get to know one another and the senior presenters.

“The greatest benefit I am going to take away from this training will be networking and meeting some of the senior folks and them explaining to us how they got where they are today, what it took to get there and how we can get there,” said Reginald Patterson, PACFLT’s Fleet Personal and Family Readiness Program Manager. “That in itself is invaluable.”

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, shared that studies have revealed networking is one of the most effective ways to get hired for a job and that it is essential for accomplishing missions and creating success at every level in an organization.

“Networking and relationships are key to learning about developmental assignments, career broadening, potential mentors and learning about what is required to become advanced in a particular field of study,” said Simpson.

During the two-day event, many breakout sessions were conducted with smaller groups of people to touch on topics like conflict resolution, workforce planning, building relationships, executive interviewing techniques and leading millennials. The sessions provided a more intimate setting for learning and an opportunity for one-on-one discussions.

“I found the greatest value in the breakout sessions and getting the opportunity to speak directly with the SES’s,” said Lisa Hill, an investigator for Navy Region Hawaii’s Inspector General. “The open-forum sessions provided great person-to-person dialogue.”

Todd Schafer, PACFLT’s executive director and chief of staff, explained the importance of informing the participants on what the demand signal for senior civilian leaders will look like in the future and to help them develop a plan to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to seamlessly step into increasingly demanding leadership positions.

Schafer also expressed his gratitude for everyone involved in the training.

“I would like to thank all the participants who attended this event. It shows their aptitude for learning and ability to take action,’ said Schafer. “I also want to thank all the Senior Executive Service members and flag and general officers who took time to be a part of the event. They truly made it a success.”

Senior officers who spoke during the event include Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet; Gen. Lori Robinson, commander of Pacific Air Forces; Vice Adm. Scott Swift, PACFLT’s incoming commander; and Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii.

“As a civilian work force it is important to see how supportive the uniformed leadership is and how they believe our increased knowledge is just as important to the mission as anything else,” said Ronald Kendrick Jr., Director for Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific.

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