2015 Women’s Leadership Symposium

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed speaks to personnel in attendance at the Women's Leadership Symposium held at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, Calif., Wednesday, March 18, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed speaks to personnel in attendance at the Women’s Leadership Symposium held at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, Calif., Wednesday, March 18, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

Story and photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

Since the late 1940s women have been serving and defending our nation with great pride, honor and valor. Ida Lewis, keeper of the Lime Rock Light, was credited with saving 18 lives, though it may have been as high as 36. Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown, a healthcare specialist, became the first female during the war in Afghanistan and only the second female since World War II to receive the Silver Star Medal, the United States’ third-highest medal for valor.

In honor of the many contributions women have made in the history of the armed forces, Coast Guard personnel gathered for a Women’s Leadership Symposium at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, California, March 17 – 18. The symposium was geared toward leadership, mentorship and networking with Coast Guard leaders in all paygrades and civilians able to communicate major milestones accomplished in their careers.

“The Women’s Symposium was a refreshing and motivating experience,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Laurin Malone, a yeoman assigned to Coast Guard Base Alameda. “I got to meet with coaches from the coaching program and witness first-hand a coaching session and the benefits that come from it.”

The event included multiple panel sessions that ranged from coaching sessions to discussing the challenges of serving.

One of the keynote speakers was Teresa Deloach Reed, the Oakland Fire Department chief, and first African-American woman to lead a major metropolitan fire department.

“It is great when women come together like this,” said Reed. “It’s even better when men come out to support them.”

Other panel speakers in attendance included a female Coast Guard chief warrant officer in charge of a smallboat unit, the first female to command a Coast Guard cutter in a combat zone, a Coast Guard food service specialist master chief petty officer and other women in Coast Guard leadership positions.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kellee Nolan, from Pacific Area, speaks during one of the coaching sessions held during the Women's Leadership Symposium at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, Calif., Wednesday, March 18, 2015.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kellee Nolan, from Pacific Area, speaks during one of the coaching sessions held during the Women’s Leadership Symposium at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, Calif., Wednesday, March 18, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

“Serving as a panelist was a great opportunity to share a few sea stories and the lessons I have learned in those experiences with the future leaders of our service,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kellee Nolan, assigned to Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Dialogue during both the formal and informal symposium events was honest, encouraging and inspiring.”

The Women’s Leadership Symposium was sponsored by Training Center Petaluma in partnership with the Coast Guard Women’s Organization for Recognition, Leadership and Development. The mission of CGWORLD is to provide professional and personal development through networking, mentorship and community service on issues interesting and affecting Coast Guard women.

“It [Women’s Leadership Symposium] was filled with motivational speakers, history on the challenges women faced in the past and how far we have come, and panel discussions on how leaders have dealt with challenging family issues while being successful in their career,” added Malone. “I was excited overall to see how far the women of our Coast Guard have come and how much farther we can still go.”

 

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