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NAVAIR Women Urged To Take Responsibility

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About 300 NAVAIR employees were challenged to move beyond the myths of diversity by taking personal responsibility for their careers, pursuing mentorships and knowing one’s job better than anyone.

The fourth annual Women Moving Forward Symposium, held July 19, demonstrated Naval Air Systems Command’s commitment to foster a culture that leverages and values diversity while ensuring equal opportunities for all.

The sold-out annual event is sponsored and organized by NAVAIR’s Equal Employment Opportunity Offices across the Command.

“The anticipation for this event grows every year,” said Laura Lawson, NAVAIR Command Deputy Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity officer. “It sold out within 24 hours. If we had a larger venue, we could easily accommodate 400 women.”

During his opening remarks, Vice Adm. David Architzel, NAVAIR’s commander and Diversity Council chairman, emphasized the command’s determination to increase the number of women working in the STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, fields at NAVAIR.

In fact, advocating for women to achieve career success is close to his heart; he has two daughters who have “faced a lot of the same struggles and challenges,” Architzel said.

“As they moved forward, they found mentors to help them pursue their career paths—and I hope you find the same,” Architzel said. He also encouraged the audience to “know your job better than anyone. That really is the catalyst for creating opportunities for yourself.”

Even as NAVAIR hires more women, particularly in the STEM fields, Architzel questioned whether “we are doing all we can to make a positive impact.”

To ensure the command does all it can, the NAVAIR Women’s Advocacy Group was formed. “The advocacy group’s mission is to look for potential barriers that prevent women from fully participating in major occupational careers and leadership positions,” he said.

Championed by senior leaders Walter Augustin, Human Systems Department director; Rear Adm. (sel) CJ Jaynes, Logistics and Industrial Operations assistant commander; and Leslie Taylor, Flight Test Engineering director, the group’s goal is to develop a culture within NAVAIR where women and men work effectively to accomplish NAVAIR’s core mission of delivering integrated warfighting capabilities while achieving satisfying and rewarding careers. The newly-formed group held its first meeting July 20.

Symposium Strategies for Success

Three themes echoed throughout the day from symposium speakers and panelists, who engaged the audience with their success stories and answers to questions.
• Know your job better than anyone else.
• Take responsibility for your career.
• Find a mentor and be a mentor.

Returning symposium speaker Dr. Lois Frankel, leadership coach and author, stressed that many behavioral traits often displayed by “nice girls” can hold women back in the workplace. These traits, such as apologizing excessively, refraining from speaking in meetings and presenting their ideas in the form of questions instead of declarative statements, can be counterproductive, she said.

Frankel offered seven strategies to help women take responsibility for their careers:
• Evaluate the past, envision the future.
• Build relationships that work for you.
• Manage expectations.
• Craft meaningful messages.
• Prepare for pushback.
• Use and share your connections.
• Live your values.

A male perspective

“The inspiration for the symposium’s title theme: Moving Beyond

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