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    Becoming a Leader: Ship’s Serviceman Community Hosts Leadership Symposium



    Story by Seaman Marlan Sawyer 


    – Most Sailors have an idea of the ideal leader. This individual is a mentor, a parent, a subject matter expert, and ever present on the deckplates. The ideal leader’s Sailors do not follow them because they are told to, but because they want to and are inspired to. This leading Sailor is not born this way though, but forged by the sea.
    Sailors aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) found examples of ideal leadership in a recent leadership symposium. Ship’s serviceman 1st classes from George Washington joined other Hampton Roads Sailors for a ship’s serviceman E-6 leadership symposium at the Training Support Center onboard Naval Station Norfolk April 25 to share group knowledge and experience geared towards professional development.
    "Even though the symposium focuses on E-6s, [the Chiefs Mess] should develop every Sailor from E-1 all the way up," said Master Chief Ship’s Serviceman Eric Maxwell, S3 division leading chief petty officer aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). "Every chance that the [ship’s serviceman] community gets to hold a leadership symposium, we will take advantage of that. Sailors must continue to reach out and accept challenging duties and duty stations to promote their leadership development. Making rank can be competitive, and a Sailor must have what it takes to be selected to advance to the next paygrade.”
    For one George Washington senior chief petty officer, the symposium was an opportunity for Sailors to interact with their shipmates outside of their normal working environment and share group experiences.
    “Our main focus is promoting mentorship, forming a brotherhood, and developing leadership,” said Senior Chief Ship’s Serviceman Lorenzo Lesane, S3 division leading chief petty officer aboard George Washington. “Hosting a symposium is an efficient way to get Sailors together outside the traditional command setting. It allows Sailors to talk more freely about multiple topics that can influence their career.”
    As is the case with most symposiums or training events, the teachers also benefited from the experience and were able to use it to grow themselves personally and professionally. Master Chief Ship’s Serviceman Maurice Thomas, assigned to Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), talked about what the senior leadership took away from the event.
    "The Chiefs Mess also benefits from this symposium,” said Thomas. “These meetings show us what areas have room for improvement. We learn from our junior Sailors, because they are doing rate-specific tasks daily. Some of the issues that they come across, we may have never experienced.”
    The information provided at the symposium is meant to guide Sailors and provide a road map to sustained superior performance as they prepare to promote through the ranks and lead more Sailors.
    “Becoming a chief is about the responsibility that you assume, not about the increase in pay. All of the senior leadership, including retirees, E-7 through E-9, are here to support me and other E-6’s throughout our careers,” said Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Ryan Davis, from Orangeburg, South Carolina, S3 division leading petty officer. “The chief selection process is very competitive, and everything is taken into consideration, including the difficulty of billet, collateral duties, community service, and previous evaluations.”
    The ideal leader means nothing if that Sailor’s knowledge, mentorship, and example disappears when they do. Davis said the symposium reinforced for him the importance of preparing others to take his place.
    “Share your knowledge with other Sailors whenever you have the opportunity,” said Davis. “This is the first time we hosted this event and are already looking forward to next year’s symposium. Sailors took a lot of valuable information from it. We are looking for feedback to make the symposium better for next year.”



    Date Taken: 05.09.2019
    Date Posted: 05.10.2019 11:42
    Story ID: 321861
    Location: NEWPORT NEWS, VA, US 

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    Becoming a Leader: Ship’s Serviceman Community Hosts Leadership Symposium