More than 300 Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic employees attended the 3rd Annual Women in Defense Leadership Summit held in Charleston, South Carolina Dec. 10.
The summit, hosted by the Palmetto Chapter of Women in Defense, featured training related to leadership, career and personal development. This year’s theme was “Empowered by Women Empowering the Community.”
Keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, Director Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and the Deputy Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Marine Corps gave advice on leadership.
“It’s about the moment you’re in and making a difference for yourself and others in the small amount of time that you’re given,” said Mahlock.
When asked about an obstacle or issue she had to overcome, Mahlock responded, “don’t dwell on a challenge. Look for the opportunity inherent within that challenge.”
After Mahlock’s speech, participants attended group forums and break- out sessions where presenters, speakers and trainers led interactive sessions on topics like engaging in difficult conversations, building resilience and owning your power.
“One takeaway I learned is to demand feedback and to continue to create a culture of inclusion and diversity,” said Kia Barnes, NIWC Atlantic Women of the Workforce committee member.
Attendees reconvened for the luncheon keynote speaker Karen Burrows, Integrated Warfare Systems Engineering, Naval Sea Systems Command director and Technical Authority to Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems.
Chris Collins, NIWC Atlantic terrestrial collections cyber security lead, said the specific takeaway that she will apply to her role when faced with a difficult situation is to “take a moment to step back from being reactionary.”
The summit ended with a panel on mentoring and advocacy, moderated by Rachel McCaffrey, WID executive director. McCaffrey is also a former Air Force colonel who led the service’s command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programming and planning division.
“This year we had 300 attendees and more sponsorships than any year prior. We continue to attract high-level speakers and trainers and I’m proud to be a part of the group that organizes the event each year,” said Rachel Link, WID Palmetto Chapter president.
Established in 1985, WID is a National Security Organization and an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association. As a non-profit organization, WID cultivates and supports the advancement and recognition of women in all aspects of national security. The Palmetto Chapter of WID was founded on March 13, 2009 and serves South Carolina along with Fayetteville and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.