SAN DIEGO – Commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) staff members were joined by their families and friends May 29 to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage month with a special ceremony at the SURFOR headquarters.
Capt. Myles Esmele Jr. was the guest speaker for the event, which stressed leadership, diversity and harmony as the gateways to success.
He shared his experiences about learning about his culture after moving to the Philippines and also highlighted how mentorship plays a huge role in leadership.
“As a mentor, you want that person to grow, to glow, and you want to guide that person,” Esmele said. “If you are going to be a mentor, it has to be inconvenient to you. In other words, you have to go out of your way to help that person. Also remember that when we mentor, we need to mentor completely across the board and mentor anyone who wants to be mentored, not just people who look like you.”
Esmele also stressed that you don’t know what you don’t know, emphasized the importance of learning about the world, and encouraged guests to know their culture and heritage.
Following the guest speaker, attendees enjoyed traditional dances performed by the Philippine Performing Arts Company, a traditional bamboo dance presented by the SURFOR First Class Petty Officer Association, and a performance of an island song by the SURFOR chief of staff, Capt. Pete Gumataotao, and Personnel Specialist 1st Class Onika Moat.
Guests were also invited to join in a luncheon provided by the SURFOR diversity committee, consisting of a variety of foods, drinks, and desserts from various Asian Pacific cuisines.
During closing remarks, Gumataotao thanked everyone “for making the time to come and celebrate our differences.”
He added, “We should celebrate our differences because it is the reason why our country was formed. When we celebrate diversity, we celebrate the strength in our country and the uniqueness of each and every one of us.”