SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 100 service members, retired military personnel, and civilians attended the first Women's Leadership Symposium held aboard amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), Feb. 22.
A panel of speakers, including both active duty and retired female chief petty officers and above, answered Sailors' questions and discussed their successes in the Navy.
"It's nice for junior Sailors to talk to a diverse panel of females," said Command Master Chief (ret.) Rosa Wilson, a guest speaker for the symposium. "We are equal, different gender, but definitely equal in our job opportunity and what we do."
The panel discussed leadership and mentorship roles, life-work and family balance, uniforms, women in combat roles, women in submarines, and health and wellness.
"The junior Sailors care and are aware of the challenges that they foresee ahead of them," said Wilson. "They want to know how we dealt with them during our Navy career."
Yeoman 3rd Class Stephanie Cortez, who organized the leadership symposium, spoke about the process of scheduling and helping to build the course.
"I went to a similar symposium a couple months ago and thought to myself, 'Why did I have to leave the ship to learn all of this,'" she said. "I felt that this was a resource that could be provided by the command."
Cortez made the symposium available to everyone and encouraged as much participation as possible.
"For the people [who] couldn't attend, I would tell them the same thing our speakers did: Surround yourself with positive people, build your support system, and understand that you are the only person that can say 'no' to you," said Cortez.
Due to the success from this year's event, America is planning to continue to host the symposium annually.
"I think this will really benefit the crew," said America Command Master Chief Kenneth Robertson. "I think this is something we should continue to do on a yearly basis as we continue to build our team on board."
For more news from USS America (LHA 6), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lha6/.