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Surface Warfare Officer e-Mentor Program
By Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO  – A mentor is an experienced person who helps guide a less-experienced individual’s development. This method has proven to be one of the most effective means of teaching and guidance throughout the centuries, and senior officers have been mentoring junior officers since the Navy’s inception.

Naval Surface Forces has developed a way to connect mentors with “mentorees” using social media through a new program called “SWO e-Mentoring.” SWO e-Mentoring allows Surface Warfare Officers to log onto the Internet and use a mentor-matching tool to find professionals with specific skills and experience.

“Our community is widely known for developing leaders by promoting training, practical experience and best practices while giving consideration to the diversity of backgrounds in our Surface Force,” said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, Commander Naval Surfaces and Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Much of this knowledge is passed along through mentoring, which is the foundation of good leadership.”
Lt. Cmdr. Kendra Deppe, a SWO stationed aboard aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), participated in the program as a mentor. “I think it provides a great opportunity to connect with officers that you might never otherwise get a chance to learn from and ask questions of,” she said. “It's also a chance to be able to help junior officers who are facing the same decisions that I (and others) have already made.”

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LT Alexa Forsyth, a SWO currently teaching Naval ROTC students at University of North Carolina, has been a part of the program since it was created and has sought advice throughout her career. “I have found this program very valuable and easy to use,” she said. “When I was deciding whether to stay in or get out, or when deciding what my next assignment should be, I wanted to get a variety of opinions from senior SWOs in addition to the advice I was getting from my chain of command. I found the feedback very enlightening and helpful.”

The SWO e-mentoring program facilitates relationships faster by utilizing technology to create matches. Knowledge, skills, life and professional experiences are examined for the mentor and the mentoree. The tools on the e-Mentor site will then assist SWOs in matching themselves with potential mentors who have similar perspectives or experiences throughout the community.

“I'm not sure a lot of people know that it is out there,” said Deppe. “I think it has the potential to be a great resource.”  In order to create a profile and find an on-line mentor, SWOs can log on at https:www.3creekmentoring.come/swo_mentoring. Contact Naval Surface Forces Director, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Haney at, or Lt. Cmdr. Dave Pavlik at for more information.

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