SURFOR Represents Navy at FAPAC Conference
By CNSF Diversity Directorate
New York – Commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) sponsored six Sailors to attend the 23rd Annual Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Congressional Seminar and National Leadership Training Conference June 23 – 27.

The personnel sponsored by SURFOR included Cmdr. Joseph DeLeon from the U.S. Naval Academy; Lt. Lara Kirkham and Lt. Daehyun Gillespie from Precommissioning Unit (PCU) George H.W. Bush (CVN 77); and Lt. j.g. Brandy Dixon, Master Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/AW) Vivian Dodson and Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Cherryl Torres from SURFOR.

“The ability to exchange ideas and address solutions framed by Asian diversity and broader diversity goals was an excellent springboard to further cooperation in support of global naval missions such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and theater security cooperation. Surface Sailors are often trusted to fill the critical role of Sailor-Statesman,” said De Leon.

The Conference featured important naval leaders including Vice Adm. Jonathon Greenert, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and Vice Adm. Harry Harris, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Communication Networks.

“The FAPAC event held in New York City was an excellent opportunity to interact with numerous government and federal agencies and to participate in special forums and discussions focused on Asian diversity within these organizations,” DeLeon said.

On June 26, the conference held a Department of Defense (DoD) day, where local high school students were invited along with their parents to explore career options in government service. They were also provided the opportunity to attend the DoD Career Forum for Students/Youth where they met with a panel of Asian Pacific American officers, enlisted and civilian personnel from all branches of service to ask questions regarding military service. In addition, the forum had a period where members discussed their own careers and answered question on how to succeed in the DoD.

“The most beneficial part of the conference was the Department of Defense Career Forum discussion of career advancement for Asian Pacific Americans in the DoD,” Kirkham said. “The panel included Asian American military leaders for captains to rear admirals offering advice and answering question on how they personally succeeded in the DoD. Prior to attending this panel discussion, I had not realized how many Asian Americans occupied senior leadership positions. It was very inspiring.”

FAPAC, founded in 1985, is a non-profit organization representing the civilian and military Asian Pacific American (APA) employees in federal and District of Columbia government positions.
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