Apr 10, 2017
HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — A command-wide graduation ceremony held here March 29 recognized 225 future leaders from NAVAIR’s Leadership Development Program (NLDP) and Journey Leadership Development Program (JLDP).
The two programs, part of an ongoing command commitment to leadership development, give military and civilian employees the opportunity to broaden their leadership, management, organizational knowledge and worldview, while establishing networks with peers and senior leaders.
“We train you to lead. We don’t train you to manage,” NAVAIR Deputy Commander Garry Newton told the graduates. “We train you how to communicate and lead other people. We’ve given you a network of people across the country. Those skills you have developed are really needed now.”
Newton cited the Chief of Naval Operations, who recently challenged the Navy to change its business model to compete in a race for national security and freedom of democracy.
“All our civil servants take these jobs to make a difference. Congratulations, and prepare to get on the field, because the competition is waiting,” Newton said.
Leslie Taylor, executive director of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and deputy assistant commander for test and evaluation, recognized the graduates’ energy, passion and time and imparted three challenges for the graduates to take with them:
- “Practice what you learn. Lean forward.”
- “Preserve and expand those networks you’ve made.”
- “Pay it forward. Share your knowledge, your experience, your passion, commitment, motivation. Be a mentor.”
Revamped in 2013, the three- to five-year NLDP includes leadership training classes, developmental assignments, individual development plans, mentoring, job shadowing, and leadership and diversity events.
The one- to two-year JLDP includes leadership development courses, job shadowing, interviews with senior leaders, wellness and diversity seminars, mentoring and professional reading assignments.
NLDP graduates said they enjoyed the many networking and mentoring opportunities.
“NLDP has completely changed my career,” said Keith Jordan. “The networking opportunities have opened doors that I wouldn’t have thought possible. The ability to shadow Navy leadership and go on strategic rotations has enabled me to expand my perspective and gain a much more holistic view of how the Navy and the Department of Defense operate.”
Jill Hurynowicz said NLDP gave her insight in how the federal government operates at the highest level. “Listening to firsthand accounts of congressional authorization proceedings from an actual committee member was a great opportunity. I would recommend participating in the program to anyone who has the desire to make connections and build relationships across the command.”
“The NLDP training and experiences allow you to meet other NAVAIR team members to understand their challenges and how we can leverage off of each other’s experience in solving the bigger NAVAIR challenges going forward,” said Chris Rickets.
The 161 JLDP graduates formed the largest graduating class since the program’s inception. They said they were inspired by what they learned.
“I personally and professionally gained so many things from my JLDP experience, things I would probably not have been able to do without the program,” said Michelle Bower. “The training and the networking I was exposed to have made me a better team leader.”
“The shadowing assignments were an excellent opportunity to broaden my knowledge of NAVAIR, as well as other government agencies,” Boaventura DaCosta said. “I believe that my leadership, managerial, productivity and critical thinking skills have improved.”
Tony Pham reflected how one of his mentors gave him a gift for the graduation, a frame with a quotation from Jack Welch: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
“She has seen me grow along the JLDP journey,” Pham said, “and I want to be just like her, a dedicated NAVAIR leader who takes good care of others.”
Learn more about NAVAIR’s employee training and developmental programs.