Newcomb and Szczerbinski named NAVAIR Mentors of the Year
Humbled and honored.
That’s what both Robyn Newcomb and Michael Szczerbinski had to say about being named Naval Air Systems Command’s mentors of the year for Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake and Point Mugu, respectively.
And that makes sense for two former active-duty service members described as giving mentors and role models who each believe that paying it forward and making a difference are keys to both success and happiness in work and life.
Newcomb, NAWCWD’s Aviation Logistics & Maintenance Readiness Analysis Division head, has 33 years of federal service, including 20 years of active duty Navy service. She formally and informally mentors 30 individuals, including NAWCWD leadership program participants and sustainment teammates. She was nominated by the Organizational Development team in NAWCWD’s Human Capital Management Department.
“Ms. Newcomb has been an inspiration and an outstanding role model,” said Dalisia Coppersmith, the head of Organizational Development. “She has proven her dedication to coaching and mentoring talent across the organization … and continues to invest in the workforce and our future leaders.”
When talking about the influence mentoring can have, Newcomb said she is reminded of ripples.
“When you create a difference in someone’s life, you not only impact them,” she said. “You impact everyone influenced by them in their lifetime” like ripples caused by a stone dropped in water. “My challenge to anyone … is to go create some ripples or even some waves.”
Szczerbinski, who retired after 24 years of active duty Navy service and joined the civilian workforce as the deputy director of NAWCWD’s Airborne Electronic Attack Integrated Product Team, mentors “almost anyone he encounters,” according to his nominator, Jeff Dieterich, Advanced Targets Branch chief engineer.
“Michael brings everything to the table: passion, knowledge, enthusiasm, charisma, drive, and a strong belief in others,” Dieterich said. “On a personal level, his promotion of developmental programs is the reason I am now a Journey Leadership Development Program graduate.”
Dieterich added that, in addition to his hands-on mentoring, Szczerbinski’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious.
“When he walks into a room, you know it,” Dieterich said. “He incites enthusiasm and purpose … and peers, superiors, and subordinates believe in him and his abilities. They trust him, and he makes people want to be better in everything they do.”
For his part, Szczerbinski leans back into humble, crediting his own mentors.
“Mentoring allows me the opportunity to pay it forward for all the kindness and support I’ve enjoyed throughout my career,” he said. “If I can in some small way pass down the wisdom, lessons learned, and guidance I’ve received from others, then I can continue to honor [my mentors] for their service.”