The Sea Services Leadership Association (SSLA) Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium is typically the largest gathering of women in uniform nationwide. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead of gathering in person, the group will unite online for a 12-part seminar series.
The events are free and will cover a wide range of topics, including finance, leadership, work/ life balance and policy issues. The series kicks off August 10 and runs through December.
SSLA is a nonprofit organization that provides professional development and mentorship to women. While the group has predominantly been comprised of service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, this year’s event co-chairs, Coast Guard Lt. Corrine Powers and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Carpenter, stressed that both women and men from all services are welcome as are public health officials, civilians and veterans.
In 2008, shortly after Powers joined the Coast Guard, she attended her first SSLA event and found it inspiring. “It changed my life,” Powers says, noting that she’s since been a member, volunteer and board member with the organization. “It was eye opening for me early in my career to see a community of military women. To be able to speak to someone who has been in your shoes is incredible.”
The organization’s commitment to networking and mentoring those in the Sea Services most appealed to Powers.
“To see how other women in uniform have faced leadership challenges is one of the many reasons I value SSLA,” Powers said.
For Carpenter, a long-time SSLA volunteer, COVID has provided new opportunities for the organization.
“We are using this as a time to build SSLA as an organization that will connect our members all year,” Carpenter said.
While the full schedule of events is still being ironed out, Powers and Carpenter were able to share some of the series’ highlights including upcoming discussions with Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese about women, peace and security and a session entitled “The Sky’s The Limit” with Major Kate Germon-Cook, the first female Blue Angel pilot.
Powers and Carpenter are also busy planning next year’s symposium, slated to be held in June of 2021 in person in Norfolk, Virginia.
“I can’t wait. It’s my favorite event of the year,” Powers said.Read comments