Message to NNOA President & Members:
Throughout my career, I have been fortunately to have mentors and sponsors help guide my careers. These individuals have helped me shape the path I have taken. A few essential lessons I have learned over the years:
✓ Treat everyone with respect – regardless of rank. Our service members deserve common courtesy and admiration as members of the armed services…ensure they receive it.
✓ Know the difference between a mentor & sponsor – A mentor is someone that you can confide and gather professional or personal guidance. On the other hand, a sponsor is someone that can represent and champion your “brand”. Never confuse the two…mentors have intimate insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Sponsors do not.
✓ Your mentor does not always need to look like you – In my career, I had mentors that looked like me and mentors that do not. Be sure to have different mentors…that’s the strength of diversity…everyone sees something a little different.
✓ You are always on stage – In uniform or out, you must understand, you are always in the spotlight. Don’t be concerned, just be aware.
✓ Be an expert at your craft – Be the absolute best you can be at your job.
✓ Let your voice be heard – Speak up. Many times, JOs don’t believe they can contribute and add value to the discussion. Research, analyze, critically think, and be ready to present courses of action/recommendations. Have the courage to speak and contribute.
✓ Don’t be afraid to champion diversity and inclusion – A cornerstone of our service is diversity and inclusion. As minority officers, never be afraid to openly mentor, serve, and sponsor other officers/enlisted regardless of race, religion, genders, sexual preference, etc. Don’t shy away from being an advocate.
✓ Ask questions – If you don’t know, ask. Never hesitate to ask questions because this is how we all learn.
✓ The job is important, but your family is really, really important. We all spend our share of time ensuring the mission is accomplished. That’s good. However, one day we will wear our uniforms for the last time, and when the speeches are over & the accolades given, our families
will be there. Invest in those relationships now.
✓ Live and serve with honor and integrity.
✓ Listen and learn from your senior enlisted.
✓ Look for the good in people. I found when you purposefully seek it out, you will find it.
✓ Praise in public and reprimand in private. Sometimes we do forget this. Also, immediate address problems head on…they don’t get better over time.
✓ Take care of your people, and your people will take care of the mission.
Change of Command, Kiln, MS
Mohammed Al-Ahmad Kuwait Naval Base, Kuwait