By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Spears, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (May 5, 2014) – Leadership through Attitude, Discipline, Integrity, Empowerment, and Self-Esteem (L.A.D.I.E.S.) held a mentorship meeting aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the ship’s foc’sle May 5.
L.A.D.I.E.S. aims to give young women access to mentorship in a casual, rank-free setting.
“As a junior Sailor, I didn’t have any senior female leadership to look to,” said Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (technical) Alyssa Lavers. “The more that I see in the Navy, the more I think there is something that can be gained from the direct mentorship of senior females to junior females.”
The senior enlisted personnel have a wealth of knowledge, experience and advice to give junior Sailors, said Lavers. Her goal is to have one meeting every underway, and she hopes to increase participation.
“This is not really a directed brief. It’s more about us getting together to talk about trials and tribulations and what we’ve done to get past those obstacles,” said Lavers.
L.A.D.I.E.S. strives to create an environment focused on the personal development of Sailors.
“A lot of people tell me that I’m the big, scary senior chief. But in situations like this, we can present ourselves as more approachable, rather than trying to fix hair or uniforms that are out of regulations. We can be more mentors and protégés,” said Lavers.
For many participants, the event was an unanticipated surprise.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Ashley Colbert. “I thought it was going be another regulations meeting about what we can and cannot do. But it left me realizing that I am not the only one who has struggled.”
Sailors came together to share the stories, experiences, struggles and the challenges they have faced in the Navy.
“It’s a little unnerving standing up and sharing my story,” said Lavers. “But if it helps others, I’m more than willing to do it.”
Sharing their stories motivates Sailors to come together and create an environment rich with knowledge and experience, said Lavers. Each participant brings with them the opportunity to gain a new perspective, one that could change a shipmate’s life.