By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zulema Sotelo

EVERETT, Wash. – Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and various commands in Navy Region Northwest attended the Surface Navy Women’s Waterfront Symposium at Naval Station Everett Mar. 19.

This year’s message, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment,” emphasized the value women bring to the Navy.

“A Navy’s effectiveness is greatest when it harnesses every applicable resource its nation has to offer,” said key-note speaker Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Northwest from Honolulu. “We [the Navy] are the world’s strongest due to the fact that our resources are expanding to include everyone in this great country.”

When asked about achieving goals, Bolivar advised the symposium attendees not to accept limitations but to find the right mentor and believe in themselves.

“If you have a goal to be the best diver, follow your dream, believe in your team and you’ll get there,” said Bolivar.

The symposium included a Women and Leadership at Sea panel discussion which gave service members the opportunity to ask senior leaders about on various topics such as the challenge of being a female in a male dominated rate and pregnancy on sea duty.

“[The panel] gave people an opportunity to ask questions they wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable asking in their own workspace,” said panelist Cmdr. Nicholie Bufkin, from St. Paul, Minn. “Having a woman’s panel opens up topics that might otherwise not be discussed.”

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