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By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs
A Women’s Equality Day discussion featuring Lisa Radocha, executive director of Program Executive Office, Attack Submarines (PEO SSN) was held at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport on Aug. 26.
“The world is constantly changing and we need to adapt with it,” Radocha said during the broadcast from her office at the Washington Navy Yard. “We need to look to expand our reach, other regions, and other training pipelines. We need to understand what has worked in the past and what we can do better that’s different and something that we haven’t seen or tried yet.”
Radocha, who began her Navy civilian career in 1989 as a cost estimating and analysis intern at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), has worked in a variety of key leadership positions across the Navy and Marine Corps enterprise. Radocha said that it’s important that women have a mentor and become one, work on a team, and take on challenges in order to progress in their careers.
“Being a mentor and having a mentor is so important in your career. They are critical to your growth and development and help you become stronger within the workforce,” Radocha said. “Do things that make you feel a little uncomfortable, expose yourself to new things and contribute to a broader enterprise — it will give you a better appreciation on what it takes to get work done and why it’s so important to work together as a team. To be successful, you need a team with different perspectives and strengths, those to hold you accountable, and who celebrate each other. Learn about each other, we’re all working toward the same goal.”
Joy Lapseritis, head, Undersea Modeling Branch of the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, and manager of Division Newport’s Federal Women’s Program introduced Radocha and discussed the importance recognizing Aug. 26.
“Women’s Equality Day honors the anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote and the celebration of the day has been established since 1971. At NUWC Division Newport, we celebrate this day annually,” Lapseritis said.
“The Federal Women’s Program operates within the bounds of equal opportunity. Together we come up with ways to eliminate barriers and concerns with female employees as well as provide educational forums on women’s issues such as this one today,” Lapseritis said.
During a Q&A session, Radocha discussed obstacles that women face in their careers and how to overcome them.
“When I lacked confidence, it made me shy away from certain efforts. I didn’t, however, overcome it alone,” she said. “I had a great group of people behind me and who supported me. It’s always a work in progress, but it helps when others illuminate what we offer to the table.”
Radocha also talked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it had humanized the workforce. Before the pandemic, some people didn’t understand the work-life balance of a working mom and how difficult it can be. She shared the observation that collectively as a workforce, we gained insight into how not everyone has the same circumstances, and we need to extend grace to each other for those differences. We learned that not everything is an emergency and we can allow ourselves to take some more time to solve challenges and set reasonable goals and priorities.
“We need to provide room for others to make mistakes — don’t shelter people from making mistakes because that is how we grow and learn. Allow yourself the grace to not be perfect and in turn, you’ll learn from it.”
Radocha emphasized the importance of setting time aside for yourself.
“In my experience, the only time I had for myself were my 5 a.m. workouts before work, she said. “Once I was at work, my time was geared toward that, and once I was home, my time was geared toward my husband and kids. It’s important to carve out time for yourself so that you can have some time to think and give yourself a mental break.”
Joy Lapseritis concluded the event by reiterating that there isn’t only one path to success and that it’s OK to be uncomfortable.
“It’s during those moments where people grow both professionally and personally and become better and stronger in life,” she said.
For more information on Women’s Equality Day, visit https://www.defenseculture.mil/Human-Relations-Toolkit/Special-Observances/#womens-equality-day
NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.
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