DAHLGREN, Va. –
The room hummed with excitement and energy May 15 during a Veteran Speed Mentoring event hosted by the Veteran Integration Program. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) veterans had the opportunity to connect and network during the session.
The Veteran Integration Program, which is part of the Employee Engagement Program, provides resources, mentoring and networking opportunities to the veteran workforce through events that discuss relevant topics, while also creating an environment for fellow veterans to gather and network.
“The mission of the Veteran Integration Program is to build mentoring relationships amongst the veterans across NSWCDD,” said Natasha Holloway, Employee Engagement Program Manager. “Events like the veteran speed mentoring event help them connect more organically rather than through our website with potential mentors and mentees while also continuing to build that robust veteran community.”
NSWCDD Chief of Staff Terri Gray opened the event with words of inspiration to all in attendance and stressed four main components during the two-hour event: courage, clarity, candor and encouragement. She advised participants to focus on those areas as they continue to evolve in their careers.
“The Veteran Speed Mentoring event was there to support, honor and engage in awareness, appreciation and encouragement,” Gray said. “The goal is to aspire to improve the quality of life for veterans at NSWCDD. It was well attended and there were many mentor and mentee relationships that were developed due to this successful event.”
Mentees included NSWCDD employees of all ages and work experiences. Eleven mentors and 11 mentees rotated in eight-minute shifts to allow all of the mentees to meet with each mentor. Groups were given the opportunity to discuss prior service, careers and future plans.
Mentors provided their unique vision and experience for the mentees. Mentees shared their experiences and asked questions. Participants were also given a form at the beginning of the event to write down potential mentors or mentees they would like to connect with in the future.
Trusted Systems and Networks lead engineer Stephen Hodak from the System Security Engineering Branch in the Strategic and Computing Systems Department enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other veterans and found it rewarding to meet the younger workforce.
“Near the close of my Navy civilian career, I had a most rewarding and enjoyable opportunity to meet with other veterans and share a tiny bit of my knowledge gained here at NSWCDD,” Hodak said. “My heart strings were tugged and stretched with pride and concern. Pride in the accomplishments and attitudes of our younger vets in particular and concern over one or two that shared empty visions of an unknown future. I am more than ever committed to doing what I can to guide, help or encourage those who have ‘been there, done that, and wore the T-shirt’ like I did.”