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NSWC Panama City Lean In Circles celebrate 1-year anniversary

By Ashley Conner | NSWC Panama City Division Public Affairs | May 20, 2019

PANAMA CITY, Florida —

Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the establishment of Lean In circles May 17.

“The NSWC PCD Lean In initiative started after the inaugural Leadership in a Diverse Environment Event (LDEE 1) held in November 2017,” said Robbie Kurth, Lean In point of contact and Explosives Safety Specialist at NSWC PCD. “The event included a breakout session to ‘practice’ how to conduct a Lean In Circle, which was a great experience. We knew that we needed to do this at our division.”

When the group began, 74 employees were formed into five Lean In Circles. Due to their success, three new Lean In Circles have recently been formed specifically for our New Professionals.  Shortly after Hurricane Michael pummeled Panama City in October 2018, two additional resiliency focus groups were formed, not guided by the Lean In book by Sheryl Sandberg, but rather to provide the same sort of support and mentorship for those facing challenges with their hurricane recovery.    

“The ultimate goal of the effort is to foster a diverse and inclusive work force, and empower our employees to manage their career progression and work-life balance.  We also see opportunities to help leadership by identifying opportunities for positive changes for our workforce,” said Kurth.  “The recent installation of Mamava nursing pods came from a Lean In Circle suggestion.”

The Lean In Circle facilitators conducted introductory and mid-point surveys which revealed that some members had taken steps to further their careers, which they attributed to their Circle experience.  Others commented that the Circles had enabled them to find valuable new mentors.

Kurth and the Lean In facilitators saw an interest in the Lean In Circles from New Professionals (NPs) that have recently begun their careers at NSWC PCD, and arranged for three new dedicated NP groups to begin.

“By joining the Lean In Circle I feel that I’ve gained a forum were you can think inwardly, discover how you personally feel, and how others feel about a variety of topics that are not generally discussed in your day-to-day conversations, but are topics that effect your day-to-day actions,” said Halie Cameron, Expeditionary and Maritime Systems test director. “I believe the Lean In Circles allow for voices to be heard. And that is no small thing. When given the chance to voice opinions and collaborate with a group of supportive individuals, great things can be accomplished.”