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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2022

NSWCDD Employees Listen to Rear Adm. Seiko Okano on Leadership in an Ever-Changing World

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

More than 163 employees from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) joined and attended the Junior Employee Development Initiative workforce development brief, held virtually on Dec. 1. The attendees listened to counsel from distinguished guest speaker Rear Adm. Seiko Okano.

The brief opened with NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Philip Mlynarski introducing Okano. “Rear Adm. Okano has been a dependable resource during her professional career and as mentor who has an immense amount of advice to share with others.”

Okano graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994 where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. She later earned a Master of Science in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

She has served for more than 25 years as an officer and engineer in the U.S. Navy. Her prior duties include work as a gunnery and fire control officer, an electrical division officer aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) as a flag aide in the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet in Okinawa, Japan.

Okano has been involved in many tour acquisitions such as the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego, California; Missile Defense Agency, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System; Military Satellite Communications Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme. She now serves as a Program Executive Officer for the Integrated Warfare Systems and has a passion for mentoring others in shaping a leadership mentality.

NSWCDD’s employee development programs, including the mentorship and coaching programs, provide invaluable resources for growth to their employees. Okano’s brief encouraged employees on how to be a leader in the changing world, how to put their best foot forward and to not shy away from presenting new ideas to their superiors.

“Don’t become stagnant in your careers,” encouraged Okano. “Always keep moving forward and keep switching viewpoints to learn new concepts and dive into the curiosity of new ideas.”

Okano then discussed what the Navy is doing, how it needs to change and how the changing world is bound to impact the Navy and other armed forces. She challenged NSWCDD employees to think outside the box and to reflect on how the Navy could improve baseline upgrades to the fleet.

“Is your organization rigged for speed,” questioned Okano as she challenged NSWCDD employees to look internally at their projects for agility. “How are you maneuvering your organization into the future?”

Throughout her speech, Okano stressed the importance for NSWCDD employees to be innovative in their approach to creating new ideas and to use teamwork as an advantage. Finally, she encouraged the audience to, “achieve big through small” in their continued support of the Navy.