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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 7, 2021

Female military members: First mini-OWLS session is April 13

The first virtual Mini-Officer Women’s Leadership Symposium OWLS event will be held April 13. Two more virtual sessions are planned for later this year.

This year’s theme is “Reimagining Meaningful Leadership.” The event is open to all military officers, cadets, senior enlisted members, veterans, and federal civil servants, regardless of gender. The non-profit AcademyWomen is holding the event.

Each mini session will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., EST. You can attend one or more of the events. The days are as follows:
⦁    Session One (“Reimagining Meaningful Leadership: Leading Self”): April 13, 2021
⦁    Session Two: (“Reimagining Meaningful Leadership: Leading Others”): August 5, 2021
⦁    Session Three (“Reimagining Meaningful Leadership: Leading Ethically”): November 9, 2021

The themes for each session were inspired by the qualities all military leaders must have to be effective in their roles. In Session One, there will be discussions about gaining self-awareness and skillfully managing your behaviors to better align yourself with the impact you want to have as a leader. In Session Two, you will learn how to effectively lead teams through humbly building relationships and gaining influence. Such skills as conflict management, motivation, and communication will be emphasized. Session Three will focus on leading teams towards mission success through strong ethics.

“In these unprecedented times, our traditional understanding of leadership is evolving rapidly to address new challenges and issues we face as individuals, communities, and a nation,” said Susan Feland, president of AcademyWomen. “Now, more than ever, the importance of developing meaningful leadership to lead self, teams, and organizations is essential for the growth and change these times demand.”

The 2021 Mini-Officer Women Leadership Symposium (Mini-OWLS) Series convenes women leaders in the military and veteran community, experts, innovators, and thought leaders to explore emerging trends, strengthen skills, and transform observations into actionable insights to lead positive change. It also brings together a nationwide cohort of accomplished peers with diverse perspectives. There will be moderated discussions. 

Distinguished speakers from the Coast Guard will be Rear Adm. Melissa Bert and LT James Bushman. Other notable speakers include: Kayla Barron, former submariner and NASA astronaut; Rear Adm. Sarah Joyner, USN; Col. Tamara Campbell, USMC; Capt. Laura Hatcher, USN (ret); Claudia Cimini, U.S. Merchant Marines and Exec. VP MEBA; Master Gunnery Sgt. Bonnie Diaz, USMC; Maj. Gen. Urrutia-Varhall, USAF (ret); Phyllis Wilson, Army (ret) and President of Women’s Memorial, plus more.

Share your stories of leadership
You are invited to participate in AcademyWomen’s OWLS Talks—Celebrate Her Voice –Untold Stories of Military Women Campaign. These are similar to TED Talks.

If interested, submit a five-minute audio recording on any of the three leadership themes, along with a short, written summary and photo of yourself in uniform.  Stories should be non-partisan and non-service branch specific. The top nine stories will be chosen by a panel of military, veteran, and community leaders and shown throughout the year, as well as produced into videos and featured at the Military Women’s Memorial. All submitted audio recordings will be archived with the Military Women’s Memorial. 

Registration for each event will close the day prior to the corresponding event at 12 noon EST on April 12, August 4, and November 8.
The Coast Guard Office of Diversity and Inclusion is coordinating Coast Guard participation in the event. There is Coast Guard funding on a limited basis. Prior unit-level approval is required. Interested members should request attendance through their chain of command and can register once approval is received.

Members can self-pay if necessary. Prices are:

  • All three events (Mini-OWLS Series Price) - $75
  • Single event - $30


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