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"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

45th Annual National Naval Officers Association Symposium

By Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | August 1, 2017

The National Naval Officers Association hosted its 45th annual training symposium at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, July 26-27, 2017. This year's symposium theme was "Developing Leaders through Education, Experience and Personal Development." The NNOA symposium featured senior military leaders from U.S. sea services, who networked, spoke and offered one-on-one mentoring to junior military officers.

During the symposium, networking sessions were held to provide support to junior officers and to allow them to learn more about their career path and navigate the challenges they may face throughout their military career.

“This organization was created to give an opportunity to help the sea services with recruiting, to mentor others in the community and to provide training for minority officers,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Denise McCallaCreary, NNOA President. “We look to address the needs of all three sea-services.”

The NNOA’s story starts in 1970 with U. S. Navy Lt. Kenneth H. Johnson’s experience while serving as an Advisor for minority affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy. Johnson saw challenges in finding qualified naval officer candidates from minority communities and, in 1971, he joined with U.S. Navy Capt. Emerson Emory, Capt. Claude Williams, Cdr. Emmanuel Jenkins and Chief Warrant Officer James Harris to discuss the formation of an organization to assist and mentor minority officers and aide in their recruitment.

McCallaCreary’s own story stands as a testament to the accomplishments of the NNOA.

“I want to serve, I want to be successful,” said McCallaCreary, coming from Jamaica as an immigrant with no military background but having a desire to lead. “I was mentored by many and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to lead.”

The symposium featured classroom sessions lead by senior officers. The sessions covered subjects such as leadership, management and professionalism and made use of the personal experiences of those with more experience to aide those newer to the Officer Corps.

The day also included a speed mentoring session in which senior leaders sat down with groups of juniors to answer their questions on career progression and personal development. For those unable to attend the mentoring sessions or simply seeking to meet more of their fellow officers, the day culminated in a Senior and Junior Officer Networking Event.

“We’re focusing on mentoring because clearly in order to have a successful career we feel it’s important you have a mentor,” said McCallaCreary about the focus of the NNOA and symposium on mentorship. “Here you get mentored or know there is an opportunity to get mentored.”