NEWS | May 22, 2019

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea Hosts 3rd Korean-U.S. Women’s Leadership Symposium

By Petty Officer 3rd Class William Carlisle Commander, Naval Forces Korea 

CHINHAE, South Korea -- Female service members assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy participated in a combined Korean-U.S. Women's Leadership Seminar (KUWLS) in Chinhae, May 20.

This year’s seminar, titled “Building Balance,” focused on adapting to new challenges and maintaining successful careers and personal lives.

“We benefit greatly from having inspirational leaders who possess diverse perspectives and varied backgrounds, who approach challenges differently, who identify alternate solutions to common problems,” said Cmdr. Michael S. Cloud, the CNFK chief of staff. “You only have to look as far as the persons seated to your left and right to witness courage and audacity. You are the trailblazers, charting the course of our future naval force.”

Throughout the one-day seminar, participants discussed several topics including leadership, diversity, integration and balancing work and family life.

Capt. Michele Day, the Commander, Task Force (CTF) 73 operations and plans officer and this year’s KUWLS guest speaker, said the best leaders are those who support their teams to take initiative in order to do the right thing.

“I always try to empower even my most junior-level Sailors to do the right thing without having hesitation or having to be told to do it,” Day said.

After the opening remarks, this year’s symposium split the attendees up into three smaller discussion groups to encourage greater participation from all participants, to further in-depth discussion of topics, and foster the exchange of ideas between American and Korean service members.

“I’ve worked with the ROK Navy a lot during my time in the military,” Day said. “I’ve learned a lot from them, and there’s a lot of things we have in common. I hope to continue to keep learning from them, and hopefully we can be examples to them as what progress looks like for recognition of female officers and enlisted service members.”

Day also emphasized the importance of setting goals and working hard to be successful in all one’s endeavors.

“You can have both a successful naval career and a great life outside of that, too,” Day said. “It takes planning, hard work and determination, but both are possible.”

KUWLS directly supports initiatives set in place by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and former ROK Minister of Defense (MND) Song Young-moo.

The symposium supports one of the CNO’s four “Lines of Effort,” which focuses on building partnerships, and one of six national defense reforms from the MND aimed at expanding the number of female service