April 12, 2024

Record Turnout of Leaders

More than 400 new participants were accepted into the 2011 Journey Leadership Development program at NAVAIR. Orientation was held July 14 at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. (U.S. Navy photo)

By NAVAIR Public Affairs

A record number of NAVAIR’s future leaders gathered for a national kickoff of the 2011 Journey Leadership Development program (JLDP) July 14.

JLDP is part of the Naval Air Systems Command’s plan to create a long-range workforce strategy that gives the workforce the tools it needs to excel in key skill areas and contribute more effectively to NAVAIR’s overall mission.

This year’s program attracted more than twice the number of participants as last year, and for the first time, new participants were present from every NAVAIR site. Additionally, the program supports a large number of artisans at the Fleet Readiness Center East. Those participants were welcomed at a separate program orientation held at Cherry Point, N.C., June 20.

NAVAIR Deputy Commander Kal Leikach welcomed the new program participants at the July 14 event.

Each program participant was endorsed by their managers to take part in the program because of their high potential for future leadership roles.

NAVAIR Deputy Commander Kal Leikach welcomed the 2011 Journey Leadership Development program participants at orientation July 14 at Pax River. (U.S. Navy photo)

“This is relevant to the future of NAVAIR,” said Leikach. “Your participation is not only a part of NAVAIR’s vision, but it will support the course we’re on and guarantee our vision, mission, and goals are successfully executed by leadership at all levels.”

“I am encouraged by the level of participation in this program and energized by the bright promise that all of you bring for the future of naval aviation,” he said.

Intended to target highly motivated journey-level employees, JLDP complements the more senior-level NAVAIR Leadership Development program (NLDP). Elements of the two-year program include networking, classroom-based leadership training, computer-based organization and operations training, shadowing assignments, and interviews with senior leaders.

“Participation increases employee visibility and career opportunities,” said Stephanie Peppler, JLDP program manager. “For the command, it results in a greater pool of qualified employees to meet current and future leadership needs and a wiser, more optimal use of resources.”

Participants will produce an individual development plan (IDP) and formalize at least one mentoring relationship. Participants are also able to register in iMentor, an application with matching capabilities that brings mentors and proteges together.

“Studies reveal that those who write their career-related goals down and share them with others are significantly more apt to achieve those goals,” said Diane Wallace, director of NAVAIR’s Career Development Office.

Gary Kurtz, senior executive service member and assistant commander for NAVAIR Corporate Operations and Total Force, offered his support for the program and urged participants to make use of as many formal and informal mentoring opportunities as possible.

“Get a mentor, be a mentor,” Kurtz said. “Your senior leadership knows this program and we’re happy to help you by providing mentorship in support of your developmental needs. Don’t be afraid to come to us and ask.”

He also encouraged program participants to become mentors themselves, stating, “In the eyes of brand new NAVAIR employees, you are the ones they see as leaders. Reach out to them and offer to be their mentors.”

An informal panel of recent program participants, Vicki Leonard and Cody Schnaufer, discussed their experiences with shadowing and interviewing. They urged new students to be prepared not only to interview senior leadership, but to be interviewed themselves.

“I was asked what NAVAIR’s mission is during one of my interviews, and I thought I was prepared,” said Leonard. “I gave the canned answer and it wasn’t the right one. You should come prepared to answer questions and prepared to learn a lot.”

NAVAIR engineer and JLDP student Joshua Hogge said that JLDP is an important part of his plans to go into program management.

“This is a fantastic program that will allow me to take the skills I have and own them,” Hogge said. “I’m already learning to articulate my career goals and employ some good communication strategies.”

For more information about JLDP, contact Stephanie Peppler at [email protected].

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