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Brig. Gen. Loretta E. Reynolds, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, spoke with leaders across II Marine Expeditionary Force as the guest speaker at a Lean In Circle event at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 20, 2016. In Sept. 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced a partnership with LeanIn.Org, founded by Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and his commitment to bring Lean In Circles to military installations throughout the Department of Defense as a resource to be used for mentorship at the lowest levels. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Fatmeh Saad/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Fatmeh Saad

Diversity and networking: Camp Lejeune ‘Leans In’

21 Mar 2016 | Cpl. Fatmeh Saad II Marine Expeditionary Force

On Sept. 21 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced a partnership with LeanIn.Org, an organization founded by Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg. The organization promotes workplace equality and leadership diversity, and encourages peer support. Carter instructed Department of Defense leaders to publicize and promote the initiative throughout military bases, empowering service members to work together and “Lean In” to their careers and personal lives.

Lt. Col. Mary Kate Flatley, assistant chief of staff of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, was one leader who quickly recognized the potential impact the organization could have on Marines, sailors and civilians near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The first quarterly event featured Brig. Gen. Loretta E. Reynolds, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command, who spoke to participants about the importance of workplace equality and mentorship.

“The piece of advice that I would give you is: delivery is everything,” said Reynolds at the Jan. 20 event at Camp Lejeune. “When there’s a teachable moment, certainly teach.”

The Camp Lejeune Chapter of LeanIn.Org hosted its second quarterly event on March 16, 2016, with guest speaker Nancy Brooks, vice president of procurement for Best Buy, who Flatley said was chosen based on her military service and successful transition to a thriving civilian career.

“Her ability to go from being a lieutenant commander in the Navy and be a chief executive, as a vice president of procurement for Best Buy, shows how she ‘leaned in’ in her career,” Flatley said.

Brooks shared her transition and career experience with attendees, stressing the importance of networking and taking risks. She believes Lean In is a good tool that can be utilized to bridge the gap between service members and their civilian counterparts, diversifying their network and thought bank.

“If all you’ve ever had is a life experience surrounded by people who are just like yourself, your diversity of thought will be limited by how you’ve limited it,” Brooks said. “Just be curious about people and start enabling yourself to connect with them, and then do the work. It’s not a lot of work to stay connected with them, because that’s how you [broaden your] network.”

The chapter plans to continue hosting guest speakers at quarterly events to speak on a range of topics that will provide valuable knowledge and tools to service members and civilian personnel. Flatley hopes, with the continued support of the II Marine Expeditionary Force command, the chapter’s membership and participation will continue to grow.

For more information on the Camp Lejeune Chapter and upcoming events, visit:

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