by Lt. Lauren Spaziano, USN –  TUMON, Guam (March 24, 2018) – More than 250 Guam service members and civilians joined forces in attending the 2018 Guam Joint Leadership Symposium (JLS) at the Dusit Thani hotel in Tumon, Guam, March 23.

Guam service members from the Armed Forces and National Guard joined civilians from different organizations for the day-long training event focused on leading from common ground and building metaphorical bridges over obstacles in a diverse workforce.


“Our symposium provides attendees with the opportunity to discuss important issues and develop their professional and personal networks,” said Lt. Loumarie Chew, deputy total force manpower director for Joint Region Marianas (JRM) and President of the Joint Women’s Leadership Committee (JWLC) on Guam. “Everything we are doing today is designed to provide participants with the tools to succeed in a diverse workforce.”

The symposium featured two keynote speakers, Navy Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander, Joint Region Marianas, and Army Lt. Col. Johannes Castro, commander, Task Force Talon, who shared personal experiences and tools to overcome challenges faced by every leader.

“Take pride in being a leader, and continually seek opportunities to make things better,” said Castro. “Don’t accept the status quo, especially when you know things aren’t working. Big changes may take a lot of effort. You may never see them come to fruition during your time, but have the courage to make things better for those who will serve in the future.”

The morning panel, titled “Decision Making and Delegation,” focused on different challenges panelists have encountered as both followers and leaders with the rapid pace of today’s environment and ensuring tasks are done quickly but also done well.

“The hard part [of delegation] is communicating to someone else exactly what you want,” said Air Force Lt. Col. James Weinstein, commander, 36th Medical Support Squadron, and one of the morning panelists. “Leadership is always the problem, and leadership is always the solution. I challenge you to think about how well you’re communicating the deliverables for the task you want completed and go from there.”

The afternoon panel, “Motivation and Inclusion”, focused more on tools for self-motivation and encouragement for subordinates as well as ensuring all members within a command or business feel valued.

“Being different is good, because that is where you have your diversity,” said Charlotte Huntsman, president-elect, Society of Human Resources Management, Guam Chapter, and one of the afternoon panelists. “Diversity is not just male, female, ethnicity. It’s what you think and how you are, being creative or being very logical. It’ll make the team a lot more well-rounded if you have someone like that, and it’s your job as a leader to recognize that and get someone different to feel included.”

The 2018 JLS featured group and individual activities centered around providing participants the tools they need to overcome challenges and provide a safe environment to discuss obstacles in the workplace.

“I liked the variety of speakers, both military and civilian,” said Navy Operations Specialist 1st Class Kyle Novak, who is assigned to Joint Region Marianas. “The different situations they brought up were good examples and stressed the importance of motivating your people and showing that you trust your people to help get the job done.”

Novak wasn’t alone in his praise of the speakers.

“What Rear Adm. [Chatfield] was saying really hit home for me,” said Navy Electronics Technician (Nuclear) 1st Class Anna Kraszewski, who is assigned to submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). “I’m so glad I came. I would like to see more events like this. I love that it was a well-balanced, mixed crowd.”

The speakers were eager to share their knowledge and answer questions and were seen speaking and networking with attendees throughout the event.

“All of our speakers are very passionate about leadership and encouraging other professionals to become better both at work and within their communities,” said Chew. “One of the best things about having such a great number of attendees is the immense pool of knowledge and experience. Everyone can develop professionally while simultaneously building on their networks and learning from the experiences of the other attendees.”

The JWLC on Guam began in 2014 and has sponsored a JLS held annually in March in conjunction with Women’s History Month. The symposium is open to everyone and provides a unique opportunity for Guam service members and civilians to discuss important issues and develop their professional and personal networks. The JLS serves as the only training event on Guam dedicated to providing our service members professional development through networking, education and mentorship from all branches of the Armed Forces and the civilian workforce.

The 2018 JLS is the fourth symposium hosted by JWLC Guam. Information for the 2019 symposium will be posted to the JWLC Guam Facebook page: Please contact us at for additional information! [/restrict]