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Launching Future Leaders: Navy’s Fleet and Family Readiness Initiates Leadership in Training Program

By Naomi Wilkins, Commander, Navy Installations Command

WASHINGTON - After months of course development, reviewing resumes, stakeholder meetings and logistical coordination, the inaugural group of students entered the Lassen Building at Naval Support Activity Mid-South, TN last week to begin their 18-month journey in the Leadership in Training (LIT) Program’s Executive Leadership path.

Offered by the Navy’s Fleet and Family Readiness (FFR), the LIT Program’s Executive Leadership path is a first of its kind and serves as a driving force to inspire and encourage selected employees. The foundation of the program is to provide the students with additional opportunities for progression and leadership positions. Through interactions with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) headquarters, region and installation senior leadership, the students will receive invaluable exposure to various leadership styles. They will also have the opportunity to enhance their expertise in Quality of Life (QOL) areas.

As the students began day one in the classroom, there was a distinct level of excitement about what the future holds by participating in this program. “You are the future,” said Patty Owens, CNIC’s FFR Integration Officer and, lead on the overall development of LIT. Owens highlighted the incredible feat each student surpassed to make it into the elite program. Over two hundred resumes were submitted, and only thirteen students were selected to participate. “Our organization grows to the extent our employees grow,” continued Owens, which gives credence to the program’s overall goal of leadership development.

The students hail from Navy installations all over the U.S., and come from various FFR backgrounds; everything from fitness to Child and Youth Programs (CYP). They talked openly about what they wanted to bring to the organization through participating in the LIT program. It is clear the buzzword that links them together is “change”. Comments such as “I want to shape policy that is meaningful to our Sailors”, and “In 18 months I won’t be the same as I was before,” filled the room with anticipation and eagerness to make significant changes for the Navy’s QOL programs.

The conversation continued with a deep dive into what the next 18 months will look like for the students. From months of hands-on experience in various FFR programs globally to their final capstone project nearing the completion of the program, the students will certainly have a packed schedule. “We believe in you. Learn as much as you can!” said Rosette Obedoza, CNIC’s FFR Training Officer who has also been instrumental in initiating the LIT program.

As the afternoon wrapped up, the students received further instruction from Robin Gaines, who will serve as the LIT School House Master. Gaines reassured students that the months they spend at Naval Support Activity Mid-South before going out to the installations will be busy, but a great foundation to what lies ahead.

In addition to the Executive Leadership path, the LIT program will offer a Professional Development path, which integrates a blend of online and classroom training. For more information on the program, visit

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