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NEWS | Dec. 13, 2021

Graduation of CELP 2020 Cohort

By LT Bobby Dixon

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” President Theodore Roosevelt.
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. — U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC) graduated five civilian and two naval officers from the CNMOC Executive Leadership Program (CELP), Nov. 19, 2021.
CNMOC established CELP in 2012 with the purpose of building a foundation for personnel leadership development and preparing participants for potential placement in key leadership positions. The CELP 2020 cohort is the seventh to graduate from the program. The program boasts 62 personnel completing it to date.
“I am so proud and excited for this outstanding group of Naval Oceanography leaders!” said Dr. William Burnett, Technical Director, CNMOC. “During COVID-19, they were challenged individually, and as a group demonstrated toughness, resilience and perseverance. I am confident that these future senior leaders will ensure a successful future for Naval Oceanography.”
This year’s graduating cohort:
  • Mr. Jeffrey Jackson from Fleet Weather Center – San Diego (FWC-SD) and Naval Air Station Fallon (NAS Fallon)
  • Ms. Sydne Workman from Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO)
  • Dr. Scott Dahm from U.S. Naval Observatory – Flagstaff Station (USNO-FS)
  • Ms. Heather Carnocki from Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO)
  • Mr. David Brazier from Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO)
  • LCDR Casey Burgener from Fleet Survey Team (FST) and Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
  • CDR Kathryn Coyle from Information Forces (IFOR) and Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT)
In 2019, the graduates began their two year mission to better themselves and the Naval Oceanography community. The program included remote assignments, shadowing, leadership interviews and attendance at high-level meetings. It also included a week-long orientation at CNMOC onboard Stennis Space Center, MS, and week-long east coast and west coast trip to tour all Naval Oceanography assets in the U.S.
Program lead Ms. Jennifer Hailes, Deputy Technical Director at CNMOC, said “As the program lead, my work was to ensure the cohort stayed on task with the full support of CNMOC. The real work was done by the cohort who worked tirelessly on completing each milestone in their CELP journey on top of doing their day job and taking care of their families.”
The cohort presented their capstone project on 5 November 2021 to RDML Piret and to the Naval Oceanography Senior Civilian Leadership Board. 
The goal of their capstone project was to “instill and sustain a culture of mentorship within Naval Oceanography”, with the desired outcome to provide mentorship opportunities, improve job satisfaction, increase networking and positively influence personal retention, recruitment and advancement.  To attain this goal, the cohort developed a set of mentorship tools, a Seminar Series on mentorship, and proposed a sustainment plan for the tools.
“This program has taught me more about myself as a leader and as a person more than I could have ever hoped.” said Ms. Sydne Workman from the NAVO. “With that in mind, one of the things I would like to offer to the new cohort that I realized about half way through is while this program helps you detect your weaknesses and work toward improving them, it also helps you recognize your strengths.”
Requirements of the program have each member individually select a mentor to provide guidance through the completion of the program, job shadow multiple Department of Defense leaders, interview five federal leaders, complete a year-long leadership development training program, read and virtually report on two leadership books to Naval Oceanography leadership. Additionally civilians must complete a 30 to 60 day leadership developmental assignment (depending on their grade level).
On mentorship, during their visit to U.S. Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), they learned that there are opportunities to mentor and be mentored everywhere.  The cohort learned that it is up to them to seek out and/or recognize those opportunities and capitalize on them.  Often times the mentor learns just as much from the protégé as the protégé does from the mentor.
“It is now important for our cohort to “pay it forward.” Even though we have completed the program and graduated, we need to be available to mentor future cohorts on our experiences.” said Mr. Jeff Jackson, administrative officer, NAS Fallon. “We are also now uniquely qualified to mentor coworkers and subordinates on the leadership lessons we have learned throughout our time in CELP.”
Their graduation from CELP does not complete their participation in the program as one of their requirements is to continue to serve as mentors incoming CELP cohorts.  Currently, there are two active CELP cohorts:  The 2021 cohort includes ten Naval Oceanography civilians and two U.S. Navy officers, and the 2022 cohort includes five civilians and two U.S. Navy officers. 
“Resiliency was a theme throughout our CELP journey; mostly due to all of the COVID impacts.” said Cmdr. Kate Coyle, SUBLANT Force Oceanographer. “Having different COAs and back-up/alternate plans for even simple tasks like holding Microsoft Teams meetings was essential for us, especially with how geographically diverse our cohort was.”
Interesting facts about the 2020 Cohort:
  • The cohort had a 85% promotion rate during their time in CELP
  • Most geographically diverse cohort in its almost 10 year history
  • First cohort to have active duty military participates
  • First cohort to open up their leadership book reviews virtually for all Naval Oceanography leadership to participate and discuss
  • Completed 10 senior level engagements via MS
For each incoming cohort, the new cohort are required to attend the graduation of the cohort that began two years prior. This is done so that the new cohorts can hear firsthand from the graduates in hopes of gaining advice and direction.  Thus the 2022 CELP cohort completed their first week of orientation by attending the 2020 CELP graduation. 
Previous CELP Cohorts:
  • Dan Banks (Naval Information Warfare Training Group - Gulfport)
  • Jennifer Bartlett (US Naval Observatory)
  • Marc Bourgeois (NAVO)
  • Melody Owens (NAVO)
  • Heather Wall (NAVO)
  • T.J. Andrzejewski (Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Command)
  • Deborah Callender (NAVO)
  • Megan Natter (CNMOC)
  • Jason Pyron (NAVO)
  • Duane Anderson (FNMOC)
  • Ron Betsch (NAVO)
  • Devon Bebler Carothers (NAVO)
  • Inger Kittle (NAVO)
  • Joseph Senne (NAVO)
  • Chrisalen Yanez (FNMOC)
  • Trent Hancock (FNMOC)
  • Rodney Jacques (FWC-SD)
  • Steffanie Kolbus (NAVO)
  • Joseph Kuhner (NAVO)
  • John Villada (FWC-SD)
  • Kathy Ziegeler (CNMOC)
  • Anna Davis (NAVO)
  • Lawrence Haselmaier (NAVO)
  • Shaya Heckman (NAVO)
  • Lea Locke (FNMOC)
  • Kayla Thigpen (NAVO)
  • Keith Willis (FNMOC)
  • Jennifer Cox (NAVO)
  • Matt Lauridsen (FNMOC)
  • Brian Strahl (Joint Typhoon Warfare Center)
  • Adam Dea (FWC-SD)
  • Scott Gristina (NAVO)
  • Gabriel Russell (NAVO)
  • Ashley Dyle Forty (IFOR)
Current CELP Cohorts
  • 2021
    • Erica Morris (USNO)
    • Emily Bodin (NAVO)
    • Ivory Reinert (CNMOC)
    • Steven Posey (FST)
    • Cameron Heckman (NAVO)
    • Megan Hutchins (FNMOC)
    • Bryan Hemingway (USNO)
    • Jason Thompson (IWTG-G)
    • Susan Sweat (CNMOC)
    • Jay Wallmark (NAVO)
    • LTJG Chad Skyberg (CNMOC)
    • LCDR David Ramsaur   (FNMOC)
  • 2022
    • Bryce McGovern (NAVO)
    • Sam Naquin (CNMOC)
    • Alec Tunner (NAVO)
    • Raymond Pluhar (NAVO)
    • Veronica Torres (Fleet Weather Center - Norfolk)
    • LT Lawrence Wilson (FWC-N)
    • Tara Ingalsbe (NAVO)
    • LT Lauren Dulle (FNMOC)

CELP selects candidates who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and professional excellence in support of Naval Oceanography to further develop their leadership roles within the enterprise. The program provides opportunities not generally available and is designed to challenge participants to take responsibility for identifying those opportunities.
CNMOC directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.

Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command | 1100 Balch Blvd. | Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529