AFCEA International Chapter News
CENTRAL MARYLAND CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jun 28, 2016

Seasoned Leaders Guide Young AFCEANs on Mentorship Night

The chapter's Young AFCEANs (YACs) hosted a mentorship night in June featuring a panel of five senior leaders from government, military, academia and industry. In a casual, collaborative environment twice a year, seasoned leaders help guide aspiring young professionals by sharing their insights on career progression, the roles of mentors and lessons learned. One panelist from event said, "The junior members of our industry give me renewed energy and hope to persevere. They are our future, and I am happy to help in whatever way I am able to make it positive for them and our country." Honest discussion centered around recent industry trends, beginning with sequestration and continuing through acquisition strategies that have resulted in an exodus of talent, particularly in the cyber and high-performance computing domains. Some of the best and brightest are taking jobs in the industrial and commercial sectors, which can offer higher pay and more flexible work environments than the military or government. Panelists discussed alliances with academia and new efforts to remain competitive through completion-based contracting and flexible work environments, including an unclassified-to-classified model that enables companies to staff contracts with highly qualified and untapped talent. Such a model infuses new talent into the industry and forces government employees and contractors to grow and maintain their own skills to remain competitive and successful in their own careers. A topic that came up often was that certain intangible qualities are required for success. The panelists listed hard work, dedication, commitment and self-motivation as well as specific examples from their own careers. Self-motivation emerged as the most important quality, suggesting that one ever succeeded without achieving things on his or her own initiative. One of the panelists offered Top 8 Rules of the Road. 1. Attitude: Bring passion and motivation to the job. 2. Mentor: Get one (or more). Be open to critical feedback. 3. Personal value system: Figure out what's important to you. 4. Assume noble intent, then deal with the conflict. 5. Embrace change: There will be so much of it in your lifetime. 6. Commitments: Follow through. 7. Sense of humor: Have one. 8. Work hard/play hard: Choose wisely. The evening's discussion was so lively and engaging that the event went one hour beyond its scheduled time. The chapter thanks the YACs who attended the first mentorship night this year and the panel of industry leaders whose valuable insights made the event so successful.

Event Photographs:

Panelists at the chapter's June mentorship night include (l-r) Will Reybold, Federal Data Systems LLC.; John Ceresi, who has more than 28 years of technical and leadership experience in government and industry; Sandy Stanar-Johnson, who has 30 years of broad intelligence community experience; William (Bill) Dunahoo Jr., president, Praxis Engineering Technologies Inc.; and Donna Naylor, business development lead, Booz Allen Hamilton.
Panelists at the chapter's June mentorship night include (l-r) Will Reybold, Federal Data Systems LLC.; John Ceresi, who has more than 28 years of technical and leadership experience in government and industry; Sandy Stanar-Johnson, who has 30 years of broad intelligence community experience; William (Bill) Dunahoo Jr., president, Praxis Engineering Technologies Inc.; and Donna Naylor, business development lead, Booz Allen Hamilton.

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