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NAVFAC HQ Celebrates Women’s History Month

28 March 2023

From Christopher Dunne

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) celebrated Women’s History Month during a recent ceremony at their Washington Navy Yard headquarters.
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) celebrated Women’s History Month during a recent ceremony at their Washington Navy Yard headquarters.

In keeping with the theme of the observance, “Celebrate Women Who Tell Our Stories,” guest speaker Cindy Shaver, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for procurement, shared stories about her 34-year Navy contracting career, her family, and her successful cancer fight.

Shaver called her decision to join the Navy civilian workforce “one of the best decisions I ever made.”

It was during her third year with the Navy’s acquisition intern program that she rotated into shipbuilding. “It was so fulfilling for me and so meaningful,” she said. “That’s where I got the bug for shipbuilding, and that’s where I got the bug for the Navy.”

Shaver, who is married and has three adult children, was diagnosed with cancer the day before her 42nd birthday. “I didn’t have any of the risk factors,” she said, “but I had not gone to the doctor in over five years.”
“I reflect back on that as part of my story,” she said. “That’s where my balance was out of whack.”

Shaver’s effort to balance the requirements between work and family has been a career-long journey. “Trying to always work, and to strike a balance – to be ‘all-in’ when I’m at work, but to be ‘all-in’ with my family when I’m home.”

Shaver identified her top three qualities for a leader during a question-and-answer session following her remarks. “Having self-confidence is important,” she said. “You have to be decisive as a leader.” She shared a bit of wisdom she had heard that resonated with her. “You’re never too senior to be wrong, and you’re never too junior to have the best idea in the room.”

Shaver’s second leadership quality combined objectivity and positivity. “You have to be positive about finding solutions as a team while being objective about the challenges in front of you,” she explained. She noted “people are attracted to leaders who have a positive attitude in general.”

Empathy was Shaver’s third top leadership quality. “Make sure people feel comfortable sharing with you, and that you can put yourself in their shoes,” she said.

She summed up her journey with gratitude. “I am a very, very grateful woman,” she said. “The Navy has been fabulous to me. I think it’s given me great opportunities. My job is amazing.”

NAVFAC assistant commander for contracting Cindy Readal closed out the celebration with an inspirational quote: “Here’s to strong women: May we know them, may we raise them, and may we be them.”
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