Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brigade Commander Encourages Fellow Midshipmen to “Change Lives”

Brigade Commander Midshipman 1st Class Jenna Westerberg and her staff have a practical approach in mind in their plans for leading the 4,500-member Brigade of Midshipmen this semester.

“My motto for it is ‘Change Lives,’” said Westerberg. The idea is to encourage the leadership within the brigade to focus less on the metrics and more on teaching habits that future officers can bring with them to the fleet.

In other words, it’s not just about raising someone’s PRT score, but teaching them how to build a plan for lasting fitness – and how they can do the same for their people when they’re standing in front of a division.

Midshipman 1st Class Jenna Westerberg, this semester's
brigade commander

It’s also about holding people to higher standards and encouraging them to do the difficult right in the face of an easier wrong, said Westerberg.

“It's something that will be important in the fleet, because there are a lot of easy wrongs to do out there that can have bigger consequences than not shining your shoes,” she said.

Though Westerberg wanted to be on the brigade staff, she wasn’t expecting to be selected for the top position.

“The thing that has surprised me the most is how much time I spend just talking to people. I've met a lot more people than I knew before the semester,” she said. “It's cool to see what ideas people have, what they're passionate about. There's a huge talent pool in the brigade.”

She brings a lot of previous leadership experience with her. As a second class midshipman, she served as the brigade sergeant major, what she described as a “very task-oriented, organizational kind of billet.” In that role, she supervised and made recommendations to the brigade commander on the performance, training, appearance and conduct of underclass midshipmen.

The experience helped her become more organized and that, along with humility, are two important leadership traits that she feels will help her in her current role and beyond.

“Bringing that experience in helps,” she said. “Sometimes people are better at the visionary and not so good at the details. I'm better at the details and sometimes struggle with the visionary a little bit. It's a different perspective.”

She also served as a company commander during Plebe Summer and a squad leader during fall semester her second class year.

"It's cool to work with a small group of people you get to know very well. It's most relevant to what we'll be in the fleet,” said Westerberg. “Realistically, the squad leader's the backbone of the brigade. When you're a division officer, you're not going to be leading 4,000 people."

Westerberg, a naval architecture major, will be going into the submarine community when she graduates. Serving in the Navy was something she wanted to do since she was a child.

“I knew I wanted to do something with my career that focused on service,” she said. “The military fit that, and I liked the structure and discipline and, more importantly, the fact that the Navy's very technical. I felt like that fit my skill set better.”

Having attended a high school that offered exposure to engineering classes, she knew when she got here she wanted to study some kind of engineering.

“It’s kind of a childhood dream I’m living out,” she said.

20 comments:

  1. Jenna:

    Keep up the good work. All the best to you.

    Uncle Jack and Aunt Nora

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  2. Young girls need young women like you as role models.

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  3. She doesn't sound too humble to me.

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    1. What specifically didn't sound humble about what she said?

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    2. "Change lives" sounds like she thinks she knows it all for one thing. "I'm better at details..." adds to that fact and points to a lack of humility. Most Midshipmen are very good at details.
      Listen - I graduated from the place and would very much dislike being talked down to like this by another Midshipman. Frankly, I think she is a poor choice for Brigade Commander. There must be better choices. Perhaps her being a female, in this PC world, had something to do with it, I don't know.

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    3. I also note that she is not wearing Stars which means she is not on the Superintendent's List for high grades. In my memory, all Brigade Commanders wore Stars.

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    4. "Perhaps her being a female..." speaks volumes to your bias.

      It appears she was saying she is better at details than being a visionary. Your interpretation of "change lives" is evidence of your narrow thinking.

      Stars - asked - is on Superintendent's list and has been for many consecutive semesters.

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    5. Bias has nothing to do with my comments. I would say the exact same thing about a male who made those remarks.
      "Change lives" represents HER narrow thinking. She will have to lead by example - not dictate. I see she wants to serve aboard submarines. I can imagine her reporting aboard a boat to serve with folks who have decades more experience than she does and who will resent her "uppity" attitude. She is destined for a painful learning experience, but I wish her well.
      Why does she not wear her Stars? I guess she believes that is humility. If she earned them, they are part of her uniform and she is "out of uniform" without them.

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    6. On further look at her picture, I notice that it appears she is not wearing the white collar insert that goes with the Full Dress Uniform top. Is this what she calls "I'm better at the details...".
      From my point of view, I have the right to express my opinion, which I stand by, and you have the right to dissent. Let's leave it at that. BEAT ARMY!!!!

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    7. Nothing in the article suggests this young lady is planning on dictating or is uppity. Yet you are both dictating ("Let's leave it at that.") and presenting an "uppity" attitude (criticizing her uniform with an uppity attitude when clearly you are wrong). How sad that you spend your time reading blogs and post unkind comments. This will by my last response, because I choose move on to something far more useful.

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    8. Sounds like a good move on your part. Good luck.

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  4. Anonymous
    The article states that being organized along with humility are important leadership traits...She clearly understands what she needs to do to continue to be a great leader.
    Congratulations to you Jenna!

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    Replies
    1. Putting other folks down is NOT the sign of a good leader!

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    2. I don't see one put down in the article.... taking a creative interpretation?

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    3. Not really - it's a matter of opinion.

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  5. I was on staff in '67 with Mike Glynn. Jenna seems like a great selection - Congratulations.

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  6. From a current MIDN to all the OG's- Stars are no longer worn above the anchors in Full Dress Blues.

    And, despite her being on Superintendent's list for all 4 years, Jenna is one of the most humble and helpful people I know. She is both great at the details and overarching vision. I think she's doing a great job as Brigade Commander and will do great things in the submarine force!

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    1. Thanks for the update on the Stars. I, of course had no knowledge of that. What about the white collar? I am an Old Guy who probably graduated before her parents were born, so I know things must have changed.

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  7. Sounds like a good choice for Brigade Commander to me and I will bet she will prove to be a great leader, especially on subs. '61

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  8. It is interesting that the fall and spring semester Brigade Commanders are both female. What are the odds of that happening randomly? Regardless, I assume both were the right choice for the right reasons at the right time.

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