Open minds empower change

Trainees, staff and instructors from Training Authority – Maritime Logistics and Health took part in some thought-provoking conversations when they gathered at HMAS Cerberus for International Women’s Day on March 8.

CAPTION: Training Authority – Maritime Logistics and Health trainees, staff and instructors gathered at HMAS Cerberus for International Women’s Day. Story by Lieutenant Nancy Cotton.

Guest speakers Sandy Hollis and Kim Slender, from the Sydney Jewish Museum, told stories of their own experiences and historical events, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Ms Slender said in order to achieve change people must be open-minded, inclusive and prepared to listen.

“Gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness can evolve. We can do better but we need to play our part, be curious and willing to have our minds challenged,” Ms Slender said.

“Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to gravitate to the same likeminded people as us.

“As we evolve, we can do better by recognising and honouring difference and becoming more inclusive and excepting, but we need to be prepared to listen, as everyone has a story.”

The messages resonated with Seaman Jazmin Garrard, who is training as a maritime personnel operator.

She joined the Navy for the opportunity to travel, meet new people and be part of a diverse Navy family.

“Previously I’ve just acknowledged International Women’s Day, but what we spoke about today made me really think more about gender equality and particularly inclusion and my own family’s experience fleeing from Russia many years ago,” Seaman Garrard said.

“What was said about not assuming something about someone just because of how they might look or speak is important to remember. My stepmother’s parents were highly skilled – one working as an eye surgeon and one a scientist in Russia.

“Unless people take the time to include them and have a conversation, they wouldn’t know who they are, their stories or what they bring. We can’t just assume things about people without having an open mind as we have a diverse culture here.”

Seaman Garrard said her biggest take-away and something she was looking forward to in her career was the opportunity to meet and speak to people and be actively inclusive and inspired by others.


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