Sea Services Leadership Association

SSLA to Host 2021 Joint Women's Leadership Symposium in Norfolk, Va.

Media Contact: Abigail Kelly,, 314-520-9505

The Sea Services Leadership Association (SSLA) announces the 33rd Annual Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium (JWLS) will take place August 31-September 1, 2021, at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Va. Each year at JWLS, SSLA offers professional development and leadership seminars to members of all service branches of the military, making it the largest gathering of women in uniform nationwide.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique challenge in 2020 as the personal interaction and networking opportunities that JWLS usually provides were not possible,” said Marine Lt. Col. Jenny Storm, SSLA President, “But we grew in the digital realm and brought value through engagement during our successful 2020 SSLA Virtual Series. Now, we look forward to showcasing an equally robust lineup of inspiring speakers and interactive activities for service women and men to attend in person in 2021.”

The symposium’s theme, “Illuminating Our Leaders: Today, Tomorrow & Beyond,” captures the importance of a focused and clear path through career and leadership development and recognizing the diverse group of service members who lead by example in today’s uniformed services. The first day of the conference will be a Joint Service day featuring plenary keynote sessions, joint breakout discussions and networking, followed by a second day featuring branch-specific sessions to promote discussion of topics such as leadership, mentorship, military policy and family wellness and networking with leadership.

Past symposia have featured senior leaders from the White House, Department of Defense and the private sector including Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer; Army Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, first African American and first female leader of the Maryland National Guard; Army Lt. Gens Laura and James Richardson, the only married three-star generals in the U.S. Army; and Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, the first African American female Marine General Officer, and the first-ever serving military member to win Miss USA, Capt. DeShauna Barber. A full agenda for the 2021 symposium will be announced at a later date.

For the third year, SSLA will host the SSLA Career Transitioning Seminar at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on Thursday, September 2, for service members, veterans and their spouses who are preparing to retire or transition to a civilian career. The seminar will feature a networking breakfast, insights from guest speakers about their own transitions, veteran author’s panels, as well as various pro-military civilian employers. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in resume reviews, mock interviews, elevator pitch practice, the art of salary negotiation, and mentoring and networking best practices. Registration to attend is free for anyone already attending the Symposium, or $75 for a single-day registration.

Registration will open in early 2021. More information about registration and lodging is available at All prospective attendees with questions may reach out to the SSLA JWLS Lead Co-Chair Lt. Corinne N. Powers (Coast Guard) and Co-Chair Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Carpenter (Navy) at

Prospective JWLS sponsors can learn more about sponsoring this largest gathering of women in uniform by visiting

Speakers, authors, non-profit organizations, employers and vendors interested in taking part in JWLS can visit

For more than three decades, attendees have lauded the SSLA JWLS for its delivery of practical, immediately applicable knowledge and skills, and for the exposure and opportunity it has given them to a wide range of high-profile leaders and organizations. This is an event that cannot be missed for women and men of all ranks looking to benefit from networking, mentoring, education, and leadership development training.

Established in 1978, SSLA is a non-profit, non-political organization recognized by the United States sea services, dedicated to providing professional development to growing service women as individuals through access to networking, mentoring, and opportunities to unleash their leadership potential and increase the effectiveness of the organizations in which they serve. SSLA is a member of the Navy & Marine Corps Council and the Coast Guard Affinity Group Council, which advises the Secretary of the Navy and Commandant of the Coast Guard about issues affecting Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel and their families. Each year, SSLA hosts the Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium for all the military services, making it the largest gathering of women in uniform nationwide. To learn more about the SSLA and the Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium, follow JWLS’ Facebook, SSLA’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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