“The brain conserves 20% of its energy to get by. Anything you want to change that isn’t doing more of the same is more than 20% -- you’re working against your brain,” explains Dr. Michelle Rozen, “America’s leading expert on dealing with change,” at NAVAIR’s national Mentoring Month event in Patuxent River, Md., Jan. 28. (U.S. Navy photo)

Change expert helps NAVAIR employees unleash their potential

News Release, NAVAIR Public Affairs

HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER–To succeed in making a change, you really need other people, said “America’s leading expert on dealing with change” at an event here for National Mentoring Month Jan. 28.

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Commanding Officer Capt. Tony Jaramillo presents logistics management specialist Kurt Butler with a letter of appreciation Jan. 28 for his selection as the 2019 NAVAIR Mentor of the Year for FRCSW. The NAVAIR Mentorship Program is open to the entire workforce and offers participants the insights from senior leadership to enhance personal and professional career goals, while developing the leaders of tomorrow. (U.S. Navy photo)


Dr. Michelle Rozen, who has been featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News, and many other media outlets, is the author of three books and writes for the Huffington Post on issues related to motivation, personal and professional growth and managing change. She tailored her remarks to the importance of mentoring.

The event, with a theme of “Mentoring Across the Organization: Unleashing Potential in Times of Change,” served to recognize National Mentoring Month, which is held each January to promote mentoring in the U.S.

 “Mentoring is about managing change, leading through change,” she explained to the audience of close to 400 NAVAIR employees across the command. “If you know how to lead yourself and lead others through change, you just got the master key to doing so many amazing things, both as professionals and in your individual lives.”

NAVAIR Deputy Commander Garry Newton, left, congratulates Dr. Linda Mullen, winner of the NAVAIR Mentor of the Year Award at Patuxent River, Md., at a national Mentoring Month event Jan. 28. Mullen was recognized for mentoring students of all ages and providing technical and professional guidance to entry-level Navy scientists and engineers. (U.S. Navy photo)

Her speech came at a time when NAVAIR is undergoing its first restructuring in 26 years to help address complex problems across the globe faster and with more urgency.

“In the next decade, the work the Navy is going to do is going to make all the difference in the world,” said NAVAIR Deputy Commander Garry Newton.

Newton recommended employees find three people to become a mentor or mentee. “How do you want to help yourself and others around you design a future?” he asked.  

To mentor through times of change, Rozen listed six tips:

  1. Model desirable changes. “It starts with you,” she said. She urged leaders to be clear in why change is needed in their organization. “If the ‘why’ is compelling enough, and you can communicate and understand it, the buy-in to the change is very powerful,” she said.
  2. Expand and enable. Rozen suggests taking three minutes to give someone your undivided attention. “It’s a resource we all have,” she said, and by doing that, “you communicate to them: You matter to me, I’m on your team, you are important.”
  3. Negate mind biases. “The mind is conditioned to focus on the negative; find the good,” she cautioned.
  4. Train your brain to stay focused. “The more specific you are with your goals, the more you curb your brain.” Rozen admitted the brain is inherently resistant to change and suggested measuring goals on a scale of zero to 10 to determine how much something matters to you. “Find someone you want to mentor on a 10,” she advised. “Find someone with the passion of a 10 or above.”
  5. Operate as a change agent. “Mentoring is about encouraging other people to stop doing more of the same,” she said.
  6. Reward and recognize every change and effort. “Everybody wants to matter. Every kitten wants to feel like a lion. It’s a human need – we all want to feel that we matter, we’re capable – and you have the ability to make other people feel that way,” she said.  

The winners of NAVAIR’s Mentor of the Year Awards were also recognized at the event in a year with a record 76 nominations. The winners are Brian Barr, Kurt Butler, Michael Herrera, Donald Jeter, Curtis Kinder, Dr. Linda Mullen, Kelsey Mundy and Blake Staehr.


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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

David M. Higgins II has 11219 posts and counting. See all posts by David M. Higgins II