Navy Announces 2018 Navy Visionary Leadership Award Recipients

April 12, 2018 | By ggranger
From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Washington - The Navy has announced the selection of five outstanding Sailors from more than 100 nominees as the CAPT Joy Bright Hancock and Master Chief Anna Der-Vartanian Leadership Award winners.
VIRIN: 180412-N-ZY182-6269
Established in 1987, and open to both men and women, these Leadership Awards are presented annually to honor the visionary leadership of Navy service members whose ideals and dedication foster a positive working environment while reinforcing and furthering the integration of women into the Navy. After a thorough review of the nominations, the 2018 recipients of the CAPT Joy Bright Hancock and MCPO Anna Der-Vartanian Leadership Awards are: Captain Joy Bright Hancock Leadership Award: Senior Officer: Commander Amanda Hawkins, Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN, Jacksonville, Florida; Junior Officer: Lieutenant Victoria Gonzalez, Alfa Company Commander, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE, Port Hueneme, California; LDO/CWO: Lieutenant Marissa Brownfripp, Administrative Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN ONE, San Diego, California; Master Chief Anna Der-Vartanian Leadership Award: Senior Enlisted: Command Master Chief(SCW) Cajan Nelms, Command Master Chief, USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), homeported in Norfolk, Virginia; Junior Enlisted: Sonar Technician Surface 1st Class (SW) Sarah Clowry-Hughes, ER09 Leading Petty Officer, USS Mustin (DDG 89), Yokosuka, Japan. Each package was graded on the criteria of professional accomplishments, character, command climate/equal opportunity, leadership, and community involvement. The award winners went above and beyond in every category, exhibiting extraordinary service: Commander Hawkins holds the highest tactical qualification, Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI), for naval aviation and is Commanding Officer of the VP-16 War Eagles. A visionary leader, she advocated for the establishment of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School with the mission of bridging communication gaps between tactical experts and fleet operators. Her continued pursuit of innovation and inclusivity resulted in the creation of a mission planning and continuous assessment cell or "swarms," which bring a high-velocity learning approach to tactical problems, contributing to 750 operations sorties and 4,500 flight hours during VP-16's 2017 deployment. Understanding the value of mentorship, she chartered the organization "Naval Aviatrixes of the Southeast" (NASE) for the purpose of networking, professional education and active service of women in aviation at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. Lieutenant Gonzalez serves as Alfa Company Commander, Staff Equipment Officer and Crane Certifying Officer, expertly executing complex and high-risk programs while balancing training requirements. A top graduate of Texas Tech University's Civil Engineering program, and member of the Society of Hispanic Professional engineers, she has continuously demonstrated her belief in mentorship, serving as a role model to female Sailors in a predominantly male field. Dedicated to community engagement, she also led multiple outreach events showcasing Seabee capabilities in Ventura County, California and Okinawa, Japan, bolstering community and international relations. Ever the proactive leader, she displayed a sustained commitment to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE's Women's Professional Network, continuing the program during her battalion's PACOM deployment and maintaining opportunities for mentoring, training, and development of all Sailors. Lieutenant Brownfripp is described as a "stand-out leader" who was at the helm of ensuring a smooth transition from sea to shore upon her command's return from a successful Western Pacific deployment. She worked tirelessly to network and communicate across commands, providing feedback and inputs on local Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) issues. On HSM-71's most recent assessments, the command received a grade of "On Track" in all administrative areas and received recognition for managing a superior Defense Travel System program. She is a dedicated member of the San Diego chapter of Women in Defense, as well as multiple officers' organizations, coordinating 20 LDO/CWO boards and the 2017 National Naval Officers Association Symposium. In addition, she regularly dedicates her time to "Volunteer Match," lending her administrative expertise to local area Red Cross organizations. Command Master Chief Nelms has had many firsts throughout her career, one of which was becoming the first Seabee selected into the Command Senior Chief Program and then the first Seabee to be selected as a ship's Command Master Chief. In her most recent role, she continued that tradition by playing a critical role in establishing the first Junior Enlisted Association onboard the USS Bainbridge, and spearheading several initiatives to promote morale and camaraderie among the crew. Both a command and community leader, she sponsors the Lake Taylor High School Junior Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), volunteering her time to mentor over 200 JROTC and Sea Cadets in the Hampton Roads area. Overcoming great personal tragedy, she is also an advocate for families, ensuring support of the command's Family Readiness Group as well as supporting her very own family through coaching youth sports. Petty Officer Clowry-Hughes' exemplary and selfless leadership is evident throughout her 10 years of service. Her main priority is always serving others, which she demonstrated by taking the lead on the construction of the Fleet Recreation Center Family Emergency Center following Japan's 2011 disaster. In assuming the role of ER09 Leading Petty Officer, she immediately set to task qualifying and managing 22 Damage Control Petty Officers and overseeing 2,189 hours of maintenance. She went above and beyond her normal duties, ensuring that the crew maintained personal readiness by advocating for language, math and computer software classes for Sailors. As USS Mustin's leading SAPR Victim Advocate, she expertly ensured that her team was well-equipped to provide its services. In addition, she organized Women's Empowerment Meetings onboard USS Mustin, fostering confidence and dedication across the entire crew. Winners will receive their awards at the Joint Women's Leadership Symposium (JWLS), 21-22 Jun 2018 in San Diego, CA. JWLS is hosted annually by the Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA), and this year's theme is "The Power Within You." More information on SSLA and JWLS can be found here: CAPT Joy Bright Hancock guided the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) through difficult years in the later 1940s and early 1950s, a period that saw the Navy's women achieve status as part of the Regular Navy. Master Chief Anny Der-Vartanian made history as the first female in the U.S. Armed Forces to be promoted to the rank of E-9. Both of these iconic women spent the majority of their lives acting as stewards for female integration in the Navy. For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Navy Office of Inclusion & Diversity, visit For more information, visit,, or