April was a significant month for the ANSO familia. Our Atlantic Region Symposium (ARS) welcomed leaders, members, partners, volunteers, and participants from our naval forces to experience the power of connection, an intrinsic value among Latinos. Identifying with the stories shared, exchanging business cards, and establishing new mentoring relationships were just a few expressions of connectedness in action. The ARS was a celebration of connected leadership, assuring maritime superiority as a constant endeavor.
We build connectedness as we open spaces that foster belongingness, trust, and mutual respect. As we carefully and purposely cultivate these spaces, relationships become more meaningful, interdependence grows, and personal value intensifies. Connectedness creates environments for leadership to flourish and renew itself.
My first lessons in connectedness came from my mother. She had the gift to build connections almost anywhere she went. People knew about Doña Blanca, her humanitarian spirit, and compassionate care. Since my role was to be her companion, I had the privilege of seeing her build relationships with people at all levels with humility and confidence. Through those interactions, she conveyed a message of dependability and reliance. People knew they could trust her and call on her whenever there was a need in the community. She was generous with her time, talents, and limited resources.
The experience of connectedness reemerged as we received the invitation to remember and say “never again” at the end of April. Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was an opportunity to stop and consider the systematic murder of Jews and other minorities by the Nazi regime during World War II. In a spirit of connectedness, we had the opportunity to grieve the loss of human lives during one of the most challenging times in recorded history and renew our commitment to uphold and defend human rights.
As we consider the value of connectedness, from the individual to the communal, from our ANSO chapters to the entire organization, let us recognize its relevance personally and professionally, as well as the value of connectedness in the full range of the human experience, from the times of joyful celebration to the grief that energizes change and transformation.