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‘Listen, Learn, Lead’ Reveals the People Behind the Breakthroughs at NPS

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“Listen, Learn, Lead” is a new web series where NPS President retired Vice. Adm. Ann E. Rondeau personally interviews leaders from the NPS campus to learn and understand their role in the unique student-learning experience of NPS.

The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) true value – its faculty, staff and students – make invaluable technological and leadership contributions to the Navy and nation. Who are these thoughtful, principled leaders who define NPS as an educational and research strategic and operational asset and institution? Why do they choose NPS? And how are they advancing research and officer education to enhance Seapower? NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau discovers the answers to these questions and more in the now available  ‘Listen, Learn, Lead’ (LLL) web series where she interviews these extraordinary campus leaders and innovators.

In conversations with guests, Rondeau explores the wide array of experiences campus leaders have had supporting NPS’ mission: some with careers spanning decades, some who are new arrivals and some who are student leaders making a difference on campus and will have impact in the Service. 

“The goal of the series is simple,” said Rondeau. “The true value of NPS is its people and the interviews help viewers get to know the Faculty, staff and students behind the research, experiments, inventions and innovation happening here every day.”

The series debuts with seven episodes, featuring frank conversation and stories that guests tell about supporting the Fleet and Force and defense-focused scholarship that contributes directly to our national security. 

Rondeau explained, “The series title, ‘Listen, Learn and Lead,’ really describes what happens here at NPS where operationally-experienced students bring real-world challenges that contribute to the dynamic learning environment with their peers and Faculty. It is truly a collaborative and symbiotic approach to applied research and education where Faculty learn as much from our students.  Together they accelerate and enhance military capabilities that deliver technological and intellectual advantage.”

Episode five guest Dr. Gail Thomas, an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Defense Management for more than thirty years remarked, “NPS is such a goldmine! There are so many interdisciplinary ways that we bring ideas to the table to help the Navy and Marine Corps and in ways that we can learn from each other. There is no end to the knowledge that I’m able to mine across campus. It allows us to take the knowledge we have here and recombine it in new ways to meet emerging problems.”

A key component to the series is how Rondeau dives into the heart of issues directly allowing each guest to speak about their experiences, but also the future they envision from which current leaders can gain insight.

“The world is becoming more complex,” said episode one guest Glen Woodbury, Director of NPS’ Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), during his interview. “We want to build leaders who don’t just survive in this increasingly complex world but can thrive in it through decision making within the domains of humanity, technology, and the environment. Being able to think about things before they happen. To take a step back and lead from a place that is different than how we led before.”

In episode two, Rondeau invited a group of students to candidly discuss their concerns and encourage similar conversations about race, and the importance of inclusion and diversity. 

 “I think the military has this opportunity to have these dialogues here to show what right looks like for the rest of the nation,” said Marine Corps Maj. Matthew Bowman, as he and Rondeau discussed how the military can change racial bias within the military as the country faces its own biases. “If we have the opportunity to sit down and have honest dialogue and have the personal fortitude and moral courage to listen and understand. To maybe think, ‘Maybe I’ve been wrong, maybe I haven’t been looking at this from the right perspective’ and have the chance to have some introspective, and change if necessary.”

By listening and learning from the unique thought leadership on campus, audiences can both better understand the unique student-learning experience of NPS, and the role everyone has in shaping a listening and learning culture. At NPS, leaders come to make a difference. For them its personal.

NPS alumni and new Director of the Central Coast Tech Bridge, Chris Manuel, in episode seven, is focused on the future of NPS by encouraging partnerships with entrepreneurs, start-ups and venture capital. “When I was a student here, I had the opportunity to develop a technology that went directly from Monterey to the Middle East,” said Manuel. “NPS empowers students with knowledge and knowhow. My career changed completely at NPS, and I went on to start several businesses based on my research. I came back to give back, and help students learn how to leverage emerging tech and industry to bring their ideas to fruition.”

Rondeau reflected on the series so far, “As President of NPS part of my role is to champion our people and the university, to help advance the important work being done here and to help others discover them, especially in this restricted COVID environment. Some here are one-of-a-kind, national treasures. I spoke with Dr. Alex Bordetsky who is an innovator in the application of mesh networks to naval missions, with Dr. Nita Shattuck who is a pioneer in crew endurance in shipboard environments and Dr. Brian Bingham who leads a consortium dedicated to maritime autonomous technology applications.”

“There are many more, and only at NPS. My hope for this series in the months ahead is to help share their stories beyond the campus with the Fleet and Force and others who can benefit from what they do and what NPS can deliver.”

Listen, Learn, Lead is available online on the NPS website, through the institution’s YouTube Channel, and via Podcast on iTunes, Spotify and others. 

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