JULY 19, 2016, NORFOLK (NNS) – “Real Talk-No Rank” is an initiative geared toward empowering and increasing the strength among the ranks of women in the Navy, tailored without prejudice to rank and is open to both military and civilian personnel.
“Most everyone has a story; some speak of success, some speak of tragedy, some speak of guilt,” said Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Marsha Burmeister, coordinator of Real Talk-No Rank. “You may not have a story; you may not care to share your story. It doesn’t matter. Your voice is powerful. The point is to join in on the conversation about the struggles, challenges and rewards of being a successful woman not just in the military, but in life as you live it.”
Retired Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Anna Sanzone, founder of Real Talk-No Rank said the sessions are not scripted, nor do they run by a detailed outline, but instead the topics tend to derive from whatever the women want to talk about — including overcoming adversity, stigmas, controversy, and roadblocks whether internal or external, all while building strength, relationships, raising self-esteem and empowering one another. Confidentiality during and after the sessions is key.
“It is not focused primarily on [sexual assault prevention and response] issues; the purpose of the session is to address the challenges, self-esteem issues, confidence, poor decision making and other underlying issues that can lead to incidents,” said Burmeister. “It’s about women supporting women by sharing their stories.”
The goal is to provide a relaxed forum for women to share their stories with others and receive direction to resources if needed, and to just be heard. This also shows Sailors there are senior enlisted women who care about them and understand what they may be facing.
These sessions have been conducted since 2013 and were founded by Sanzone and two of her coworkers from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP)– Burmeister and Senior Chief Yeoman Tanesha Wheeler.
All sessions will be unique. All are encouraged to attend every event. Each session begins with a talking point then evolves with the group dynamics. The lessons are held at the NMCP Auditorium.