Women in Leadership Spotlight: U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. Kara Langford

DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Editor’s Note: The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime recognizes Women’s Equality Day in August. In honor of women’s contributions to the agency’s global mission, we are highlighting women in leadership who contribute to our mission of providing logistics support to America’s warfighters.

What is your position title and role? I’m the Officer in Charge for DLA Maritime Pearl Harbor. Our detachment supports the Warfighter by providing effective and efficient support to our customer – the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Once our customer identifies requirements, our team works the material management and requisitioning of both standard and non-standard material to support their mission.

What do you think about when you hear Women’s Equality Month? I am grateful for the trailblazers who paved the way for the rights I have today.  Obstacles are fading away due to increased mutual respect and equality in the workplace. 

Who are some women you admire? There are so many women in the Navy that I admire for their strength, intelligence, and ability to break boundaries.  The three Naval Officers I believe are the most inspirational are Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, Adm. Michelle Howard and Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic.

In your opinion, what challenges remain for women today? Balancing parental responsibilities and remaining competitive in the workforce is a challenge.  I am thankful to have a supportive husband, but the mom-duties are still important to me. The proper balance requires creativity and patience. 

How can understanding history help us to overcome them? We have to understand history in order to learn from it.  Very strong women sacrificed and paved the way for all of us to have better opportunities.  Our responsibility is to continue to improve possibilities for future women. what is your best memory of working at L&M? I have only been here for two months but already love the organization, the people and the mission. 

How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? I have been active duty in the Navy for 18 years.

How long have you worked for L&M and how did you get your start here? I have worked with DLA for almost 2 months. 

What is your favorite thing about your line of work? I love the people, the professionalism, the busy tempo of each day, and the location (Hawaii is amazing!).

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? Take care of your Sailors and teammates.  People are the backbone of any organization.

If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be? I would love to master multiple foreign languages.

Who is the most influential person in your life…past or present? Dr. Lori Van Wallendael was my psychology professor in college over 26 years ago and I still remember her and the positive influence she had on my life.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a psychologist so I could offer guidance and assistance to people in need. 

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? I would like to spend the day with my family caring for endangered wildlife in their natural habitat. 

What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done? I had the opportunity to shoot a .50 cal machine gun at the firing range in Fort Jackson, South Carolina,  prior to my tour in Iraq.

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? My advice to people experiencing difficult challenges would be that work is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself.  Plan for the unexpected, use your resources and try to improve every day.

Any advice for those starting careers at L&M? I would congratulate them on making a great decision to work for DLA and encourage them to take challenging roles when available, learn as much as they can, and support their co-workers.