The Naval Officer Mentoring Association (NOMA) was officially founded in June 2008 by a group of senior naval officers of Filipino and mixed Filipino & Japanese decent. The beginnings of NOMA can be traced back to as early as 2002, when a number of these officers were in the midst of entering key leadership roles such as Executive Officers of ships and squadrons and holding down Major Command/Staff roles and Department Head billets.
The original White Paper was developed in 2003, and it addressed a very specific need for more naval officer mentorship. The paper also focused on the unique history and issues of Naval Officers of Filipino descent as they represented a significantly large and emerging group within the naval officer ranks. The ideas and concept fully matured over a five-year period, during which, many of the original group members served in senior leadership roles such as Commanding Officers and Officer-in-Charge billets at various Fleet commands across the globe.
Through these following years, the GWOT environment, a transforming Department of the Navy and dynamic individual career path demands across the ranks of the original founders further emphasized the importance of professional networking, sharing personal experiences and core expertise. Ultimately, the group concluded that providing senior tutelage and "giving back" to the junior officers (JOs) and U.S. Navy in the form of a professional mentoring group was an absolute necessity.
In early 2008, based on a sharing of information with senior United States Navy diversity council members and a member of the CNO's Diversity Panel, the association further defined the need to expand the overall scope to include all Naval Officers of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) descent.
The founding mentors of NOMA are: Captain Myles Esmele, Captain (Sel) Joe Deleon, Captain (Sel) Ron Ravelo and Commander Ray Ricario.
A fundamental focus of NOMA encompasses the broadest horizon of mentoring throughtout the entire diverse officer population. Additionally, NOMA has actively sought out senior sponsors and advisors that include API and non-API flag officers, senior Captains and Commanders and retired officers.
The strategic goal of NOMA is the effective mentoring of all Naval Officers across the spectrum of diversity. The Association intends to help its members make the most informed career decisions, increase community outreach, drastically improve career retention, broaden the understanding of career opportunities and directly recruit the best qualified officers into the Naval Services.
Another major focus of NOMA is centered on the Asian Pacific Islander (API) officer community. A fundamental goal is to create an organization that will provide the opportunity for the diverse API population to establish API contacts across the service as well as develop the critical awareness of all the professional and social networks within the Naval Services.
As with most mentoring situations, the mentee (and protege) defines the needs and requirements. In this light, NOMA is structured so that interested officers of all ranks can "pull" as well as "push" information to whomever can benefit the most. We hope to break the old perception of "It's not what you know, but who you know." It is our belief that information and experienced advice shared through an effective mentoring environment will produce Naval Officers who - simply know!
Much of the initial dynamics of NOMA will revolve around how information is best utilized in today's environment. Namely, by sharing real-time and hard-to-find information via the Internet and by using common web-based tools to easily access a "portal of knowledge" to specifically address professional, community and social issues, we truly believe that NOMA can provide unprecedented access and incredible networking opporunitites to the widest possible audience and user base.
Most importantly, this new, customized and professional networking portal will further empower each officer to request mentorship based on his or her own identified needs, across naval communities and sub-specialities. As our membership increases the ability to communicate and further network will naturally increase, providing for an even broader access to critical career information, key senior leaders and peer officers never before assembled in any professional forum.
In the near future, the NOMA organization will expand and develop local and regional chapters, thus broadening the organizational structure and increasing its national exposure and impact.
In the early years, involved and committed membership will drive the motive forces for the organization. Our overall success will be dependent upon our vast and collective experiences to lead. By fostering a genuine "spirit of mentorship" we hope to achieve even greater levels of cooperation that will certainly benefit all involved. In summary, NOMA intends to bring out the very best in each officer and member!