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Sharon Parish has over 35 years of honorable service with the Department of the Navy. Currently, she is the director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at the Naval Sea Systems Command, and guides the commander on all matters related to DEIA programs.

Sharon works closely with the director of civilian human resources to develop and implement a command-wide DEIA program that aligns with NAVSEA’s goals, needs, concerns, and vision.

This includes examining NAVSEA’s policies and procedures to remove biases and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The DEIA Director plays a key role in identifying, hiring, nurturing, and retaining a skilled DEIA workforce.

Sharon’s background as a child of deaf adults motivates her to drive initiatives that increase representation across all areas.

Her innovative recruitment strategies, particularly for institutions serving people with disabilities and minorities, have been groundbreaking. Her mentorship and leadership have ensured that NAVSEA reflects the diverse fabric of America.

She currently holds dual positions with NAVSEA 05, serving as the deputy competency domain lead – engineering, providing technical and administrative guidance for the NAVSEA enterprise workforce via the back-to-basics engineering and technical management area, as well as the director of the engineering development division in which she oversees the operation of mandatory and technical training, resourcing personnel to support independent technical authority and affordability initiatives, and planning and execution of training funds for the ENG competency.

During her acceptance speech at the Historically Black College and University Engineering Deans Recognition Event at the 38th annual BEYA STEM Conference, Sharon expressed her gratitude for receiving the Admiral Michelle Howard Legacy Award.

She recalled meeting Admiral Howard about nine years ago when she was a guest speaker at the Asian American Pacific Islander Conference. Sharon was impressed with Admiral Howard’s modest stature and great presence as she shared her pioneering legacy.

She is humbled to receive the award, which represents Admiral Howard’s legacy in BEYA’s culture, the Department of Navy, and the STEM community.

Sharon’s STEM journey began when her high school teachers encouraged her to major in electrical engineering and attend an HBCU.

She chose Tuskegee University and credits both recommendations for blessing her with the quality of life a girl from a low-income but loving family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, could never imagine.

As a Black woman and a child of deaf adults, Sharon has recruited, hired, developed, mentored, advocated, and served all races and genders, particularly Black or deaf STEM students and professionals, to have fulfilling careers at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Similarly, the Navy has provided ample opportunities for her to chart her diverse career as a practicing engineer, advancing to the technical manager and senior ranks, and currently serving as the inaugural diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility director.

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