If you ask Lieutenant-Commander Kelly Williamson, Senior Public Affairs Officer for the 5th Canadian Division, what it’s like to be named one of Canada’s most powerful women, she calls it humbling.
Williamson spoke on Thursday evening at 8 Wing Trenton as part of a Women in Business event put together by the Trenton and District Business and Professional Women Club.
She was recently named one of the Women’s Executive Network top 100 Most Powerful Women for 2017.
She says her journey in the military and to becoming a Senior Public Affairs Officer was a bit of a long journey but one she feels was important regardless.
Williamson began her career in the navy because she was told she would “look good in the uniform,” something she laughs at now but said her passion was really in communications as she wanted to be a public affairs officer just as her aunt was.
Williamson told the crowd of men and women at the Officer’s Mess that she almost left the military in 2015 but life threw her a curve ball that led to her where she is now.
She says telling people that the journey to where she is now wasn’t always smooth sailing is important for others to hear.
She was deployed with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and in 2015 to Nepal, as well deployed to Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
Williamson told those in attendance that there is never anything wrong with asking for help and that was how she was able to learn many parts of her job when she was beginning her career as a maritime surface warfare officer.
The one message she wanted to leave with people was that it’s one team, one fight.
She says her role models were Margaret Thatcher and U.S. Navy Vice-Admiral Nora Tyson, and seeing women in powerful roles helped her visualize that she could do this and be a woman in a position of power or authority.