EP45 – Lt. Cdr. Roberta O’Brien on a Career of Firsts, Navigating Challenges & Focusing on The Crocodiles!

In this episode, I go on location to meet with Lt. Cdr. Roberta O’Brien at the National Maritime College of Ireland. Roberta has made Irish Naval History a few times in her career, so far! She became the fires female to join the Irish Navy when becoming a cadet in 1995. She went on to become the first female Lt Commander to take charge of the LÉ Aisling a ship in 2008. And that’s just a couple of the firsts that we talk about during the very interesting and enjoyable conversation we had back in October.

Another first for Roberta was when she played hurling with the boys’ team when she was in school. She learned a lot these skills from her brother and she took a great interest in the game, along with Tennis at a young age.

Growing up Roberta was big into sports but she always enjoyed studying so PE teaching was an early aim. It wasn’t until she was in 5th year before a spark was ignited in the Navy when she heard a Captain of a Ship give a talk. From here, Roberta started to set her sights on joining the Navy. She always wanted to be on the operations side of the ship instead of being an engineer so she could ultimately take command of a ship.

Currently, Lt. Cdr. O’Brien is the Officer In Charge of Training School responsible for ensuring 43 potential and young officers are fully trained and equipped prior to taking up their first sea-going appointment.

Here is a view into what we discuss during this fascinating show:
• Learnings from a tough three months during cadet training school
• How the environment changed in the Navy from Roberta started
• Interpersonal Skills training that helped with EQ, Listening and Awareness
• Leadership, Management and Marketing Training
• Psychology and Confirmation Bias
• Challenges in the first couple of years of training and some relationship challenges
• The Role of Mentors and Coaches during the initial years rising up the ranks
• Spending three years in NUIG studying Science
• Planning & Plotting out a path to the goal of commanding a ship
• Getting the opportunity, ahead of her time, to take command of the LÉ Aisling in 2008
• Some Key Decisions Made during the Command
• Life After Command – Finding new challenges, goals and responsibilities to reset focus
• How Training & Learnings all come together during more recent roles in the service
• A Typical Day Now in the Current Role as Officer of Training of Cadets.
• A Deep Dive into the 1% Tips that Roberta Shares:
o Setting Goals, working on tasks, and prioritizing on The Nearest ‘Crocodiles’
o Being a Night Owl to Get Work Done
o How to develop and remain focus and present – touching on Mindfulness
o Journaling and Keeping a Diary
o Inbox Management
o Sleep Patterns especially on ship time
o Dealing with Fear of Failure
o Intuition and Decision Making – recalling some instances from the command on the ship
o Collaboration
o Success and its meaning
o Advice – Given or Gives out!
o One Person You’d Bring to a Dinner

I hope you enjoy the episode. Be sure to like, share, and give me some feedback!
Thanks,
Rob

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