Summit 2023 Session Descriptions


Oct 11th Day 1: Inclusion 


Speaker: Dr. Beth Hellwig (she/her)

This keynote address provides a unique opportunity to hear from the Vice President of Cadet Leadership and Development at California Maritime Academy about our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the maritime community. VP Hellwig will shed light on the institution's ongoing initiatives and future plans to ensure that the maritime industry continues to grow in an inclusive, supportive, and respectful manner. 


Opening Plenary: Proud & Empowered in the Maritime Industry 

Speaker: Jennifer Yount (she/her)

As we navigate the vast waters of progress and social change, it is crucial that we acknowledge and celebrate the invaluable contributions of our LGBTQ+ colleagues within the maritime industry. LGBTQ+ Pride is not just a single moment in time but an ongoing journey towards empowerment, acceptance, and equality for all. 


Panel: Advocacy and Allyship

Panelists: Dr. Beth Hellwig, Julie Simons, Hale Allegretti, Ben Voth; Moderator: Lennon Prothro Jones

This compelling panel aims to educate, inspire, and equip attendees with the knowledge and tools to be effective allies and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. By fostering a deeper understanding of the experiences, needs, and rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, we hope to build a strong and united front that champions diversity, acceptance, and love. 


Session: Navigating The Future of Maritime

Speaker(s): Cesar Cordova (he/him), Dr. Alex Parker (he/him)

How do you impact the equity of the changing maritime industry?  As the maritime industry undergoes rapid transformation driven by technological advancements, environmental concerns, and shifting global dynamics, it becomes imperative to address the crucial aspect of equity in this evolving landscape. In this session, we will explore how the future of maritime will impact various stakeholders, ensure inclusivity, and promote equitable opportunities for all. 


Lunch Panel: "Embracing Diversity: Empowering Communication through Gender Inclusive Language"

Panelists: Erika Nelson (she/her); Camillo Villa (he/him); Dr. Frederick Smith (he/him) Moderator: Meagan Nance (she/her)

This engaging panel brings together esteemed experts, linguists, educators, and advocates from various fields to discuss the multifaceted aspects of gender-inclusive language. By promoting a respectful and empathetic approach to communication, we aim to uncover the profound impact that language has on gender equality, representation, and social change. 


 Panel: Out at Work:  Navigating LGBTQ+ Experiences in Maritime Academies and Industry

Panelists: Captain Beth Neumeyer, Sophie Scopazzi, Chris Walker, Andres Ramirez; Moderator: Riley Kovacev

In this panel, members of the maritime industry who identify as LGBTQ+ will be able to share their personal experiences and insights. This session delves into the intricate tapestry of LGBTQ+ individuals' journeys through maritime academies and their subsequent careers, shedding light on challenges, triumphs, and opportunities for growth. 


Workshop: Building LGBTQIA+ & Gender Inclusive Campus Workshop

Speaker: Camilo Villa

In this workshop  our speaker will walk us through workable and realistic ways that we can make our campus not only more accessible, but more celebratory of diverse gender and sexual identities. 



October 12th Day 2: Community Building

Panel: Queer Maritime History: Unveiling Intersectionality at Sea

Panelists: Jonathan Kissan, Heather Feeney, Moderator: Erika Nelson 

Throughout history, the maritime industry has witnessed the presence and significant contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals, yet their stories have frequently been relegated to the shadows. This panel seeks to rectify that oversight and delve into the untold narratives, shedding light on the vital roles played by queer individuals in shaping maritime history. 


Panel: How to be a Changemaker in the workplace 

Panelists: Meredith Whipple Callahan (she/her), Dr. Elizabeth McNie (she/her), Niko Cowell (he/him); Moderator: Dr. Sarah Senk (she/her)

This engaging panel aims to inspire and equip attendees with valuable insights and practical strategies to champion diversity in their own workplaces. Our accomplished panelists, hailing from various industries and sectors, will delve into their experiences, challenges faced, and successful initiatives they have undertaken to create an inclusive work culture. 


Workshop: Nurturing Inclusivity: Human-Centered Design for LGBTQ+ Families' Needs 

Speaker: Lilea Duran (she/they)

In an era where diversity and inclusivity are paramount, addressing the specific needs of LGBTQ+ families requires a fresh perspective. This presentation will unravel the inspiring journey of embracing human-centered design to craft tailored solutions that enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ families. By highlighting concrete examples such as the Rainbow Kit initiative, local advocacy endeavors, and immersive Rainbow Playdates, attendees will be immersed in the transformative impact of these community-driven efforts. 


Workshop: Queer 101: Navigating LGBTQ+ Lives, with a Focus on Intersex and Trans Experiences 

Speaker: Rob Sanchez Nelson (they/them)

In this session, we will delve into the fundamental concepts of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. By exploring the intersections of intersex and transgender identities, we will shed light on the unique challenges, triumphs, and experiences that shape the lives of individuals who identify as intersex and trans. This conference session aims to provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse and complex narratives within the LGBTQ+ community, equipping participants with the knowledge and tools to become effective allies. 


October 13th Day 3:  Resilience 

Session: Mental Health in Maritime

Facilitators: Miriam Anthony (she/her), Dr. Marco Sernaglia (he/him)

This critical session will address the multifaceted aspects of mental health in the maritime industry, acknowledging the toll that isolation, long voyages, and demanding work schedules can take on the well-being of seafarers. We will delve into strategies for promoting mental wellness, fostering resilience, and creating a supportive environment for seafarers at sea and onshore. 


Closing Keynote: Visibility & Erasure

Speaker: Captain Beth Neumyer (she/her)

All too often the queer identity is erased from history books. But in this inspirational closing plenary, Captain Neumyer will help us explore the ways to increase visibility for the LGBTQ+ community in the maritime industry. Queerness allows us to escape rigid thinking and forge new paths. Attendees will leave with an understanding of how to create a future of their own making, while embracing the fullness of their queer identities. 


Meagan Nance, Director of Inclusion Initiatives and the Educational Opportunity Program

Jalen Chavez, EOP Program Assistant
Morrow Cove