Commodore (Cmdre) Josée Kurtz is leading the way for women in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).
As the first female commander of a principal warship (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax) and the first female commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), Cmdre Kurtz hopes her accomplishments will motivate other women in the navy to set goals for themselves and work hard to achieve them.
As the RCN joins with all Canadians in celebrating Women’s History Month, we look at the career of an exceptional sailor who believes that strong coaching and mentorship will ensure that women who aspire to leadership in the RCN are better equipped and prepared to map and implement their career plans.
In the question and answer below, Cmdre Kurtz shares her thoughts and views on her own career, what helped make her successful, and how her experiences can help other women who aspire to naval careers.
How difficult was it to achieve command of HMCS Halifax?
Every step in a naval officer’s career progression rests on demonstrated competency at the previous level and so the achievement of command at sea requires hard work and dedication over a significant period of time.
This includes challenging training and, obviously, time at sea. I was appointed to command at 20 years of service, which is about the average time for officers of my generation.
The path to command is definitely not easy and I did my best, working as hard as my peers to get there. And I could not have done it…