Trust and confidence: becoming a leader in the RCN

Navy News / April 16, 2021

By Joanie Veitch

Growing up in southern Ontario, Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Adelaide Taylor knew two things for certain about her future plans: she had a yearning for adventure and she wanted a secure career.

Now, nearly eight years into her Royal Canadian Navy career, the 26-year-old works as the Current Operations Staff Officer in Fleet Logistics Operations at Canadian Fleet Atlantic Headquarters in Halifax. 

It’s a demanding job, but Lt(N) Taylor credits her strong mentors and naval experiences, along with her love of soccer, for the life lessons that are allowing her to thrive.

“Soccer is all about team cohesion and working with others. You learn to dig deep and use that drive to work hard and do your best,” she said. “I was always a very quiet person – I still am in some scenarios – it can take me time to get comfortable and voice my opinion. But as I’ve grown through the various roles I’ve held and gained more responsibility, I’ve come to realize that, yes, what I have to say is valuable. I’ve found confidence in my voice.”

Lt(N) Taylor was in high school when a chance meeting at a soccer tournament sparked an interest in the Royal Military College of Canada, leading her to play varsity soccer there for four years while doing a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.

She followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, a Royal Marine during the Second World War, in choosing the Navy route, and added she’s always been drawn to the water.

“The more I learned about a career in the Navy, the more I knew it would be that perfect mix of an exciting experience, balanced with the security of a full-time job,” she said.

She was not disappointed. “I get to do so many amazing things. My job is challenging and rewarding and that sense of adventure I’ve always had is satisfied. I love it.”

After being posted to Halifax in 2018, Lt(N) Taylor worked with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Oriole after the tall ship returned to Halifax from the West Coast. During that year’s Great Lakes Deployment, she travelled ahead to arrange port services and logistical requirements for Oriole.

Her next role, a career highlight, came in 2019 on an Operation REASSURANCE overseas deployment with HMCS Halifax.

Working under the supervision of logistics officer Lieutenant-Commander Tiffani Carrat, Lt(N) Taylor said she received strong mentorship that helped her learn to trust in her own ability.

“She encouraged me to be confident and to trust that I know what I’m doing and to believe in my inherent competency,” said Lt(N) Taylor. “That can be hard to learn, but the more responsibility I took on and the more I worked, I saw that others trusted me and I learned to trust myself.”

In April 2020, Lt(N) Taylor took on her current role, supporting deployed vessels and acting as the ships’ main point of contact. She is a supervisor herself now and – remembering how much she benefited from having a good mentor – strives to do the same for others.

“I try to make it a priority to go over things whenever I have the opportunity, to teach and mentor, but not just about the materials and facts. I try to talk about those bigger life lessons, like how to be confident,” she said. “I think it’s important to be a leader, not just with your subordinates, but with your peers as well.”

Just as Lt(N) Taylor strives to have a healthy work-life balance while at sea, staying active and leading yoga classes on the flight deck, she continues to make it a priority while advancing her career on land. She maintains creative hobbies such as her love of painting and crafting, and enjoys an active lifestyle, running and hiking as much as she can, and still doing yoga regularly.

She also still plays soccer, lacing up her cleats and taking to the field regularly with the Halifax Sport and Social Club, continuing to enjoy the camaraderie and life lessons soccer has to offer.

“It keeps me healthy and I love the team spirit. Playing soccer has always helped me deal with stress,” she said. “There can be a lot going on but it’s important not to get worked up – just take a moment, take a breath, and then go for it.”