As part of our series “What Does a Woman Veteran Look Like”, Women Veterans Alliance would like to introduce you to Navy Veteran, Kathy Takayama.
Story Updated October 17
Kathy Takayama grew up a U.S. Navy brat and followed in her father’s footsteps, serving for five years as a Navy officer. Her father retired as a captain after more than 30 years, including time served as a POW at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War.
Kathy served four years as a naval nuclear power instructor in Orlando, where she provided training for officers and enlisted personnel who went on to operate nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines. As an applied mathematics major at the University of California, Davis, (where a recruiter pulled her aside and said, “Have I got a deal for you!”), Kathy started by teaching enlisted math but quickly moved to teach reactor theory.
Just two years out of college, Kathy was trusted with a leadership position as the Division Director of the Officer Mathematics Department! She proudly left the Navy as Lieutenant Nakagawa (maiden name) with a Navy achievement medal. She is particularly proud of her expert pistol and expert rifle ribbons. When asked if she ever served any time at sea, the answer is yes – a 4-hour tour, which was just long enough to peek through the periscope of the sub after traveling beyond the horizon.
Since leaving the Navy, Kathy found her passion as a program manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, leading teams of Research and Development engineers developing new products and solutions for enterprise customers. She also has an information technology (IT) consultant background and is a certified Microsoft and Novell instructor.
While at Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Roseville, California site, Kathy helped found the Veterans Employee Resource Network (VERN), and serves as co-chairman. The Roseville VERN team cultivates a professional network of employees who served in the Armed Forces and their Allies supporting Veterans and Veteran causes, as well as aiding in the recruitment, transition, and retention of Veteran hires. The 41 member team is very active in the local community, raising over $6000 and donating over 800 volunteer hours in 2016.
Kathy’s son, Ryan, is working on his MBA at the University of Nevada after graduating with a BS degree in mechanical engineering. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys remodeling her home, photography, golf, and cheering on the San Francisco Giants – go Giants!
Photo by James R. Morrison Photography
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