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Chaela Smith

U.S. Navy

2024 fellow

Chaela Smith is a Civil and Environmental Engineer with 25 years of experience. She currently serves as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Installations Division (N4I) Head of Program and Policy (HPP) and is responsible for developing strategic policy, objectives, and assessing program requirements relative to Shore Investments and Environmental Compliance for shore facilities and afloat activities. She leads N4I through evaluating requirements and making recommendations to senior Navy leadership on the Navy’s planning, programming, budgeting, and execution (PPBE) strategy for the entire $15 billion annual Installations Division budget.

Mrs. Smith is also charged with leading cross division issues that require coordination within the facilities, investment, base operating support, installation compatibility and sustainability, and environmental portfolios. One of Mrs. Smith’s primary functions is to develop cross organization solutions, analytic techniques, and risk assessments in support of the Secretary of Navy, CNO, and Deputy CNO N4 objectives related to shore logistics and future requirements.

As a White House Leadership Development Program Fellow, Mrs. Smith will support the Council on Environmental Quality as Director of Strategic Initiatives. She hopes to increase her knowledge of interagency issues and business practices through collaboration across the federal government. One skill she specifically wants to strengthen is Participative Management. She sees the interagency collaboration as an opportunity to not only understand how other federal agencies operate, but also get the perspectives of different organizational cultures and learn the effects of that culture on organizational management and output.

Mrs. Smith was named Civilian of the Year twice (2022 and 2013), received a Meritorious Civilian Award (2014), and served as the Senior Policy Expert on Navy environmental quality matters, ensuring effective, centralized, and coordinated control for environmental program areas. During her 18 years of Navy experience, Mrs. Smith implemented various programs and policies resulting in process improvements and an increase in the Navy’s budget.

Mrs. Smith is truly a servant leader, remaining agile and adaptable while implementing cross-organizational techniques and risk assessments in support of leadership objectives. She brings strong written and oral communication skills, including delivering difficult subject matter to all levels of command. She has developed the ability to build coalitions with both internal and external stakeholders, which has increased her emotional intelligence and given her the ability to lead from anywhere in the organization.

Mrs. Smith has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Environmental Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She also has a Master of Science and a Master of Business Administration in Project Management and Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her guiding principle is adopted from John C. Maxwell who said, “The secret to my success is determined by my daily agenda!”

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