SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – How can we, as leaders, advance Diversity and Inclusion within our functions and culture?
Our nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. In August 2011, an executive order was signed to establish a federal-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of our society. This will allow our greatest accomplishments to be achieved when diverse perspectives assist our culture to overcome our greatest challenges.
Some of the best examples of this could be found in our own pop culture in sports, music, and movies like “The Theory of Everything,” “Hidden Figures,” the Ocean’s series, the “Avengers,” and my personal favorite example, “Interstellar.”
I chose “Interstellar” as my favorite not because I’m a huge space geek but because it shows some of the best examples of functional and life experience diversity, not to mention the cast diversity was great as well. The crew in “Interstellar” was composed of a NASA pilot and engineer, a physicist, a geographer, a chief biologist and a quite humorous tactical robot. “Interstellar” reminds me of the diversity that takes place in our everyday work lives. If you take one of the members away from the crew, the outcome of the story would be extremely different.
Same here at Sheppard. If we took away a squadron or group, our overall mission will not be a success.
For too long, diversity and inclusion has been something to which companies and even we have paid lip-service. To be meaningful and bear fruit, it must be an Air Force-wide mission, where each Airman within the organization knows they are valued and, in return, is held accountable for their contribution to our culture.
As leaders, we must focus on D&I in terms of talent acquisition, talent development and employee engagement, while at the same time helping our teams foster inclusion in the workplace. For example, by encouraging Airmen to form their own resource groups, they will have access to networks for support, mentoring and professional growth.
Our goal should be to create work environments where Airmen can share their ideas, take considered risks without fear and ultimately be who they are. Let’s encourage leaders and front-line personnel alike to break down barriers within their organizations because no one has the monopoly on great ideas. Collaborating and engaging through Diversity and Inclusion initiatives strengthens team bonds and our esprit de corps.
If you would like to #BeTheChange in ways we view, implement, and analyze diversity here at Sheppard AFB, we are forming a Diversity and Inclusion Council on Sept. 28, 2018, at the Central Prep Kitchen in Bldg. 61 at 1 p.m. If you have any interest please feel free to contact Meguel Copeland at 940-676-7226 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.