This post was written by Cdr. Lori Roe, the outreach lead for the Navy Office of Diversity.
I wish all of you could have been with me at the Diversity Council Honors Awards in Atlanta the evening of 5 April. What a night! The Navy was selected #1 Diversity Council in the Nation. Our Strategic Diversity Working Group (SDWG) has placed in the Top 25 for the past three years and I was expecting a jump to maybe #5 from #8 last year. But, number one?! I am still in shock. Not because I don’t think we deserve it, but to actually be accepted and respected by the over 100 other corporations and academic institutions that participated this year is at once both humbling and inspiring.
Now I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves, what is the SDWG? Well, it is an Enterprise/ Community-wide council that meets weekly by teleconference to discuss the latest events/issues on the diversity front on the national, regional, and local levels.
Our mission is to support the Navy-wide diversity mission to recruit, develop and retain the best and brightest personnel our nation has to offer in order to maintain an effective Naval force; To coordinate top level (Flag Officer/Senior Executive) participation and provide resources for Navy Enterprises and Communities to engage in diversity events on the national, regional, and local levels; And to partner with affinity groups and their youth chapters that focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines and provide awareness of the Navy opportunities available in the corresponding STEM fields. Membership includes diversity managers and leaders from approximately 40 Enterprises and Communities across the 50 states.
To be ranked among the Top Diversity Councils, we were rated on four criteria: How we show and demonstrate results, how we engage senior leadership, how we involve and engage middle managers to achieve results, and how we track and measure our progress against our goals. Navy has made great strides in communicating our message of diversity and inclusion to the many external groups we sponsor and internally to our Sailors. We are reaching millions across the globe each year by communicating the Navy’s diversity message in a clear, consistent, and compelling manner, embracing both traditional and social media to reach a variety of diverse audiences. In the past year, we published more than 70 print articles and photos via the Navy’s official website (www.navy.mil) and conducted nearly 30 external media interviews highlighting the Navy’s commitment to increasing diversity in the workforce, retaining talent, implementing life-work balance initiatives, and becoming one of the nation’s top ten employers. These news outlets include, but are not limited to, Federal News Radio, Black Enterprise Magazine, Government Executive Magazine, Navy Times, DiversityInc, and LatinaStyle.
This media outreach complements a robust internal communication strategy which aims to inform you of the importance of diversity to mission readiness – a strategy which includes informative one-page memos called “Rhumb Lines,” a diversity outreach events calendar, a website providing information on Navy mentoring programs and diversity affinity groups, and the Department of the Navy (DoN) Annual Report on Diversity to the DoN Force Management Oversight Council.
To reach a more generationally and geographically diverse audience, in 2010 we launched new Facebook and Twitter pages to communicate in real time our participation and your leadership’s commitment to diversity events across the nation. With these pages, we are working to communicate directly with diversity leaders, diversity centers of influence, and future talented members of our Navy Total Force.
Also in 2010, we partnered with the Navy History and Heritage Command, creating a series of brochures highlighting the achievements of women and minorities in the Navy, from our establishment to the present. We are actively distributing these brochures at heritage celebrations and diversity outreach events to give attendees examples of how the Navy has leveraged diversity to meet its mission.
The SDWG will continue to work hard to mentor the best and brightest of America’s students to follow Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM) fields of study so they are ready to lead the Navy of the future. In addition, we care about every Sailor in the Navy and will push initiatives for your mentoring, professional development and work/life balance. Just remember that your SDWG is working for you and its FULL STEAM AHEAD!