ISS1 2019

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 41 of 67

Great Lakes Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion 2019 Symposium: Striving for change in a modern workforce Sector Detroit hosted the 2019 Great Lakes Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion Symposium April 9-10 in Southfield, Mich. Nearly 200 Coast Guard members from around the Ninth District were in attendance, as well as members from other districts and partner agencies. The featured speakers included General Motors' global chief diversity officer, Ken Barrett, President of the World Maritime University, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. There were also four panel presentations that included such topics as managing change, building a culture of mentorship and infusing diversity throughout your organization, as well as a senior enlisted leadership panel appropriately called "Ask the Badge," which was facilitated by retired Master Chief Petty Officer Vince Patton III, the eighth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. The objective of the symposium was to support the commandant's top priority to recruit and retain an inclusive and diverse workforce that reflects the American public we serve. As leaders in the Coast Guard, whether active, reserve, civilian or auxiliary, we all play a vital role in ensuring that our Coast Guard remains viable by having a workforce that represents the diversity and richness of experiences that dwells within the United States and its territories. As Dr. Doumnia-Henry delivered her remarks, she commented that, looking out in the crowd, she was heartened to see a diverse representation of different ethnic and racial groups, as well as numerous women representing the Coast Guard. She said many other countries' coast guards are not as inclusive as the U.S. Coast Guard, and she was pleased to see the progress we've made. Patton reflected on diversity in the Coast Guard as well, and he noted the Coast Guard he joined in 1972 is very different from our service today. Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion is a deliberate effort, and commandant said the changes that we are undergoing often occur more slowly than we would like, but we continue to move in the right direction. As Master Chief Petty Officer Ian Lee, command master chief for Sector Lake Michigan, said, "We can't control diversity in our units—we get who they send us, but we can control being inclusive, and we must strive to include everyone in all that we do as much as possible." As an organization that stresses teamwork, inclusiveness is paramount to our success as we build trust and camaraderie through the relationships that we build serving with our fellow shipmates. To exclude someone because they are different in some way puts up barriers, which can, in turn, have a negative impact on our working relationships and the subsequently impact the quality of services that we provide to the American public. Another key element of the symposium was in the area of mentoring. Mentorship is leadership and we all play a significant role in helping to prepare future leaders in taking the helm of this organization once we retire or leave the service. At some point, we all will put away our uniform for the last time and those that we have mentored will become the leaders. We all get to positions in leadership because someone takes an interest in us and mentors us along the way. Mentorship can be a formal or an informal process and often the mentee chooses us to be the mentor. Our knowledge, experiences, and skills can all be shared with those that come after us to help ensure that the Coast Guard remains strong and vibrant for the years to come. During the symposium, there was a speed mentoring session that included Adm. Shultz, Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. Scott Buschman, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden, Ninth District Commander Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan, and other leaders of local Coast Guard commands. This exercise gave individuals at each table an opportunity to ask questions of our leaders and find out about their leadership experiences, challenges and styles. Each table had the opportunity for three leaders to visit for a few minutes, give their thoughts on leadership and then move to the next table. Over the course of the two-day symposium, each participant had the opportunity to reflect on how we can best achieve diversity and inclusion in our current and future workforce. "Diversity and inclusion are essential in cultivating a mission ready total workforce," said Adm. Schultz "Just like any other expertise, we must train for inclusion, including me." Awareness is the first step toward creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. Taking deliberate and decisive action now and in the future will enable our members, as well as our future members, to flourish and contribute immeasurably to the work of the service. These steps will also help to create an environment where our members feel valued and empowered to make our service a vibrant and dynamic workforce that makes it an employer of choice for individuals, with varied backgrounds and experiences, for years to come. � — Story by Capt. Timothy Decker Retired Master Chief Petty Ofcer Vince Patton III, the eighth Master Chief Petty Ofcer of the Coast Guard facilitates a senior enlisted leadership panel appropriately called "Ask the Badge," at the 2019 Great Lakes Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion Symposium in April. Photo by Petty Ofcer 2nd Class Karl Dirksmeyer. 40 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2019

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