Global force reinforces diverse strategy
By By Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
/ Published April 09, 2008
WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- More than 300 National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees from around the country attended a conference here with the theme, "Transforming our Future through Diversity."
Brig. Gen. Joyce Stevens, who serves as the national chairperson for Army National Guard Equal Opportunity/Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Committee., hosted the three-day gathering and kicked off the Diversity Conference on behalf of the Director of the Army National Guard.
"I am honored to serve as the national chairperson for the Diversity Committee," said General Stevens. "Our Diversity, especially in the National Guard, is our strength - it is what makes our forces exceptionally competent. Many people think that Equal Opportunity and Diversity are the same thing but Diversity encompasses much more than race, gender, ethnicity and religion. It includes age and the generation from which you come and broader characteristics like marital / parental status, personal habits, income, language and accent, physical ability, educational background and work experience and skills. It might even include your geographical location, what you do for recreation and your communication and work styles.
Stevens commented that Guardsmen bring so much to the table - and smart leaders value the diverse characteristics of their Soldiers and Airmen and learn how to tap into those differences to accomplish the mission.
"I am proud that Lt. Gen. Rodriguez sent so many Soldiers, Airmen and civilians to the Conference to bring back the information to Texas," said Stevens. "When people are valued and feel like they can succeed in an organization, like the Texas Military Forces, they stay and recruit, and in our case, are ready to support Texas DSCA and federal missions."
Speakers included mavericks such as Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., the first African-American to walk in space; Coach Joe Gilliam, regarded as one of the best and most inspiring speakers in American business; and Sgt. 1st Class (Ret) Dana Bowman, who as a member of the Special Forces and the U.S. Army elite parachute team gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate collided in mid-air during a training session and both his legs had to be amputated; he reenlisted as a double-amputee
and, in an incredible show of courage, resumed sky-diving.