Developing a Culture of Passion around Diversity
In 2012 we embarked on a journey to refine our diversity goals at the District level. COMO DeGabriele supports the Strategic plan promulgated by the National Commodore and the Commandant defining the goals and requirements for the matter of diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. This plan calls on each member, regardless of position, to identify unintended disincentives to recruiting and retention at all levels and to work to eliminate them through a process of training and mentoring. The top priority is to make the Coast Guard Auxiliary the Volunteer Organization of choice. We must now sharpen our focus and pinpoint district needs and requirements for a successful diversity plan.
Our program will be measured by how well our leaders can identify and capitalize on our members’ talents, finding the best in everyone. We must work to ensure that trust is at the foundation of each of our initiatives. Our members must know where the lines are drawn, what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior toward other members and we must use training at all levels to build an inclusive environment, promoting diversity of thoughts, of ideas, and of competencies. We must also be certain that each member knows their role in diversity and how it ties to the mission. This will enable us to work on building high performance teams and empower us to mission readiness and excellence.
Our recruiting initiatives must be structured to attract top talent to our organization. Using traditional methods we must seek a wide range of potential members from underrepresented minority groups regardless of race, gender, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, religion, or disabilities, both physical and mental. We should be working to identify affinity groups, forging new relationships which will open new doors within our communities. Such a model will guide us to achieve a measurable improvement in the diversity of our membership, our missions and our partners. The result will be an increase in morale and a positive impact on the success of our members in the fulfillment of their mission.
We must establish a training strategy at the local levels to build an environment of inclusion. We call upon Division and Flotilla Commanders to establish unit committees headed by a Flotilla Advisor. Each unit is unique, with a rich blend of diversity amongst its membership, engaging in a wide range of mission requirements in support of the Coast Guard. Establishing local goals and plans will help leaders capitalize on unit talent, to build member engagement, and to foster creativity and innovation. Flotilla training strategies should focus on building an inclusive environment both internally and externally, embracing all with open arms.
We will develop a core group of Assistant District Staff Officers who are to be geographically situated. They will serve as mentors, assisting the District Staff Officer, as ADSOs do, to promote the policies and best practices established by the Commodore. Diversity is a top priority for the District as it is for the National Auxiliary organization. We will seek to ensure that a mentor is readily available to each and every Division throughout the District. COMO DeGabrielel has committed to providing the necessary ADSOs to ensure the success of this program.
We have established a program for ongoing recognition of those who make contributions to the mission of diversity. They will be our District Diversity Champions. Each month we will feature a Diversity Champion on the District’s Diversity web page. If necessary we will run features more often than monthly. We will rely upon local leaders, both Division and Flotilla as well as ADSOs, to provide accounts of individual member contributions. Units will also be recognized on the web site for group contributions in the area of Diversity. Additionally, the National Commodore has revised and reinstituted the NACO Three Star Award for Excellence in Diversity.
Each year the DSO will work with the DCO to ensure that those who have made the most significant contributions will be recognized with an Auxiliary medal which is commensurate with their individual level of performance. Units will be recognized for their performance through the use of Team Commendation awards. We must celebrate our success to ensure that we inspire “Passion around Diversity”. Awards are the payment we receive for our service; we intend to ensure that members receive the payment they have earned.
All members, across all levels, are responsible for fostering an inclusive team atmosphere. The National Commodore has stated that it is his view that diversity is not a problem to be solved; it is an asset to be developed. As we travel this road together we must be keenly aware of the hurdles we face in removing barriers to inclusion. As diversity leaders we must meet the challenge, embracing new ideas, supporting and celebrating differences, and building upon the foundation established by the Strategic Plans instituted by COMO DeGabriele, the National Commodore and the Commandant of the Coast Guard. We must always be guided by the Coast Guard values; Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. Our devotion to these principles will be as a torch in the night guiding our way, helping to ensure we stand firm in support of always doing the right thing, even in the face of adversity. /s/ DSO-DV