Last week I published my annual review (link to blog) of progress in the US Armed Forces around LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Diversity following the ending of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) at the end of 2010. I now follow up that article by sharing some greatresources from one of my Linked In connections, the Diversity and Inclusion Leader of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dr. Adis Maria Vila.
Two key points to start with:
1. Fostering diversity and inclusion initiatives at the US Service Academies is an outstanding and critical emphasis since these academies develop many of our military and national leaders.
2. The excellent methodology that Dr. Vila deployed at the US Air Force Academy is easily transferable and applicable to all kinds of enterprises: educational, business, non-profit, etc.
Here are the links to these two well-written, well-organized clear articles, authored by Dr. Vila::
“Building a Culture of Inclusion at the U.S. Air Force Academy,” in the Spring, 2012 National Civic Review.
“Next Steps for Building a Culture of Inclusion at the U.S. Air Force Academy,” in the Winter, 2013 Insight Into Diversity (once the entire magazine comes up go to pages 6-8)
Some of the key sharings from Dr. Vila fom her last two years of experience in her diversity and inclusion leadership at the USAFA that are transferable for all of us in this field include:
• The importance of understanding the history and culture of the organization to assure developing a diversity and inclusion strategy that is relevant and that will resonate with leaders.
• Extensively collaborating across the organization to create a plan that clearly articulates the core importance of diversity and inclusion to the organization’s strategy.
• Building a core of advocates across the organization who will assist with the communication and execution of the strategy
• Deploying the strong combination of top-down direction setting, board-based bottom-up performance improvement, and cross-process process redesign.
Finally as a diversity consultant with a specialization in LGBT diversity, I am very pleased that Dr. Vila did explicitly include LGBT diversity in the mix. In one article when writing about the composite of individual characteristics included with diversity, she wrote, “This description of diversity is broad and is likely to expand even more as lesbians and gays openly serve in the Air Force.”
Do study these two articles and use them to make your own diversity and inclusion efforts more effective!