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Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity@Work November 2017
Commemorate Veterans Day The Office of Human Resources and Administration (HR&A) will kick off VA’s month -long celebration to honor Veterans by hosting an event on November 1, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Conference Center, room 230, or attend this event virtually via Microsoft Lync. The program will feature a Voices of the Veteran panel with Veterans who have either served in combat or were deployed on peacekeeping missions while on active duty. For more information, contact Renetta “Rey” Lane (Bradford) or Zelda Davis, Veteran Employment Services Office, HR&A.
Message from the DAS By Georgia Coffey As we approach the end of the 2017, there are many things to recount and highlight in my Diversity@Work newsletter remarks. For this issue, I ask for your indulgence to speak to you on a more personal level, as these are my last remarks to you collectively. It is with both optimism for the future and melancholy for departing that I share with you my decision to retire. A little more than nine years ago, you welcomed me into VA as your new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion (then called Diversity Management and EEO). Together, with our internal partners, external stakeholders, and most importantly, the stellar employees I have been privileged to work with, we launched a new era in VA that focused on the business case for diversity and inclusion. This new paradigm was predicated on two simple precepts: that equity and diversity were foundational to achieving high organizational performance; and inclusion was essential to providing the best services to our Nation’s Veterans and the public at large. With those ends in mind, we proceeded to change the infrastructure in VA and beyond. First, we changed the name and structure of our office to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to align with the new Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategic Plan we developed. (Continued on the next page.)
ORM Steps Toward Conflict Resolution Alternative Dispute Resolution 202-461-0280 Resolution Support Center or Harassment Prevention Program 1-888-56-NEW VA (1-888-566-3982) To file a discrimination or harassment complaint, you must contact the Office of Resolution Management at (toll free) 1-888- 737-3361 within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory incident.
Upcoming Events November 2017 AI/AN Heritage Month Military Family Month Family Caregivers Month National Veterans Day Ceremony November 11; Arlington National Cemetery Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20 Thanksgiving November 23
http://www.va.gov/ https://www.diversity.va.gov/ https://meet.RTC.VA.GOV/renetta.lane/94TT9JRG mailto:Renetta.Lane@va.gov?subject=HR&A%20Veterans%20Day%20Event mailto:email@example.com?subject=HR&A%20Veterans%20Day%20Event https://www.va.gov/adr https://www.va.gov/ORM/RSC.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/HPP.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/EEOcomplaint.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/EEOcomplaint.asp https://www.diversity.va.gov/calendar/october.aspx https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/
Commemorate National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month This November, VA joins the Nation in commemorating National American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Heritage Month. This year’s theme is “Standing Together.” VA managers and supervisors are encouraged to support events and activities that recognize AI/ANs and their many contributions to American society. The VA Central Office (VACO) AI/AN Heritage Month observance will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at noon in the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Conference Center, room 230. This year’s featured keynote speaker will be Rear Admiral Michael D. Weahkee, Acting Director of the Indian Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s senior host will be Stephanie Birdwell, Director, Tribal Government Relations. For more information about this event, contact Ms. Lisea Johnson, VA’s National AI/AN Employment Program Manager, ODI, or Ms. Tynnetta Lee, Special Emphasis Program Manager, ODI. The month of November is an opportunity to learn about the diverse AI/AN cultures and traditions. It is also a time to reflect on the important contributions AI/ANs have made throughout our Nation’s history. Some of these contributions can be found in medicine, literature, language, music, agriculture, and the arts. AI/ANs serve in the United States Armed Forces with great honor and distinction, defending and sacrificing their lives for the security of our Nation. VA commends these courageous servicemen, women, and Veterans, including employees Department-wide, for their continued commitment and dedication in service to our Nation’s Veterans, their families, and survivors. As of August 31, 2017, VA employees who identified as AI/AN represented 1.49 percent of VA’s total permanent workforce. For more information, visit VA’s AI/AN Heritage Month Web page or visit VA’s AI/AN Employment Program Web page.
Message from the DAS (Cont.) Continued from page 1 That inaugural D&I Strategic Plan served as our blueprint for change and ultimately became the model for the Government-wide D&I Strategic Plan. We also stood up VA’s first D&I Council, creating the framework for Federal Government’s first D&I Council that operates today. Other cutting-edge initiatives included implementing standardized EEO, D&I, and conflict management training and performance standards for managers and supervisors; issuing a consolidated EEO, D&I, No FEAR & Whistleblowing Protection Policy; and developing innovative new metrics to measure our progress—the VA Diversity Index and Inclusion Index— that have been recognized government-wide. I am so very proud of what we have accomplished together and I am confident that your accomplishments will continue to keep VA in the vanguard of this critical area. I want to assure you that although I am retiring from Federal service, my passion and work for equity, diversity and inclusion will not end. I plan to continue championing D&I on a more global scale. Our work is clearly not finished. Whenever there is progress, there will always be those who test our resolve. It will take the sustained commitment and the synergy of all our diverse voices to protect the advances we’ve made. As Dr. King presciently stated, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Be those tireless voices; for there is no more important work in public service than protecting the rights and dignity of every human being. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support and friendship over the past nine years.
DEFENSE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE POSTER
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Training BIG VA Headquarters Chapter Presents Equal Opportunity Training: “Know Your Rights” Blacks In Government (BIG) VA Headquarters Chapter invites all VA employees to attend the “Know your Rights” Equal Opportunity Training on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in VA Central Office room 530. This training will provide employees with expert advice on understanding equal opportunity and discrimination rules and policies that may help prevent problems from arising. The presenter for this Lunch & Learn will be Ms. Nicole Maldon, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Office of Resolution Management. This event is sponsored by the BIG VA Headquarters Chapter. Light refreshments will be served. Due to limited space, reservations are required. Please contact Mr. Dwayne Mitchell, President of BIG VA Headquarters Chapter, or Ms. Renaee Allen, Program and Planning Chair, BIG VA Headquarters Chapter. Dial-in information: VANTS 1-800-767- 1750; access code 55734.
FEW VA Monumental Chapter’s Meet and Greet The VA Monumental Chapter of Federally Employed Women (FEW) will host a Meet and Greet on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in VA Central Office room 844 featuring special guest Ms. Maxanne Witkin, Director, VA’s Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication (OEDCA). Ms. Witkin will address current issues that impact women in the workplace, as well as tips for succeeding in the workplace and career progression. Ms. Flo Tyler, Regional Manager, FEW, will address the mission of FEW and the benefits of becoming a member. This session is open to ALL VA Federal employees, as well as members of the VA Monumental Chapter. Dial-in information: VANTS 1-800-767-1750