JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Since standing up in the fall of 2020, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Diversity and Inclusion Council has taken several steps to help the center build an inclusive workplace that ensures a fair and just environment regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
“This is important to all of us,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox, AFIMSC commander, during a recent council meeting. “Opportunity is important and being a team is definitely important. That’s how we succeed.”
Establishing and building a center-wide awareness about the value of creating an inclusive and equitable working environment and delivering training opportunities for the workforce are among the council’s important accomplishments to date, said Dr. Andrew Duffield, AFIMSC chief diversity and inclusion officer.
In addition to facilitating sensing sessions, unconscious bias training and sharing Air Force Materiel Command training opportunities, an AFMC Training and Development team is developing ethical drift and psychological safety training opportunities.
“We’re focused on bringing relevant resources to help employees build a connection and a sense of belonging. This includes targeted efforts to mitigate micro-aggressions, discriminatory behavior, bullying and harassment that affects the relationships between supervisors and their employees,” Duffield said.
The council also developed a SharePoint page to provide diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility resources for professional and personal growth and partnered with other AFIMSC councils and groups to integrate diversity and inclusion initiatives into their work.
“We’ll continue refining our efforts and developing greater coordination and collaboration across the center to ensure long-term commitment to an inclusive and equitable institutional culture of respect,” he said.
The council is made up of members from all levels of AFIMSC, including each primary subordinate unit and detachment. They are focused on executing the AFIMSC Diversity and Inclusion Command Action Plan that Wilcox released to establish goals and objectives for creating and sustaining a healthy command climate to promote inclusive and equitable working environments for all AFIMSC Airmen.
Current initiatives include increasing sensing session awareness and participation, developing a culture that eliminates behavior that does not align with Air Force core values and respect for all, and helping the center stay in touch with the organizational pulse and identify areas in need of attention.
Keeping the conversation open with sensing sessions, mentorship and development programs, hiring panel feedback, and other opportunities for dialogue is important to the council’s success.
“AFIMSC Airmen provide a variety of perspectives, capabilities and talents that are essential to helping the center grow stronger and more effective,” he said.
Further demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the center added a goal focused on building an inclusive and equitable culture to the 2022 AFIMSC Strategic Plan.
“Our leadership has taken an intentional effort to strengthen the organization’s values around respect and dignity for all teammates. I’m proud to be part of a team fully committed to building a workplace where every Airman is accepted,” Duffield said.
The group’s impact extends beyond the workplace, said Lt. Col. Keith James, military personnel programs division deputy chief.
“Diversity and inclusion is very important in everything we do, whether it is business or personal,” he said. “For our most important commodity – which is people – we need to create a place where everyone feels comfortable. Because when you bring people together, what can we do? We can achieve more.”