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DEOMI's new commandant personifies diversity

Navy Capt. Yolanda Y. Reagans became the 14th Commandant of DEOMI and the
fi rst female African American to lead the Institute during a Change of Leadership
and Assumption of Command ceremony here. About 300 people were present at
the ceremony that was highlighted by military customs and traditions dating to
colonial times. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

Navy Capt. Yolanda Y. Reagans became the 14th Commandant of DEOMI and the fi rst female African American to lead the Institute during a Change of Leadership and Assumption of Command ceremony here. About 300 people were present at the ceremony that was highlighted by military customs and traditions dating to colonial times. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

Mr. Ronald M. Joe, DEOMI’s fi rst civilian Principal Director, receives an award from
Mr. Frederick E. Vollrath, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. Mr. Vollrath served as the presiding offi cer during the ceremony. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

Mr. Ronald M. Joe, DEOMI’s fi rst civilian Principal Director, receives an award from Mr. Frederick E. Vollrath, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. Mr. Vollrath served as the presiding offi cer during the ceremony. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) experienced a first-time event in its 40-year history June 8 when Navy Capt. Yolanda Y. Reagans became the 14th Commandant of DEOMI and the first female African American to lead the Institute during a Change of Leadership and Assumption of Command ceremony here. About 300 people were present at the ceremony that was highlighted by military customs
and traditions dating to colonial times.

Capt. Reagans previously served from June 2011 until the ceremony as DEOMI's Vice Commandant. She assumed command from Mr. Ronald M. Joe, DEOMI's first civilian
Principal Director and member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), as he completed his leadership appointment term at the helm of DEOMI.

Mr. Frederick E. Vollrath, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management was the presiding officer during the ceremony. Mr. Vollrath retired from the U.S. Army in the rank of lieutenant general and served as the Army's
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (G-1.)

A native of Union, N.J., Capt. Reagans entered the Navy in 1983 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and receiving her commission. In November 1996, she graduated
from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., earning a Master's Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and also graduated in 1997 from the Armed Forces Staff
College in Norfolk, Va. Prior to arriving at DEOMI, Captain Reagans served from May 2009 to June 2011 as Commander, Navy Recruiting Region WEST, leading half of the Navy's total force recruiting mission.

"Being in command is an awesome responsibility and it's also a very humbling responsibility, and I'm very thankful to be here," Capt. Reagans told the audience. "I've had the wonderful fortune of being here for about 10 months now to learn
a lot and I know that I'm going to get smarter along the way and it's because of each and every one of you. You are magnificent, you are bright, and you have so much vision
and talent and I am looking forward to serving with you," she told the DEOMI staff and faculty.

With a staff of approximately 150 civilian and military personnel, DEOMI now trains nearly 3,000 students per year, including active duty, Guard and Reserve members, and Federal civilian employees. Since its inception in 1971 as the Defense Race Relations Institute, more than 40,000 DEOMI graduates have attended DEOMI resident and non-resident courses delivered by Mobile Training Teams from DEOMI, while enhancing the readiness of the Total Force.

Today, DEOMI's Research and Training directorates provide DOD senior leaders and students with the latest research, consultation, education, and training regarding human
relations topics relevant to today's warfighters such as equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, diversity, cultural competence, and many others.

"Equity and diversity have been keys to the success of our Armed Forces," said Mr. Vollrath. "When people embrace these two concepts, our ability to defend the nation is
strengthened. It brings cohesion to the force, which is critical to success. It's undeniable that without it, you will fail. It has been one of the hallmarks that make our military world class-we care," said Mr. Vollrath.

For more information about DEOMI, visit www.deomi.org.