The beauty of a diverse workforce – and the need for one

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno
  • 45th Space Wing commander
Earlier this month,  Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James helped kick off Women's History Month at the Center for a New American Security "Women and Leadership in National Security" conference in Washington, D.C.

It was there, that she spoke of the importance of a diverse workforce.

"There's simply no country in the world as widely diverse as the U.S.," Secretary James said. "Progress has been made, but we [the Air Force] can do better."

Yes we can, and we are committed to do so here in the 45th Space Wing.

For me, obviously, this is personal on one level, but on a more important level it's an absolute must as a leader interested in the future success of Team Patrick-Cape and the Air Force (The Big A), and we need to get in lock-step with her thoughts.

"Diversity and inclusion help us become more strategically agile," Secretary James said at the conference.

Bingo! That's as good a reason there is to ensure we keep the best of the best, and select those Airmen who are skilled, innovative and able to connect with one another.

Secretary James also recently spoke at the 10th annual Stars and Stripes recognition dinner, an event that recognizes top-performing African-American military and civilian leaders in the armed forces.

She referenced a quote from TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who credited much of her success from stories about history-making African American women she calls "bridges."

At that dinner, Secretary James also said something that goes hand-in-hand with our 2015 Team Patrick-Cape theme ... "The Year of Connection."

"Keep on making those connections, and keep on building those bridges. America needs you," Secretary James said. "And if you are still in school, America needs you to keep working hard. We need Americans in the future who are grounded in science, technology, engineering and math, to continue building those bridges.

Team, I truly believe diversity brings something unique and essential to a high performing team. We all come from varied walks of life:  different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, and personal histories. 

Diversity brings all that together and together we are stronger. Diversity brings new ideas, differences of opinion, another lens with which to view and understand issues, and a broader set of problem solving skills. 

Diversity allows us to tap into the talents from the farthest corners of our great Nation ... to bring the best of the best forward, and to serve our Air Force as one.

Let's connect, build those bridges, and ...

Stay Focused, Sharks