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Diversity and Inclusion Working Group ensures every Airman is heard, can participate

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- In 1986 Airman Basic Bridget Lanier arrived at Royal Air Force Station Greenham Common, England, as one of only two females in the 501st Tactical Missile Maintenance Squadron Munitions Operations as a munitions supply clerk.

In 2006, she became the first female African-American chief master sergeant in the Equal Opportunity career field.

"Born a sharecropper's daughter in a small town in Georgia, getting indoor plumbing at the age of 10, and being a target of society's cultural insensitivities were humbling life experiences for me," said Lanier, who now works as the Air Mobility Command Human Relations and Workforce Diversity Branch chief here.

Lanier, along with a group of command staff functionals, works on the Air Mobility Command Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, or DIWG, to support leaders in developing and maintaining a culture of dignity and respect that not only allows for each individual's voice to be heard, but encourages and rewards individuals to participate.

The group was created in response to Executive Order 13583, issued by President Obama in 2011, establishing a coordinated government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce.

"Diversity and inclusion are both important," Lanier said. "Diversity focuses on demographic representation in the workforce. Inclusion is achieved when every Airman, military and civilian, feels they are a valued member of the team."

The DIWG reviewed results of the 2013 Unit Climate Assessment Survey to determine whether all Airman have a similar sense of job satisfaction in the workplace.

"While many groups are having a positive experience in the workplace, it is important to understand the perspectives of all groups of people," Lanier said.

Diversity champions were also appointed at every AMC installation and geographically separated wing to help commanders manage diversity and inclusion and outreach initiatives at the grass roots level.

"Regardless of your sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity or social status, you are important and can achieve whatever goal you set your mind and heart to accomplish," Lanier said.

"All Airmen (officer, enlisted and civilians) strive to make a difference, contribute, and be heard,” said Lt. Col. Maureen Robinson, the AMC Diversity action officer. “We treat each other with respect, mentor and care for each other along our careers, and each of us will feel like a valued Air Force team member, or, most importantly, part of the Air Force family."

Lanier said, "DIWG will continue to guide efforts in making AMC the premier command in creating and sustaining a high-performing workforce that embraces diversity and empowers Total Force personnel to achieve their full potential."

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