The Citizen Airmen of the 926th Wing participated in a Diversity and Inclusion driven weekend during the Mandatory Unit Training Assembly, Oct. 2-4, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
G. Lee Floyd, Air Force Reserve Command’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, conducted training with commanders from the 926th WG, met with the 926th WG D&I Council, as well as invoked thought and conversation with members during four presentations at Nellis and Creech Air Force Base, Nev.
“Diversity and Inclusion is so important to accomplishing the mission and there is no better person to deliver that message than Mr. Floyd,” said Col. Sean Carpenter, 926th WG commander. “We were incredibly lucky as a wing to be able to receive Mr. Floyd’s impactful message, and the 926th WG leadership team remains resolute in our efforts to make sure D&I is inculcated into our culture.”
Floyd said his goal is to ensure the D&I message from Air Force Reserve Commander, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, reaches the masses and becomes ingrained in the fiber of the mission, ensuring everyone feels valued and a part of the team.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Floyd. “We’ve been lazy in executing our responsibilities in the area of human relations, establishing solid relationships and having these crucial conversations, that laziness has to stop and we have to be more proactive in those areas.”
One crucial conversation Floyd focused on during the seminar was diversity of thought versus diversity based on race and gender.
“I want you to value the opinions that I bring to the war fight, value my knowledge and my understanding of concepts and ideas,” said Floyd. “Don’t disqualify me based on my skin color, or my sex or religious affiliations, qualify me based on the knowledge, the talents and the capabilities I bring to the fight.”
During the group seminars, Floyd spurred thought provoking conversations on diversity with questions and analogies that required group interaction and relationship building.
Jim Frevola, 926th WG civic leader and Vegas Golden Knights senior vice president and chief sales officer, who was in attendance, said one of his biggest takeaways from the forum was how engaged members were during the training.
“It’s hard to get people to raise their hand and talk, especially about a subject people are uncomfortable talking about,” said Frevola. “I was really impressed and thought the conversations showed a lot about the caring of the people in the room today, they wanted to be there and it was important to them.”
Floyd said the conversations during the D&I sessions were an invaluable step towards provoking change of thought.
“Every opinion is welcome to the floor,” he said. “By putting those differing perspectives and opinions together, members can hopefully come to a sweet spot in the road, they can coexist.”
However, Floyd emphasized that training is worthless if you do not have leaders that care.
“If you have leaders empowering their members from the top, then everything else will fall into place,” he said.
Floyd said he believes the empowerment from wing leadership is evident from the conversations he witnessed during his time here.
“This new batch, these millennials, these new folks that are coming through, they’re flourishing, and they’re adding so much value to the organization,” he said. “We just got to have the courage to listen to them and afford them a voice at the table.”