Symposium offers insights on diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Soldiers, civilians and local national employees at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden participated in a livestreamed interactive symposium focusing on diversity and inclusion in the workplace March 3, 2021.

The “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace” symposium, hosted by the University of Maryland Global Campus Europe Diversity Council, featured six sessions lead by UMGC professors. Each session included opportunities for participation and concluded with a question and answer period.

Dr. Timothy Quezada, director of academic affairs for University of Maryland Global Campus in Europe, describes how emotional intelligence is a professional competency during his presentation, “Emotional Intelligence: The EI behind D/I”, at the U.S. Army Garrison’s “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace” symposium March 3.

Angela Hise, management support specialist and a member of the workforce inclusion working group, opened the session, explaining that the topics were carefully selected by UMGC’s diversity executive, Dr. Patricia Jameson, and the workgroup to reflect the needs and interests of the garrison’s workforce.

The sessions, Cultivating empathy through literature; Diversity and high performance; Open panel discussion on diversity in the workplace; Interactive activities for cross-cultural learning and self-awareness; Inclusive leadership and behaviors; and Emotional intelligence and diversity and inclusion, were recorded and may be available for those who missed the livestreamed event.

Dr. Patricia Jameson, University of Maryland Global Campus diversity executive, explains the complexities of communication during her presentation, “Embracing Diversity”, at the U.S. Army Garrison’s “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace” symposium March 3.

Hise said, “We had people from all across our workforce: DA civilians, contractors, military and local nationals.” Participants also took place from other installations, including EUCOM in Stuttgart.

Sheri Buono, education services specialist and action officer for the working group, said, “I hope participants were able to walk away with some self-awareness of how they are communicating and interacting with others as a leader or subordinate.”

While all of the sessions touched on self-awareness as a component of true workplace inclusion, the final session on emotional intelligence focused more exclusively on the topic.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Curtin, superintendent of public affairs at EUCOM in Stuttgart, felt the concept of self-awareness was one of his biggest take-aways from the day. “In my opinion, self-awareness is the pillar of emotional intelligence,” he said. “And the more we understand about ourselves, the more we can understand others.”

Curtin attended four of the six sessions. “Events like this take a lot of effort and coordination to put together because of COVID-19,” he said. “I appreciate that this happened and they made it work over a virtual setting.”

Col. Mario Washington, garrison commander, said, “The symposium was an outstanding event synchronizing efforts across eight different agencies to get after the important issues of diversity and inclusion in our workforce. These were exceptional classes: very relevant; very thoughtful.”

“We have a big push here about dignity and respect being the foundation to our success and I believe these classes lent themselves to that,” Washington added. “It was conducive to how we do business at our garrison.”

Scott Mowry, deputy to the commander, said, “The symposium far exceeded our expectations thanks to the efforts of our Project Inclusion working group and the University of Maryland team of professors. Exceptional discussions in this forum shaping how we foster diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workforce.”