In 2010, the Diversity Change Agent program was launched as a concrete way to make respect for diversity a fundamental aspect of the culture of the agencies within the Department of the Interior. It is a program that has grown out of Secretary Ken Salazar’s landmark Inclusive Workplace Statement, which recognized improving and enhancing workplace diversity as an essential mission of the Department of the Interior.
In the National Park Service Diversity Change Agent program, agency employees serve as catalysts, actively working to change the agency at all levels. The diversity change agents in the Northeast Regional Office are Melissa Sims, Keilah Spann, Eileen White and Rochelle Williams. They are committed to working together to build a new culture and are respectful of and cognizant of the richness of the background of their co-workers.
Diversity change agent Keilah Spann explains that “our goal is to build an inclusive, motivated workforce that will help to build diversity within the agency.”
One part of being a diversity change agent is the importance of taking initiative in order to build a better agency. To this end, the Diversity Change Agents will be hosting their first program, Sawa Bono (I See You), on October 16th. This presentation, which takes its name from an African greeting that emphasizes acknowledging individuals before addressing them, will highlight the cultural diversity of the Northeast Region, giving employees the opportunity to share their own cultural background and learn about the backgrounds of others.
“Taking into account diverse backgrounds, opinions and sensibilities can strengthen an organization on all levels,” says Melissa Sims, training officer and diversity change agent.