‘Leadership, Equality and Diversity’ seminar offers experiences worth sharing

Panelists at the LEAD seminar are introduced to the audience in the Patch Community Club, Feb. 22.

UPDATE, March 11, 2019: An article and photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick, Defense Media Activity, has been added.

Story and photo by Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Community members from all branches of service and professions came together to bridge communication gaps during the Leadership, Equality and Diversity seminar,  at the Patch Community Club, Patch Barracks, Feb. 22.

U.S. European Command, organizers of the event, described it  as a unique opportunity to say what is–and is not–being said in an open forum. The seminar encouraged plain communication to build joint cohesive leadership through diversity and increase understanding of how to make unique differences a tool for success, not an excuse for failure.

Moderators and panelists included leaders from EUCOM, U.S. Africa Command, Special Operations Command Africa and Europe, Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Africa, Iowa National Guard, and U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.

“The whole point is that you want to learn how to get from point A to point Z in the most efficient manner without wasting excess time and unnecessary man hour,” said panelist Staff Sgt. Aaron Moses, J1- Manpower and Personnel, Special Operations Command Africa. “If you can learn to be more efficient while doing that, then you save everybody’s time, and the way you learn how to do that is by learning how the other branches work.”

Panelist spoke to a variety of subjects in the full-day program which included open discussions on working in a joint atmosphere, mentorship, work-life balance and communication through the generations.

Personnel in Stuttgart have the unique opportunity to work with all different military branches from the U.S. and abroad as well as federal civilians, contractors and NATO partner countries.

“The more diverse a team is, the greater a pull of experiences that we have a leaders,” said panelist Staff Sgt. Millie Gross, Personnel Support Services Noncomissioned Officer, SOCAFRICA. “That’s what we want to do. Let’s look across all the different generations, around mentorship, how we can work individually together, and also as a team.”

Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander, EUCOM, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations thanked all in attendance via video message.

“One of my enduring priorities is to develop resilient service members, Department of Defense civilians and their families. This is largely done by fostering a healthy command climate where people trust and demonstrate respect for one another. This takes time and is a personal investment on your part to understand people’s differences vices and service cultures so
you can better communicate and ultimately inspire them,” Scaparrotti said. “When you inspire people and you touch their soul, they will execute beyond your imagination.”


Leading from the Front

Story and photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick
Defense Media Activity

FLTCM Raymond D. Kemp speaks at the Patch Barracks Community Center during the LEAD Symposium, Feb. 22, . Attendees then shared their perspectives on the nature of equality, diversity and the importance of mentorship during the subsequent panel discussions.

Fleet Master Chief Cris Addington, U.S. European Command senior enlisted leader, hosted a Leadership, Equality and Diversity Symposium, Feb. 22, at the Patch Barracks Community Center to engage members of the community on the topic of diversity.

More than 50 U.S. service members and civilians from throughout the region attended the symposium to discuss the importance of diversity and equality in relation to leadership in any capacity.

“The purpose of this event was to bring our Stuttgart community together and focus on open dialog about Leadership, Diversity, and Equality,” said Addington. “We need to be able to recognize our differences and leverage them to build high performing teams which include everyone and can engage and defeat any adversary.”

Guest speakers in attendance shared their opinions on several topics, including working in a joint atmosphere, communication through the generations, balance between home and work life and mentorship in a joint environment. There were also panel discussions where a diverse group of panel members fielded questions from the audience.

“Being at a joint command, especially at such a young stage in my career, is pivotal for me,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Italya Brianna Rivas. “I have a lot to learn and have learned a lot about working with other branches and different people.”

Speakers began each topic by discussing the overarching theme. Attendees then shared their perspectives on the nature of equality, diversity and the importance of mentorship during the subsequent panel discussions.

Panels were composed of a broad range of people from different walks of life, allowing for multiple perspectives to be heard on each subject throughout the day. Panelists and speakers contributed their own views on each of the subjects.

“I was extremely proud of the people who participated in this LEAD Seminar which included Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, Family members, Retired personnel and our DOD Civilian’s. Building high performing teams is about ensuring inclusion of all members of the team.” Addington said.

The symposium ended with closing remarks from Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, U.S. European Command deputy commander. The members of the LEAD planning committee hope to see the symposium become an annual event.