Team McChord holds a Diversity and Inclusion Summit

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylee Tyus
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On March 18, 2024, the 62d Airlift Wing’s Diversity and Inclusion manager Olugbenga Aina held a diversity and inclusion summit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The summit began during a Team McChord wide All Call where Aina and McChord Airmen shared their experiences with diversity and inclusion in the Air Force. Later the summit branched out to the Chapel Support Center where Airmen were afforded the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives on seven different topics.

The summit was open to all of Team McChord and focused on giving Airmen the opportunity to come together to share their ideas about diversity and inclusion, and build networks for developing, refining and promoting advanced inclusion and belonging at McChord. It featured presentations from seven speakers, each possessing diverse subject matter expertise ranging from psychology and resilience to leadership and communication.

“Diversity is a fact of life in this world,” said Aina. “Diversity and inclusion are focused on promoting a sense of belonging for all Airmen by sharing knowledge and perspectives across various dimensions of diversity.”

A panel discussion took place featuring leaders with command experience, as well as a panel comprised of a first sergeant, senior enlisted leader, and a future commander. The panels provided brief introductions and engagement with the audience through an interactive game involving a facilitator tossing a ball covered with diversity and inclusion related questions or topics. Panelists addressed the question or topic indicated by where their thumb landed upon catching the ball. Attendees also had access to DEI-related informational handouts and promotional items.

Diversity and inclusion ensure that all individuals feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique skills and insights to their team. Through the summit Team McChord personnel gained a better understanding of what makes up a diverse workforce, how to build stronger relationships with allies and partners, and how to adapt to the complex and evolving challenges of the future fight.

“As members of one of the most diverse organizations globally, Airmen across all ranks will inevitably interact with peers from varied backgrounds and cultures,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Worthy, the 8th Airlift Squadron senior enlisted leader. “Comprehensive training on key concepts such as recognizing biases and identifying unnecessary barriers within our workforce is invaluable.”

According to Worthy, attendees of this summit can benefit in two primary ways; by gaining insight into leadership's perspective on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, Airmen can establish a unified vision and eliminate any misconceptions surrounding the topic, while also clarifying their approach to encourage diversity and inclusion. Additionally, this training will foster an understanding of how creating an inclusive culture encourages a cohesive work environment.

Coordinating diversity and inclusion events not only prepares the wing to win, but aims to strengthen the wing’s readiness and capabilities in effectively navigating the diverse and dynamic environments it may encounter in the future.