Diversity in the Spotlight: Turning the camera on ourselves (77)

Brooke Bingaman, National Weather Service, Kansas City, MO

Tanja Fransen, National Weather Service

Jennifer Kitsmiller, National Weather Service



In early 2017, the newly reformed Western Region - Diversity Action Committee (DAC) of the National Weather Service (NWS) used a creative twist to generate organizational excitement about diversity. Instead of relying on outside diversity resources, we literally turned the camera on ourselves. In video format, we highlighted the diversity within our own organization and interviewed NWS employees with different diversity themes each month. These 5 to 10 minute videos are shared across Western Region and made available to other regions to spark diversity conversations in local offices. NWS employees have volunteered to share their perspectives on being Asian-American, LGBT, African-American, understanding generational gaps, disability, military service, ancestry, and other traditions. These videos allow us to discuss potentially tough topics in an open, non-confrontational way with the additional benefit of letting NWS employees learn more about their colleagues from coast to coast. Western Region Director, Dr. Grant Cooper, remarked in his All Hands message that the DAC is much more than just slogans posted on the office bulletin board, but is a dynamic, grassroots program empowered to promote an inclusive workforce and respect for each individual. This talk will review the DAC diversity plan, its benefits, and example video clips to help other offices or organizations strengthen their diversity programs.