Diversity & Inclusion Spotlight: Ohio National Guard Leadership Development Series





DEOMI resources

State Diversity and
Inclusion Advisor (SDIA)

MAJ Shaun Robinson
Phone: 614-336-7245

Equal Employment
Opportunity Advisor

MSG Alex Ribacchi
Phone: 614-336-7497


Panel focuses on value of good leadership
in diverse work environment

Story and photos by Bill Pierce, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Panel participants answer questions during a Women's History Month discussion that focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion in relation to leadership, part of the ongoing Ohio National Guard Leadership Development Series.


Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army, asks a question to panelists.

Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general, thanks China Widener, principal for diversity and inclusion with Deloitte Consulting, for participating in the panel.


Bartman (left), Harris (second from right) and Brig. Gen. Gregory N. Schnulo (right), Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air, thank panel participants who supported “Leading in the Age of Change: Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter.” Each panelist was presented with a wood plaque of appreciation shaped like the state of Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (03/29/16) — Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees at Joint Force Headquarters had the opportunity in March to participate in a panel discussion revolving around the importance of diversity and inclusion, as part of the organization’s leadership development series and in conjunction with African American/Black History Month.

This time, it was in observance of Women’s History Month, focusing on “Leading in the Age of Change: Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter.” Four women in various high-level positions in their respective fields were invited to be part of a panel to discuss the importance of good leadership and how understanding diversity and inclusion is important in helping shape future leaders.
“This is truly a dynamic time in the history of the Ohio National Guard,” said Maj. Shaun Robinson, state diversity and inclusion advisor for the Ohio National Guard and one of the event’s organizers. “This Women’s History Month observance highlights both the important contributions of women in our past, as well as the critical role our women teammates will play in the future. Today, our women service members and women in leadership positions continue to help shape and impact our operational readiness on an everyday basis.”

Each panelist provided insight on what they had to accomplish to get to where they are today. Most importantly, they expressed to audience members that to be a productive leader, you must be willing to not be afraid of change, and to embrace it.

Some leaders may have a hard time accepting why it is important to fully understand diversity and inclusion in today’s workplace.

“It is important for leaders to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion,” said Brig. Gen. Maria Kelly, deputy assistant adjutant general for Army and commander of the Special Troops Command (Provisional). “Diversity is simply the existence of the difference or variety (race, gender, socioeconomic background, educational experience, etc...). Inclusion is what you do with the difference — how you engage the differences to contribute to success.”

The overall theme talked about by each of the panelists was that of leaders understanding diversity and inclusion. Each panel member said they felt that leadership was important, and almost every time one of them answered a question, another would add their thoughts or share an example to better amplify the point on the importance of understanding diversity and inclusion with regard to developing good leadership qualities.


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