SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 200 personnel attended the Navy's 11th meeting of the Fleet Diversity Council April 7 in San Diego.
Hosted by the Navy's Diversity Directorate, the council meets semi-annually to inform the fleet of the value of diversity to the Navy and to inspire and motivate Sailors to become active participants in the Navy's diversity efforts.
Two sessions were held at both Naval Base San Diego and Naval Air Station North Island. Each featured presentations from Capt. Ken Barrett, head of the Diversity Directorate, on the Navy's current diversity efforts. Navy leadership also took part in the sessions, providing feedback on how diversity provided value to them in their commands.
Vice Adm. Thomas Kilcline, commander of Naval Air Forces, shared his perspective on the benefits of a diverse force.
"Our collective strength and success in our Navy, especially within naval aviation, is built on the strengths and capabilities of each member of our team," said Kilcline. "Every one one of our individuals contributes to the overall fight. Channeling these individuals' strengths into the strength of our organization is what diversity is all about. Diversity is not just about gender, or race, or ethnic background. It's the unique capabilities and perspectives that each member of team brings to the fight."
Headlining each session were presentations from Dr. Samuel Betances, a notable diversity trainer and motivational speaker, on the importance of diversity within organizations and how diversity has a strategic value to the Navy.
"Differences are not diversity," said Betances. "Diversity is when you take those differences and you develop the talents of every diverse group so that they are at every level accomplishing mission and making the Navy a global force for good."
Betances also emphasized the importance of mentoring in developing a team of diverse and effective warfighters.
"If you choose diversity, you need competent, mission-driven, diversity-relevant mentoring. If you have to choose between talent and differences, choose talent every time. If you want diversity, you have to put people into the pipeline of talent development who are diverse and you will have both talent and diversity every time. Diversity is not about counting heads, it's about making heads count," said Betances.
In addition to the presentations, all participants were given the opportunity to provide written feedback on the Navy's diversity policy and initiatives. Comments will be forwarded directly to the Chief of Naval Operations and will play a role in the development of future diversity policy.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.