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The theme for the inaugural CNAF DEI Summit is “empowering future naval leaders with a diversity, equity and inclusion mindset.” Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces, avidly supports the event in effort to educate aviators across all paygrades, bring awareness of the challenges that minority aviators’ experience, and provide leaders insights to support CNAF’s goals of improving accession, retention and promotion across our diverse force. In his recent message to aviation leaders announcing the summit, Whitesell, commonly referred to as the ‘Air Boss’ stated, “It takes leaders of character, courage, and competence at every level to ensure our people, equipment, and processes are ready for any fight, but especially the high-end fight. This gathering provides a unique opportunity for leadership to have an engaged conversation about empowering future naval leaders with a diversity, equity and inclusion mindset.”
“The challenges of our nation highlighted in 2020 has encouraged Naval Aviation leadership to really take a look at how we can expand the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the Naval Aviation Enterprise from the deck-plates up to leadership,” said Cmdr. Christopher Williams, CNAF DEI Director. “We have put focused resources towards intentional accession, inclusion and retention of all minorities in Naval Aviation.”
CNAF’s strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion establishes the following priorities:
Priority #1: Advance and sustain warfighting effectiveness through accession, development, and retention of the most talented and diverse pools.
Priority #2: Cultural progress of inclusion and diversity.
Priority #3: Platform tangible benefits of inclusion and diversity in warfighting.
“We have many exciting new programs in development at CNAF DEI right now, including Naval Aviation’s first Flight Academy for NJROTC cadets, changes to Navy policies that impact pregnant aviators and family building support, in-depth leadership training on DEI, and increased nation-wide participation in Navy promotional days and outreach programs,” said Renee May, Deputy Director of CNAF DEI. “Our biggest project at the moment is design of the first-ever Naval Aviation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit.”
The CNAF DEI Summit will host approximately 300 active-duty aviators and the agenda will include keynote speakers, a flag panel, a town hall meeting with the Air Boss, and workshops focusing on addressing specific barriers faced by minority aviators. It will provide leadership development opportunities through educational seminars, and provide a forum to discuss:
· How to successfully incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into an organization.
· How to identify and solve complex aviator-specific DEI problems.
· How to address unconscious bias.
· How to have meaningful conversations about racial, ethnic and gender differences.
· The value of mentorship to minority aviators throughout their careers.
For more information and registration for the CNAF DEI Summit visit the CNAF DEI website: https://www.airpac.navy.mil/Organization/Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion/
Or contact CNAF Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (N01D) Department at CNAF_DIVERSITY@navy.mil.
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