Navy Supply Leaders talk Diversity with Fed-Ex Express, Toyota

Story Number: NNS090729-28Release Date: 7/29/2009 9:23:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Karmisha Superville, NAVSUP Office of Corporate Communications

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy supply leaders met with top FedEx Express and Toyota executives June 9-10 to learn how their diverse workforce contributes to the companies' success.

Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Rear Adm. Mike Lyden and NAVSUP Vice Commander Mr. John Goodhart, along with Supply Corps diversity personnel, visited FedEx Express, Memphis, Tenn., and Toyota, Erlander, Ky.,to compare notes on their diversity efforts.

"This visit has really made me take a close look at NAVSUP and how we incorporate diversity already-through our civilian recruiting efforts, our education opportunities, and more. I'm looking at what our strong points are right now and looking at ways to incorporate the concepts we learned from FedEx Express and Toyota into our Navy environment."

Lyden and Goodhart entered into the experience with goals of finding out how a successful corporate diversity program operates within an organization, how diversity gets communicated, how it is quantified, and how successful diversity initiatives provide benefits to a company's bottom line.

"We looked at some organizational aspects of these companies, about how their diversity program is structured, and we talked about where in their organizational structures their diversity programs reside. At FedEx Express, for example, they have a vice president who is the chief diversity officer," Lyden said. "Diversity plays a role in every aspect of their business. It makes sense for the head of the program to have a seat at the table."

"Learning about how these companies weave diversity into all they do reinforced how much of a critical factor it is to any organization's success," Goodhart said.

Lyden noted the two companies' similarities, including multiyear plans for success, diversity awareness training for all employees at all levels of responsibility; and continuous study of diverse population growth predictions within the United States to ensure their workforces always represent the face of the nation.

"Both companies believe diversity contributes to financial success because employees from diverse backgrounds offer varying perspectives on business, understand different customer bases, contribute new ideas and concepts toward operations, and are aware of cultural ideologies," Lyden noted.

"It was very clear at these companies that the broad and varied life experiences of a diverse workforce create a richness of thought and ideas that translate into superior business solutions," Goodhart noted.

In keeping with the chief of naval operations guidance, Lyden identified diversity as one of the primary initiatives supporting NAVSUP missions. Lyden plans to move ahead with diversity awareness programs within NAVSUP and the Supply Corps, "...geared not toward changing individual mindsets, but to ensure that everyone on the job is treated with respect and that all employees respect each others' differences."

NAVSUP currently houses a diversity program office within its Corporate Operations division, with NAVSUP Echelon III activities following similar structure. In the past year, NAVSUP has worked with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to place students in professional summer intern programs; engaged in recruiting efforts through official programs to place disabled veterans and persons with targeted disabilities into the workforce; and visited numerous diverse colleges and universities to introduce NAVSUP's three-year intern program to potential candidates.

"We share a lot with FedEx Express and Toyota. We are all working toward employing a workforce that employs and empowers people who differ in ethnicity and personal history, yet compliment each others' strongest skills," Lyden said.

Both the Supply Corps and NAVSUP already study population predictions as part of their diversity strategies.

Cmdr. Michael O'Connell, Supply Corps Personnel Office program manager, who also joined in the visit.

"The Supply Corps is a leader as far as incorporating diversity. Our university outreach project works with universities around the United States to educate students about what the Supply Corps contributes toward Navy success and about the variety of opportunities provided through a Supply Corps career. This and many other initiatives provided by the Supply Corps have shaped the image of the Corps and its continued effort to employ diversity into present and future goals," he said.

"I'm proud of what the Supply Corps has accomplished to incorporate diversity into its officer ranks," Lyden said, who also serves as chief of Supply Corps.

"In order to understand our customers we need to have equal representation from all sectors so that we get the broadest range of ideas that we possibly can. Diversity drives creativity, innovation and an appreciation for individualism and one's co-workers. We surely can accomplish greater things because of it," Lyden said.

NAVSUP's primary mission is to provide U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality of life issues for our naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.

For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit

Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service.