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A new initiative is set to take center stage at next week’s AFCEA Belvoir Industry Days.
Senior cyber leaders discuss risk management challenges and opportunities at TechNet Augusta 2022. Picture credit: Mike Carpenter

Senior cyber leaders discuss risk management challenges and opportunities at TechNet Augusta 2022. Picture credit: Mike Carpenter

Building communities in which every member is valued and can contribute is a priority at AFCEA International, which recently implemented its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (IDEA) initiative. Having in place programs that better reflect the fabric of our international communities will be among the messages delivered during the inaugural Diversity in the Workforce event taking place November 8 in the Northern Virginia area as part of AFCEA Belvoir’s Industry Days

“The overall focus of IDEA is not an HR initiative; it’s not a top-down directive,” said AFCEA’s Director of Diversity Susan Emert. “This is a bottom-up initiative that AFCEA’s global chapters are taking the lead on.” Emert hopes the November 8 event will serve as an inspiration for more AFCEA chapters to include at their respective events. 

Generally speaking, IDEA’s measure of success will be calculated when such efforts, frankly, no longer are needed, said Emert, who championed the Women in AFCEA effort to great acclaim.  

IDEA’s mission statement reads: 

“AFCEA International’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access initiative will ensure its programs and activities reflect the fabric of our country and establish a sense of belonging for everyone; understand that each member is unique while recognizing and embracing individual differences; provide a culture in which all members can connect, contribute and be themselves; and assist leaders and members across its chapters with realizing and executing our mission.” 

As part of IDEA, AFCEA also stood up the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee, chaired by long-time AFCEA member Alvie Johnson, who serves as an AFCEA regional vice president and is a senior vice president of business development at Data Systems Analysts (DSA). The committee serves as a resource to support chapters and organizations in building inclusive communities. “He was the first person asked to chair, and was very happy to do so,” Emert said.  

AFCEA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, USA (Ret.), initiated an executive advisory council to work with the committee to address critical issues that affect the association’s global community. Led  by Col. Mike Black, USAF (Ret), vice president for defense at AFCEA, the council includes Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA (Ret.), Col. Ken Harrison, USA (Ret.), Gretchen Stewart, Charisse Stokes and Tan Wilson. 


Stay tuned for SIGNAL coverage of the first Diversity in the Workforce event.