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NEWS | April 24, 2024

Command University employee recognized for her contributions to Equal Employment Opportunity

By Ben Hutto, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Motisola McKinnon, workforce development branch head, Code 1182, Command University, was recently named a recipient of the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Equal Employment Opportunity Recognition Program, Fiscal Year 2023 award cycle.

McKinnon was recognized for her efforts in promoting equal opportunity and for starting and supporting the shipyard's Black, Indigenous & People of Color Employee Resource Group.

“I was shocked when I found out,” McKinnon said. “To be recognized by EEO professionals was an honor, but honestly, I felt like sharing [the award] with others. I did not want to take all the credit. It was a group effort.”

Regardless of who received the award, McKinnon is proud of the group’s formation.

McKinnon, who was involved in a previous ERG that folded due to a lack of participation, was focused this time on starting a group that was more inclusive and inviting.

“I understand there are some stigmas attached to ERGs,” she said. “It can make it hard to get people to participate, but I wanted to create a place where different viewpoints can be shared and people can learn from one another.”

Lynn Grellner, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Manager, was awarded the same honor last year. She knows full well what it takes to be an ERG leader.

“Moe knows first-hand how challenging it can be to lead an ERG,” Grellner said. “She stepped up and shared her experiences and knowledge so the new leads of BIPOC didn’t have to start from scratch. Her mentorship has been invaluable!”

McKinnon, a Fayetteville, N.C. native, explained she was raised to respect people; even those who did not look like her or share her views. And she understands why people might feel uncomfortable about attending meetings.

“I find when people pushback on things it's usually from a lack of understanding,” McKinnon said. “The goal of BIPOC is to help people understand why groups like this exist.”

McKinnon said that celebrating and recognizing different cultures helps to broaden our appreciation of one another, breaks down the barriers that separate us and helps us to work with with each other more effectively.

McKinnon has worked at the PSNS & IMF for 12 years, and has seen a great many changes since she first started working here as an administrative assistant.

“This type of work isn’t easy,” she said. “Honestly, it can feel like thankless work at times. It’s a lot of work outside of your normal duties, but the reward of seeing people come together and find a common goal makes it worth it. For me, that is the goal. Getting everyone on the same team to tackle our fight together.”