Lynn Grellner, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility program manager at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, is known around the command for her dedication to diversity in the workplace. Her impact on the visibility and success of PSNS & IMF’s Employee Resource Groups is especially well-known. What is less known is how she shares that passion with the community.
Back in March, Grellner had the opportunity to speak with a group of Boy Scouts ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old. It was a unique position for her to demonstrate the concept of diversity in everyday life.
In her professional role, Grellner often has to speak on DEI&A on a large scale in relation to policy and mission capabilities. But, with a group of Boy Scouts, the ideas were much simpler. Some of them didn’t like the same food. Some preferred different music. Led by Grellner, they discussed their differences—and they began to realize that different ideas and opinions weren’t a bad thing.
As the conversation evolved, she helped this group of young men understand how most problems have more than one solution. They saw how different viewpoints could help others find more effective ways to answer questions. By the end of their meeting, Grellner said she felt they had a better grasp of diversity and how different viewpoints contribute to a larger whole.
That message is what she is passionate about. Because of that passion, Lynn was recognized on March 30, 2023 by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Equal Employment Opportunity Recognition Program for her contributions to Equal Employment Opportunity at PSNS & IMF.
The award recognizes superior contributions to EEO, which is in place to ensure all individuals are provided full and fair opportunity for employment, career advancement and access to programs.
EEO provides the framework to help all workers, but Grellner thinks it is very misunderstood.
“While many consider it to be only reactive to problems, at its core it is proactive and provides guidance to building an inclusive workplace,” she said. “Diversity and inclusion are force multipliers.”
For Grellner, who started at PSNS & IMF more than 12 years ago, the award was an honor that she believes the Employee Resource Groups and the whole DEI&A team earned as well.
“All of our ERG volunteers—from the ones leading meetings to the ones working on our deckplates every day—are the ones making the shipyard a better place,” she said. “Diversity is a driving force to how we are meeting mission.”
Grellner recently took over as the command’s DEI&A director in November, but she had been working in the role on an interim basis for months, while also training another ERG coordinator. During her time in both positions, she helped connect EEO officials to DEI&A efforts, coordinated the installation of 13 gender neutral bathrooms, helped coordinate and connect ERGs with overlapping goals with one another, and completed the command’s portion of the Management Directive-715 report, which provides status of the command’s EEO program, early.
“There isn’t one thing I’m more proud of than the others,” she said. “It’s a lot of little things that are adding up to create a better more inclusive place to work. It ebbs and flows. Progress, at times, has felt slow, but then we are improving.”
Grellner said her main focus every day is to ensure everyone at PSNS & IMF has a voice and a pathway for professional growth.
“I am most proud of the connections I’ve made with employees and the small part I’ve gotten to have in getting their voices heard at the right levels to make changes and improve the culture,” she said.