CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Electronic Security System Program Manager Cody Baker started at Crane 10 years ago. He worked in security, where his passion for protecting Crane information and systems was born.
“I became sort of obsessed with how we go about security,” said Baker, who also acts as a co-lead for the NSWC Crane Pride Alliance. “I’m not a scientist or engineer, but I had found my own way to support Crane. Everything we do at Crane needs to be protected, and I like knowing I play an active role in supporting the warfighter.”
Baker said he has felt supported throughout his career, gaining friends and mentors along the way. Baker stressed that this support made it possible for him to be where he is today, and that having an open-minded environment is key to supporting the workforce.
“We all talk about ‘Supporting the warfighter.’ But, we also have to support each other to have a better product for our end users,” said Baker. “We’ll only get the most out of our talents when we’re all comfortable, and that’s why I’m passionate about inclusion.”
In 2019, Baker spoke at the annual Strategic Business Communication Meeting (SBCM), an all managers event comprising of 400 to 500 people. Baker said it was the highlight of his career to get the chance to educate others and speak about his experience being openly gay in the workforce as part of an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) panel.
“I’m so glad I got involved with the Pride Alliance group and was able to speak at the SBCM,” said Baker. “At the end of the day, it’s all about education. If all your life you’re told an elephant is purple, then you’re probably going to think an elephant is purple. If you have a stereotype, it’s probably wrong. Getting to speak in front of management allowed me to be that person that colleagues can ask professional questions about the LGBTQ+ community without feeling uncomfortable.”
For Baker, it’s not just hypothetical. He has had multiple experiences where him being openly gay helped others in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’ve had two experiences that almost bring me to tears when I talk about them. One of my colleagues asked me, ‘What are some ways I can show my child that we’ll love them, no matter what?’” said Baker. “Another colleague’s kid reached out to me and said that knowing about my positive friendship with their parents gave them the courage to come out.”
For Baker, these experiences highlight why groups like the Pride Alliance are important.
“We’re going to continue to educate, train, and grow the group,” said Baker. “You don’t have to identify as LGBTQ+ to be in the group; we want allies to join too. I hope that way we spread the lessons we learn on base and bring them into our communities across Indiana. It’s important that we’re on the right side of history.”
About NSWC Crane
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.
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