Indian Head, Maryland –
Shari Thomas, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD)’s diversity and inclusion program manager, was presented with a Department of the Navy (DON) Civilian Service Achievement Medal (CSAM) at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Executive Director Ms. Giao Phan on June 16.
The CSAM is the fifth highest honorary award in the DON. It is awarded to DON civilians who, while serving in a capacity within the Navy or Marine Corps, are recognized for sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature at the equivalent level of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal awarded to military personnel.
Thomas received the award recognizing her service as an inaugural member of the NAVSEA Enterprise Inclusion and Engagement Council (EIEC) from October 2018 to October 2020. Although the awards were signed by NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. William Galinis in October 2020, the award presentation was delayed and held virtually due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
The award citation noted that over a two-year span, Thomas and her EIEC teammates made significant strides in advancing NAVSEA’s commitment to building and sustaining an engaged and inclusive workforce. The EIEC’s work influenced NAVSEA policies and processes through efforts such as an internal promotion and hiring process policy and an interview candidate survey. These efforts reinforced NAVSEA’s commitment to strengthening the workforce through merit-based hiring decisions and providing vital post-interview feedback to candidates to help them meet their respective career goals. The council developed the framework for the NAVSEA Inclusive Workforce Competencies that provide opportunities to eliminate barriers, encourage innovation, foster innovation and empower the workforce. The council also established online resources for the NAVSEA enterprise to promote its initiatives.
Phan noted from the citation that the passion and exceptional work ethic Thomas demonstrated has created a strong foundation that subsequent councils can build on to continue to foster a more inclusive and engaged workforce.
As a two-year member of the inaugural NAVSEA Inclusion and Engagement Council, Thomas led the inclusion sub-group team focused on “Building Blocks to Inclusion,” successfully moderated a three day biannual council meeting, and served as the quarterly chairperson for the inclusion sub-group where she held weekly teleconference meetings. Thomas was also the council lead in proposing and implementing initiatives to leadership to combat systemic racism on an enterprise-wide level, and participated in planning the “Many Voices – One NAVSEA” Town Hall video and was featured in one of the video clips. Thomas also facilitated six monthly council briefs to Galinis, Phan, 53 Senior Executive Service personnel, the NAVSEA EEO, D&I Director and 26 council members.
“I courageously served at the council table to act and speak for those who had no voice, nor a seat at the table,” Thomas explained.
As the command’s diversity and inclusion program manager, Thomas develops diversity, equity and inclusion strategies; leads and executes the PE.3.3. People Strategic initiatives; and executes the command-approved Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Matrix Model Pilot program.
Thomas was presented with the award in person by NSWC IHD Commanding Officer Capt. Eric Correll July 15, onboard the command.