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JUNE 2015



of the “Best”

Places to Work


he State Department

was the only federal

agency to rank in the top

50 of “best employers” in

a new survey by Statista. com released by Forbes magazine on March 25.

To create this list,


asked more than

20,000 workers from

different fields—large

companies, nonprofit

institutions, govern-

ment agencies—a simple

question: “On a scale of 0-10, how

likely would you be to recommend your

employer to someone else?”

Google took the top spot on this

ranking—no surprise, certainly. The

State Department was the highest-rank-

ing federal agency, coming in 34th. The

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest

Service ranked next highest at #60.

The Partnership for Public Service

publishes its own list each December:

“Best Places to Work in the Federal

Government.” The views of more than

392,700 federal employees are included

in this survey, which ranks more than

389 federal organizations. The State

Department also fared well in this

survey, ranking 3rd among large-sized

agencies for 2014.

The Partnership for Public Service’s

data collection and its analysis of that

data is impressively thorough. The new


list, not so much.



for example, that the State Department

has 9,761 employees—a number that

is clearly inaccurate. The Partnership

for Public Service reports nearly 24,000

State employees.

—Debra Blome, Associate Editor

Eyes on

America’s LGBT



n March 24, the six

current U.S. ambas-

sadors who are openly gay

participated in a panel

discussion at the New-

seum, co-hosted by the

Human Rights Campaign,

the Harvey Milk Founda-

tion and the affinity group


The six are John Berry,

ambassador to Australia;

James “Wally” Brewster,

ambassador to the Domin-

ican Republic; Rufus Gifford, ambassador

to Denmark; Daniel Baer, ambassador to

the Organization for Security and Coop-

eration in Europe; James Costos, ambassa-

dor to Spain and Andorra; and Ted Osius,

a Foreign Service officer and ambassador

to Vietnam.

Also attending were GLIFAA President

SelimAriturk and newly appointed Spe-

cial Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT

Persons, Randy Berry, both FSOs.

Ambassador Osius, the only career dip-

lomat among the ambassadors, discussed

how far the State Department has come

since he helped found GLIFAA in 1992. At

that time, employees ran the risk of losing

their security clearance, and ultimately

their jobs, if they were discovered to be


“Just a few decades ago, if you worked

in the Foreign Service, being gay was your

most closely guarded secret,” HRC Presi-

dent Chad Griffin commented. “Today

there is no clearer sign of our progress

than the fact that there is not one, not two,

but six openly gay ambassadors serving

this country overseas.”

Amb. John Berry argued that being out

and visible is extremely important, and


The six current U.S. ambassadors who are openly gay, at the Newseum panel

discussion on March 24 in Washington, D.C. From left, John Berry, James

“Wally” Brewster, Rufus Gifford, Daniel Baer, James Costos and Ted Osius.


making sure people in other countries

meet and interact with openly gay officials

can help move equality issues forward.

Amb. Gifford agreed: “Every personal

story matters…to be able to talk about who

we are, and give a slightly more nuanced

version of what it means to be American.”

Amb. Brewster addressed some of the

challenges he faced in moving to the very

socially conservative Dominican Repub-

lic: “You don’t address the people who

make the bad comments. All you do is talk

about love. …When you talk about that,

the goodness of the people comes out.

And it became a social conversation that

was needed in the Caribbean.”

Though the department has come a

long way, there have never been ambas-

sadors who “represent the ‘L,’ the ‘B’ and

the ‘T’ in LGBT. At last year’s GLIFAA

Pride event, Secretary of State John Kerry

reaffirmed, “I’mworking hard to ensure

that by the end of my tenure, we will have

lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ambas-

sadors in our ranks, as well.”

Amb. Baer perhaps summed it up best:

“There is an arc that bends toward justice,

but it takes a lot of work to bend it.”

—Shannon Mizzi, Editorial Intern