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34

JUNE 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

It is one thing to recruit a diverse workforce; it is quite

another to sustain that diversity into the senior ranks

and reap the benefits. Mentoring is one of the keys.

BY J ENN I F ER Z I MDAHL GALT AND THAO ANH TRAN

Thao Anh Tran served in Guangzhou from

2012 to 2014. She is currently in language

training at FSI in preparation for her as-

signment to a rotational political/consular

officer position in Panama starting in late

July. Jennifer Zimdahl Galt is in the final months of her tour as principal

officer in Guangzhou, where she has served since 2012. She was recently

nominated to be the next ambassador to Mongolia. The authors will be

maintaining their mentor-mentee partnership across 12 time zones for

the next tour, as they have been doing sinceThao Anh’s December 2014

departure fromGuangzhou.

The views in this article are entirely those of the authors and do not

represent the views of the Department of State.

D

iversity in all its forms is important at

every rank of the Foreign Service. As

representatives of the United States,

we should reflect our nation’s diversity,

a core American value fromwhich

we draw our strength. Amore diverse

Foreign Service also will contribute to

more effective foreign policymaking.

The different perspectives that

come from embracing diversity can give the United States a kind

of asymmetric advantage—the challenge is to leverage that advan-

tage. We need and deserve an organizational culture that incor-

porates all types of diversity to assure new officers and specialists

that they can aspire to successful careers in the Foreign Service.

It is no secret that the Foreign Service needs more diversity.

According to the 2014 promotion statistics, gender and racial disparity persists in promotions and the gaps widen at the Senior Foreign Service level. From FS-4 to FS-3, promotion rates for

men and women were roughly equal at 42.7 percent for men

vs. 40.4 percent for women, whereas from OC to MC, only 23.9

percent of those promoted were women vs. 30.3 percent men.

The pool of eligible minority candidates for promotion shrinks

significantly at the higher ranks. From FS-1 to OC, of 379 who

competed, only 49 were non-white and 127 were women. From

MC to CM, only 29 non-whites vs. 132 whites and 44 women vs.

117 men competed for promotions.

We believe that a robust mentorship program is vital to

achieving and sustaining greater diversity in the Foreign Service.

The State Department’s advancements in recruiting minorities

and ensuring equity across the diversity spectrum should be

expanded to sustain diversity into the senior ranks. We propose

embedding diversity into the mentoring program, and offer tips

based on our own experience for how mentors and mentees can

establish more fulfilling, diversity-focused partnerships.

Diversity in Diplomacy:

The Mentoring

Dimension

FOCUS

ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION