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
The views in this article are entirely those of the authors and do not
represent the views of the Department of State.
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:
ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION