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Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle A. Crockett, National Program Manager EEO and Diversity, NOAA National Ocean Service

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle A. Crockett, National Program Manager EEO and Diversity, NOAA National Ocean Service

As National Program Manager for Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service (NOS) I serve as the principal advisor to the Assistant Administrator, Deputy Assistant Administrator and other senior management in fostering the principles and practices of NOS’ Diversity Program, and its Equal Employment Office (EEO) Program, and to assure compliance with affirmative action laws and regulations.  I formulate, develop, recommend, and implement policy, procedures and programs in collaboration with NOS Program and Staff office representatives.  I am responsible for planning, developing, and implementing NOS EEO program and diversity activities, which includes; coordinating all phases of policy analysis, planning, implementation and communications to support NOS EEO and diversity management initiatives. The most important function of my position is I have the opportunity to work with both managers and employees to seek resolution for conflict occurring in the workplace. 

My life has been shaped from experiences I had growing up in the small southern town of LaGrange, GA.  My parents instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic and education, cultivated in a faith centered home. My parents experienced discrimination and they were always aware of its existence, but they would never allow me to use it as an excuse for not working hard to achieve success. My father’s favorite quote was, “hard work is its own reward” and I have to agree that these words have served as the catalysis for my success.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration for Georgia Southwestern University and my Certification in Equal Employment Opportunities Studies from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. 

I began my federal career within the Department of Defense, Defense Commissary Agency as an Accounting Specialist, but my true passion for equal rights and opportunities lead me to my position here at NOS.  It may sound like a cliché but I truly love my job.  No two days are the same and every day I have the ability to foster and generate a greater awareness for organizational diversity.  People are diverse in many ways.  We all have a number of differences that offer substantial opportunities and possibilities to make organizations successful and our world a better place.  When we accept our differences and learn to work with them, we enrich our lives and improve the creativity and productivity of the organization.  Hence, when we are able to fully embrace and implement an effective diversity strategy whereby everyone feels validated the need for enforcement policies are diminished. 

Beyond fostering diversity my job also allows me to support employee affinity groups and non-profit professional organizations that seek to eliminate barriers for members of underrepresented groups in the federal workplace. One such group is Federally Employed Women (FEW).  FEW is a 46-year old grassroots organization with a mission to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for inclusion and equity in the workplace, and to advance the professional growth of women in federal service. 

In 2012, I was elected as FEW’s 22nd National President and I was re-elected on May 2014 to serve a second term.  My work for FEW fuels my passion to advocate for women’s rights to ensure we have equal access to training and career opportunities, awards and promotions, and enhance the percentage of women in senior level positions. 

As we celebrate Black History Month, I am reminded that Black History Month is so much more than just commemorating the lives of blacks who did something amazing, extraordinary, and revolutionary.  It is also about recognizing the significance of a race coming together to fight for the rights that they knew they so richly deserved.  Black History Month gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and recognize those people who have made a difference and who continue to make a difference today.  

The advice that I would offer to young African American seeking to enter into the federal sector is to not limit yourself, fully explore and take advantage of the endless opportunities.  Hard work is its own reward and the benefits derived from serving your country are priceless.

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