BOSTON- “Ladies and Gentlemen, the recipient of the Joint State/Territory Excellence in Diversity Award is …” said Maj. Patricia Smith as she addressed the hundreds of National Guardsmen from across the country who had gathered at the Westin Copley Hotel, here, for the 2011 National Guard Diversity Training Conference, March 16.
“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts!”said Smith
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, with fellow members of the both the Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard by his side, accepted the award on behalf of the Massachusetts National Guard.
The award is given to the state/territory that has built and maintained a diversity program as well as makes the greatest strides in promoting diversity within its ranks.
“This is quite an honor and a privilege to win this award,” said Carter.
This is the second time the Massachusetts National Guard has won this award. The state won it last year, making it one of the few states in the nation to win it in back to back years.
Accomplishing such a feat is not easy, it takes teamwork and Carter made sure the Massachusetts team was recognized by their peers.
“This is your award,” said Carter, “this comes with commitment, this comes with … having it in your soul, having passion, being dedicated to the principles of inclusion.”
While Carter was quick to praise his team, his team praised Carter.
“It shows that a lot of policies and practices that Major General Carter has implemented are working,” said State Command Sgt. Mag. David Costa, the Senior Enlisted Advisor. “It’s a testament to the diversity and equal opportunity in the Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard.”
One of the policies and practices that Carter implemented is holding commanders responsible for diversity.
“He teaches it, he mentors us on it and he requires us to read publications on diversity,” said Costa.
According to Thomas Desmond, State Diversity Coordinator, Massachusetts National Guard, the state has made great strides in promoting diversity under Carter’s leadership.
“We created a community outreach program from scratch,” said Desmond. “We have a very effective federal diversity group … we have some very special, positive pro-emphasis programs (Black History Month and a Federal Women’s Awards program are a few examples).”
When he was a colonel, Carter formed the state’s diversity council and helped write the state’s strategic plan. The Massachusetts National Guard shares its strategic plan with other states.
Even though the state has won the award twice, Desmond is already thinking about the future.
“My goal, I told the TAG,” said Desmond, “is for a three-peat”