Stephen Brown, Far East District Equal Employment Opportunity Manager is a former Morse code operator for the US Air Force who discovered his love for taking care of others while serving as a first sergeant.
“It didn’t take me long to figure out that advocating for people was my specialty. It was something that came naturally to me,” says Mr. Brown. “My first job after the Air Force was as a human resources specialist for Guam Army ROTC. From there, I moved on to my first job as an equal opportunity manager.”
That was 18 years ago, and Mr. Brown has never looked back. Now, as the Far East District’s foremost authority on workplace diversity and inclusion, he attends all senior leadership meetings with a very involved team who values his advice and empowers his approach to equal opportunity.
“This office is dedicated to retaining and developing the people we have but we are also excited about the opportunity to recruit new talent straight from college via Advancing Minorities in Engineering (AMIE) and the Workforce Recruitment Program. We’d like to see more women here in the STEM field along with additional diversity,” says Mr. Brown.
“This is my second time with the Corps and one of the reasons I was happy to return to the organization is because I get to work with a team of professionals. In most other assignments you don’t get the opportunity to be proactive and you sometimes find yourself reacting to complaint after complaint. Here, I get to get out, talk to people, and speak to our managers. This approach allows me to address an employee concern before it rises to the level of complaint.”
Mr. Brown’s proactive approach to equal employment also includes diversity listening sessions with mid-level managers that help District leaders move beyond the discomfort that oftentimes accompanies speaking about race and inclusion in the workplace.
Additionally, he holds lunch and learn sessions that address issues of equality in the workplace. One of this EEO manger’s most recent lunch and learn sessions addressed reasonable accommodations as the Corps reaffirmed its commitment to recruiting, retaining, and advancing disabled individuals throughout the workforce.
He leads the vanguard as an advocate and intricate part of District’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Empowered by FED Commander Christopher Crary, Stephen Brown is able to maintain his proactive approach to EEO via his efforts to continually enhance the District’s cultural awareness, identity trends, and best practices. He has helped the organization push past the surface level conversations to address and eliminate cultural stereotypes and simultaneously reinforce what it means to employ equal opportunity management in the workplace.
Mr. Brown explains the joy of working for the FED modestly, “I enjoy being a neutral third party and advocating for others.”