“If you elect a bunch of folks who all come from the same backgrounds, who have the same income, who have similar job descriptions,” Delegate Roem said, “and they are of the same demographic that wrote the rules of the road in the first place…the system was designed with one demographic group in mind.” She added that this cycle lends itself to leaving out the perspectives and needs of other historically marginalized demographics, like women, people of color and the LGBTQ community.
“Imagine if it was just one demographic running the conversation,” Delegate Roem said. “Imagine if it was just one demographic group, who didn’t have lived experience in terms of being able to deal with discrimination in the first place, and what it actually means to be targeted. What it actually means to have to live through that. You are missing a worldview. You are missing a perspective that is directly relevant.”
Following along the theme of fostering diversity, attendees participated in two workshop sessions. Session I: Building Consensus for Building Connections with Monica Murphy and Derry Deringer, fostered an interactive group discussion on how leaders can create a more inclusive work environment and community for workers who identify as a member of the LGBTQ community. The session resulted in customized tools and techniques created by the group for application outside of the forum.
Session II, Using Stories and Data to Convince Leaders to Act with Alicia Crain and Melvin Thomas, focused on developing the skills necessary to effectively combine storytelling and data to formulate arguments that resonate with senior leaders, prompting sound action on LGBTQ-related issues.
Finally, Key MPA Alum, Jack Jetmund returned to his old stomping grounds to deliver closing remarks along with Shawn Skelly, Co-Founder of Out in National Security. While Jetmund encouraged everyone to make something where they are regardless of their circumstances, Skelly shared a message filled with inspiration and empowerment.
Skelly recounted the fear she experienced being an out transperson working in the Pentagon, and surprisingly, that part of her identity never came under question in her first years working there.
“I was never going to quit doing my job because no one would ever be able to say that an out trans person couldn’t do any job in that building,” Skelly said.
Similar to Delegate Roem’s remarks, Skelly touched on the importance of various perspectives in the decision-making process, emphasizing that as leaders “one of the most important things we can do is ensure that the people that serve America look like America to the maximum extent possible. It’s imperative.”
Key is planning to host the forum annually with the next date in the summer of 2020 to be determined. See the session descriptions and keynote speaker bios below.
Opening Remarks with Delegate Danica Roem, Virginia Delegate, District 13
Danica Roem is an American journalist and politician of the Democratic Party.
During the 2017 Virginia elections, she was elected to the Virginia House of
Delegates, winning the Democratic primary for the 13th district on June 13, and the general election on November 7. She is the first openly transgender person to be elected and to serve in the Virginia General Assembly or any U.S. state legislature. In December 2017, The Advocate named her as a finalist for its “Person of the Year.”
Her journalism career has given her a wide knowledge of policy issues. As a seven-time Virginia Press Association award winner, she’s led the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times as lead reporter for nine years. She is a consensus builder and change maker with key focus on issues relating to education, transportation, transparency and accountability, and equity, equality, and inclusion.
Roem received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. She was a vocalist in the melodic death metal band Cab Ride Home. She first got interested in metal music in high school, and viewed metal music as her rebellion. In her free time, Roem practices yoga and spends time with her boyfriend and his 9-year-old daughter.
Building Consensus for Building Connections: An Experiential Workshop with Monica Murphy and Derry Deringer
Forging community – of friends, chosen family and allies – outside the cultural mainstream has been a necessary survival skill for LGBTQ people throughout history. Ironically, the tremendous shifts in social acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, couples and families has quieted the urgency to establish and maintain connections within and across sexual orientation and gender identity. While enjoying the benefits of changed attitudes in so many arenas, we may also be experiencing a loss of community, of “being in it together.” We may even feel concerned about emerging complacency regarding the social status of LGBTQ identities. Mark Nepo shares that “The need to reanimate a true sense of community is more important than ever,” in his recent book More Together than Alone. In this participatory workshop, we will collaboratively explore and identify pathways for creating stronger connections – for reanimating community – as LGBTQ leaders across Agencies, Divisions and Departments. While focused on answering this question, we will also demonstrate a proven facilitation tool for building group consensus.
Using Stories & Data to Convince Leaders to Act with Alicia Crain & Melvin Thomas
Session Description: Have you struggled to get leaders in your organization to take action on LGBTQ-related workplace issues? How do you tackle their reluctance based on apathy, fear of rocking the boat, or being unsure about how to engage with this community? How do you provide training to senior leaders who may not feel they need to learn anything new?
This session will share tactics and resources to effectively make your case to leaders. You will learn how to use Marshall Ganz’s structure of Public Narrative storytelling to create buy in and consensus, combine legal protections, data and stories to make memorable and persuasive arguments, and center best practices for intersectional and intercultural adult education.
Closing Remarks with Jack Jetmund, Senior Manager, Business Management Group, Federal Aviation Administration & Key MPA Alum
Jack Jetmund is a proud graduate of the small liberal arts institution called Simpson College located just south of Des Moines where he earned his undergrad in Education. His background ranges from teaching at the secondary level, translating in many countries throughout Europe, spending 20 years in military service to our country and consulting with one of the most respected firms in America upon retirement.
He joined the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2008 at the same time that he
applied to the Key program and planned his own wedding simultaneously before graduation. He finished the Key Program in 2010. He moved to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011 where he is the Business Manager for Air Traffic Control Facilities and Engineering Services. Jack and his husband reside in the District - just nine blocks north of the White House in the historic Logan Circle.
Closing Remarks with Shawn Skelly, Former Director, Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of Transportation & Co-Founder, Out in National Security
Shawn Skelly served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a Naval Flight Officer, retiring with the rank of Commander. She joined the Obama Administration in 2013, as the first transgender veteran to be appointed by a President of the United States. She first served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the U.S. Department of Defense and ultimately as Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Appointed in 2017 by President Obama, Shawn currently serves as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service; which was created by Congress to listen to the public and learn from those who serve to recommend ideas to foster a greater ethos of military, national, and public service in order to strengthen American democracy. Shawn was recognized as one of a group of transgender veterans in the 2017 OUT 100 and is a co-founder of the newly established advocacy organization Out in National Security.