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Voices of GovCIO

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Celebrating Diversity Month Alongside GovCIO Trailblazers

April is Diversity Month and GovCIO is shining the spotlight on several outstanding team members who are making waves and championing diversity of thought, both within our (virtual) office walls and beyond!

Join us in honoring and celebrating these trailblazers as they continue to advocate for DEI&A not just during Diversity Month, but every day of the year.

Kathleen Yoshida

“Kathleen encourages all members to share their thoughts and perspectives to improve the team atmosphere. She offers team members the ability to openly discuss their thoughts and voice concerns and takes rapid action to address concerns that are raised. Kathleen creates a team dynamic where all members of the team can feel respected and listened to.”

– Haley Hartzell, GovCIO Senior Proposal Manager

Kathleen Yoshida, Senior Vice President

Appreciating and encouraging diversity of thought means fostering an environment where everyone feels empowered to share their ideas, regardless of their title, background, or familiarity with a subject. Growing up in companies that embraced a “best idea wins” culture, Kathleen was fortunate to experience firsthand the value of feeling heard and valued. Now, she aims to pass on that same sense of encouragement and engagement to others.

As an introvert, Kathleen understands the challenges of speaking up, particularly when feeling less knowledgeable or like an outsider. However, she has come to recognize that sometimes, it’s precisely this fresh perspective that leads to innovative solutions. Kathleen makes a conscious effort to engage with those who may be hesitant to share their thoughts, seeking to understand their perspectives and contribute to a more inclusive dialogue.

While she’s still on a journey of learning and growth, Kathleen is wired to push herself and others to achieve what may seem impossible. Embracing discomfort and pursuing stretch assignments has become integral to her personal and professional development.

Outside of work, Kathleen cherishes spending time with her family, especially supporting her kids in their various sports activities. They’re also avid Disney fans, making frequent visits to the parks whenever possible.

Ultimately, Kathleen’s hope is for a future where Diversity Month isn’t necessary because inclusion is ingrained in their daily lives. The richness of experiences and ideas that come with genuine inclusion is invaluable and something worth striving for every day.

Kai Ravenell

“I want my impact at GovCIO to be a positive one, encouraging women and dispelling any myths and misconceptions about the autism spectrum and women of color in IT as professionals in the workplace setting.”

Kai Ravenell, Field Service Engineer

For Kai, diversity of thought entails sharing perspectives respectfully and fostering the growth of new ideas and mindsets.

Working directly with those who need assistance as a Field Service Engineer, Kai recognizes the significant impact of entry-level engineers on the company’s operations. Kai aims to dismantle preconceived notions about neurodivergent workers with creativity and kindness, advocating for recognition of their contributions at all levels of the organization.

Kai’s hobbies include exploring local businesses, connecting with fellow neurodivergent and LGBT individuals in fandoms, cosplay, social media content creation, and creative writing.

Despite facing challenges, Kai remains steadfast in her commitment to personal and professional growth, staying true to herself and championing diverse perspectives. She is deeply passionate about educating others about autism and advocating for the necessary accommodations to empower neurodivergent individuals in the workplace. During Diversity Month and beyond, Kai is dedicated to embracing her authentic self, engaging with others, and continually striving to be her best self.

Vicki Linscombe-Coleman

“Vicki creates an environment and culture of inclusion and diversity by allowing all team members to know they are empowered to provide their input to impact the project’s outcome. This has led to inventive solutions and continued project success.”

– Stan Gardner, GovCIO Program Manager

 

Vicki Linscombe-Coleman, Senior Portfolio Director

Vicki believes that diversity of thought is fundamental to human interaction and progress. She sees it as a natural aspect of human nature, where each person’s unique perspective, experiences, culture, and identity shape how they interpret and engage with the world. As a leader, Vicki recognizes the importance of understanding her team members’ perspectives for successful collaboration. She understands that meaningful conversations, growth opportunities, and contextual understanding arise from embracing diverse viewpoints.

As the Senior Portfolio Director supporting RES, Vicki oversees a team from diverse ethnic, religious, cultural and professional experiences. This diversity fuels innovative thinking and problem-solving, leading to creative solutions. Vicki ensures that all team members feel valued and encouraged to contribute their unique perspectives, fostering an environment where ideas are welcomed and voices are heard.

In her church, Vicki actively promotes cultural diversity as part of the Women’s Leadership Team, recognizing the importance of inclusivity and understanding diverse opinions in fostering growth.

With April designated as ‘Diversity Month,’ Vicki sees it as an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness within her teams and further encourage them to speak up and share diverse viewpoints. For her, embracing diversity isn’t just a professional obligation, but a personal commitment to continuous growth and inclusivity in every aspect of life.

Catrina Hammond

“Beyond her incredible work ethic and continuous ability to provide advice, Catrina always ensures that every attendee in every meeting that she hosts is heard and valued. I know this is a challenge, especially as a Black woman in a male-dominated space such as IT.”

-Rodney Watkins, GovCIO Project Manager 

Catrina Hammond, Project Manager

When Catrina reflects on the concept of “diversity,” her mind naturally gravitates towards the idea of “variety.” This notion isn’t confined to specific categories like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, or religious beliefs; rather, it encompasses the rich tapestry of differences inherent in every individual. People come from diverse backgrounds and walks of life, yet despite societal classifications based on factors like social status or political ideology, Catrina believes that our inherent uniqueness remains paramount.

Even among identical twins, whose DNA may be identical, each person possesses a distinct fingerprint, emphasizing the unparalleled nature of every individual. This realization resonates deeply with Catrina, echoing the sentiment expressed in Psalms 139:14 (KJV) that each person is fearfully and wonderfully made by a divine creator.

So, why prioritize diversity? Catrina believes that the inherent uniqueness within each person already establishes a foundation of diversity. Regardless of the “groups” to which individuals belong, their personal uniqueness contributes value to shared causes, purposes, missions, and goals. This inclusivity, Catrina argues, is what makes diversity truly beautiful.

In her role as a Project Manager at GovCIO, Catrina’s approach transcends aligning solely with specific teams; instead, she engages with multiple teams to foster cohesion and support toward achieving collective goals. This commitment extends beyond the workplace into all aspects of her life, from her family and church to her sons’ sporting events, where she sees the beauty of diversity in action.

For Catrina, celebrating diversity isn’t confined to a single month; it’s an ongoing journey woven into the fabric of her daily existence. She hopes that others will embrace this mindset and recognize the richness that diversity brings to every aspect of life.