Air Force ROTC Hosts General Jeffrey Harrigian for Talk Focused on Diversity in Leadership
Posted February 23, 2021
Great minds and mentors, as well as the opportunities to learn from them, do not come about every day. On Feb 8, Georgia Tech’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 165 had the honor of hosting Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian.
As the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, a key player in Operation Desert Storm, and with more than 35 years of active-duty service in the Air Force, Harrigian had priceless experiences to share with Air Force, Army, and Navy students. The general’s visit was a reminder of the Air Force’s mission to improve the representation of leadership through accepting a diverse family of people and backgrounds.
“Increasing diversity and attracting the best talent across our Air and Space Forces is a warfighting imperative for our nation, and as such, general officer leadership is critical,” wrote Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in a memo announcing the “Go Inspire” program. This initiative brought Harrigian to Georgia Tech to connect with the audience on these topics.
These goals were reflected in an honest conversation about inclusion and the emotional intelligence that is imperative for effective leadership and team building. Cadets had the opportunity to speak in an open forum with Harrigian about what aspects of military life could be improved by celebrating the cultural differences of airmen. Harrigian explained how different leadership styles and the diversity of personalities were necessary for a successful team and mission accomplishment. Attendees also learned that diversity in leadership philosophies is highly valued in a modern military.
After the forum, Harrigian sat down in a focus group with those from underrepresented groups for a more personal discussion on diversity and inclusion at all levels of the military. He emphasized the collaborative aspect of furthering the initiative and the importance of having regular conversations so that cadets can learn from one another.
Harrigian also took this chance to recognize members of the Air Force Recruiting Service and Det. 165’s Cadet Olivia Kassian for their accomplishments in improving minority representation in recruitment and training. The efforts made to broaden perspectives and improve inclusivity for units across the nation were an inspiring contribution to the Air Force’s “people first” mission.
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Captain, Air Force ROTC Detachment 165