The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere


NOAA Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement

PDF Version [November 6, 2015]

I am issuing this policy statement so that all employees of our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team clearly understand my expectations for what every individual of the team must do to contribute to a safe, welcoming, nurturing, and professionally challenging work environment for each and every member of our collective team.

Workforce diversity is defined as a collection of individual attributes that together help agencies pursue organizational objectives efficiently and effectively. Inclusion is defined as a culture that connects each employee to the organization.

Together, we can make NOAA the best place to work in the federal government. Given the motivating nature of our work and the positive spirit of our people, we should consistently top the charts with employee satisfaction in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. To make this vision a reality, each of us must contribute to a sustained and vibrant climate and culture in which every employee at every level of the agency genuinely feels they are professionally valued and that their contributions make a positive difference.

Leaders and supervisors have a special responsibility to help build and preserve this climate and culture. As public servants, we fully embrace the mantra of "Mission First, People Always." Mission requirements all too often consume the precious moments of a leader's day, leaving responsibilities such as evaluations, awards, and teambuilding events deferred or unfulfilled. Leaders must proactively LEAD through this challenge by taking more of a "People First, Mission Always" attitude and making people a routine part of your daily to annual work plans. Our organizational performance, our reputation, and even our future from a recruiting perspective, all rely on enhancing our people-based skills in concert with the skills we need as a science-based services agency.

We must relentlessly uphold a workplace that is brimming with respect and free of discrimination for all employees. Because we have valued members on our team in numbers that are significantly underrepresented (e.g. women, racial/ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities), leaders and supervisors must be attuned to those team and interpersonal dynamics that could negatively impact members of underrepresented groups. We must systematically pursue outreach and recruiting strategies to address significant demographic imbalances in our workforce. We must promote appreciation, teambuilding, and diversity awareness through cultural celebrations. And we must proactively fulfill our organizational commitments under the Department of Commerce Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.


Kathryn D. Sullivan Ph.D.
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere