OCIO Embracing Diversity: A Celebration of Cultures through Food

At the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), diversity is not just a buzzword, it is the vibrant tapestry that enriches our everyday work environment. On March 27, 2024, Executive Director, Avery Q. Muse, Sr. and OCIO’s Office of Operations (Ops) hosted a special event focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) where colleagues from diverse ethnic backgrounds came together to share a part of their culture through food . What followed was not just a culinary spectacle but a celebration of unity and understanding.

The event was a feast for the senses! The tables were adorned with dishes representing cuisines from around the world, each dish telling a story of heritage, tradition and family recipes passed down from generation to generation. A sample of our menu of the day included: Irish stew, Guyanese fried rice, huancaina potato, peas with oxtail, chicken skewer with Indian bread, samosas, Mediterranean salad, coconut rice and red beans, goat curry, banana pudding. , sweet potato pie and scotch biscuits, just to name a few.

Beyond the delicious food, the real magic happened when colleagues gathered to share stories, laughter and experiences. It was a space where differences were celebrated, where curiosity sparked conversations, and where stereotypes were destroyed by the power of first-hand experience. When asked about his experience, the leading IT specialist Antonio Lucas said: “The event created the ideal environment for growth and collaboration.”

Through this event, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace where every voice is valued and every culture is respected. It was a reminder that diversity is not just about numbers or statistics; it is about embracing the richness of the human experience in all its forms. Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jennifer C. Wendel noted, “Prioritizing DEIA in the workplace helps OCIO attract and retain talent. More than ever, prospective employees want to work for organizations that share the same core values. Focusing on DEIA allows employees to feel comfortable being themselves, which leads to more creative and innovative ideas.”

As we savored each bite and exchanged stories, we were reminded of the importance of creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and appreciated. This event was not just a one-time event, but a catalyst for continued dialogue and action, as we continue to strive for a workplace where diversity, inclusion and equity are not just ideals but lived realities.

In the end, the event was not just about the food, but also about the connections forged, barriers broken, and bonds strengthened. It was a testament to the power of diversity to unite us, broaden our horizons and make our workplace a true home away from home.

Special thanks to the Supervising IT Project Manager. Yolanda Reid for their leadership in the organization and to everyone who contributed a dish, helped with the organization or participated in this fruitful event. And thanks to the Undersecretary of Administration. Cheryl CampbellActing CIO Jennifer C. Wendeland Acting Deputy CIO La Monte R. Yarboroughfor joining the celebration and whose strong leadership continues to foster an environment of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility for all.

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