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Strength through inclusion

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First Lieutenant Carissa Silva, 319th Missile Squadron missilier, and 1st Lt. Janet Neufeld, 319th Missile Squadron missilier, welcome attendees to the Diversity Summit on Aug. 9, 2019, at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Each attendee was given free books and other goodies. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Emily Seaton)

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Col. Gail Colvin (Ret.), Air Force Academy director of staff, Maj. Angelica Heiderich, 90th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations, and Senior Master Sgt. Gloria Olivas, Air Force Academy Headquarters command section superintendent, work on an activity on Aug. 8, 2019, at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. By the end of the activity, participants could see how diverse or similar their most trusted companions are to themselves. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Emily Seaton)

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Chief Master Sgt. Tiffany Bettisworth, 90th Missile Wing command chief, speaks at the Diversity Summit on Aug. 9, 2019, at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The Diversity Summit was a two day event Aug. 8-9, 2019, with a variety of speakers and topics meant to promote strength through inclusion. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Emily Seaton)

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A group of attendees work together during one of the activities on Aug. 8, 2019, at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The activity was meant to uncover unconscious biases. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Emily Seaton)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

“So think about this: diversity is who is in the room; inclusion is what happens in the room,” said retired Col. Gail Colvin, the Director of Staff at the Air Force Academy.

Colvin was one of the Keynote Speakers for the Diversity Summit held at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 8-9. She spoke to attendees about her experience as part of the first Air Force Academy class to include women in 1976 and her journey through the years as an African American woman in the Air Force.

First Lieutenant Carissa Silva, 319th Missile Squadron missilier, was inspired to organize this year’s summit after attending the Women’s Symposium at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., last year.

“The symposium showed me that I’m not alone in most of my struggles as a woman in today’s Air Force.” Silva said. “I wanted to share what I learned from Malmstrom, so that I could help those around me back home at F.E. Warren, but I wanted to reach more than just women.”

Silva and her team set up a variety of speakers and topics between the two days. Senior leaders, both officer and enlisted, shared their knowledge and experience on topics such as unconscious biases, culture and language, religion and philosophy, and much more.

Throughout each of the sessions, the theme of Strength Through Inclusion was evident.

Each Airman brings their own experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. Through these differences and working together as one team, the Air Force can continue to be able to face the challenges of this increasingly diverse world.