The Laboratory received the award for their numerous events, initiatives, and ongoing programs to build a more open and inclusive workplace.

In early December, Lincoln Laboratory received a diversity and inclusion (D&I) award at the North American Human Resources (HR) Executive Summit, a gathering hosted by the company Executive Platforms. The award is given to industry-leading organizations that have made exceptional efforts to build equality and openness into the fabric of their workforce culture.

Chevy Cleaves, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, received the award on behalf of Lincoln Laboratory at a ceremony in December, 2021.
Chevy Cleaves, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, received the award on behalf of Lincoln Laboratory at a ceremony in December, 2021.

A group of Chief Human Resources Officers, Chief People Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, and other senior HR professionals drawn from Fortune 500 companies across North America selected Lincoln Laboratory from an extensive field of nominees, including the National Basketball Association and Twitter, who were the other two finalists. The Laboratory received the award in recognition of multiple initiatives that the Diversity and Inclusion Office (ODI) created to help move the organization closer to becoming a national security industry exemplar in D&I leadership and application.

The Laboratory’s RE2AcT campaign is one example that was highlighted for this award. RE2AcT stands for “Research, Educate, Empathize, Act, Transform,” and the campaign was launched in response to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The ODI shared a variety of content with the Laboratory community through events designed to generate a common level of understanding about systemic racism and its impacts. These efforts included a series of study groups that promoted deep and transparent conversations that motivated Laboratory staff members to consider actions required to transform the organization in sustainable ways. The series was well received and has inspired empathetic discussions about topics that are largely unfamiliar to the Laboratory’s non-minority population. These conversations and responses were critical to advancing the Laboratory’s goal of building a more diverse organization that is led inclusively. 

“The RE2AcT campaign was transformative for Lincoln Laboratory because it led a lot of employees to a positive path — that of being comfortable with the uncomfortable,” says Alexander Lupafya, Deputy Chief of the ODI. “This campaign was unprecedented in the history of the Laboratory, yet the participation and engagement were extremely positive. RE2AcT also allowed for both individual and team learning that helped work colleagues to develop genuine empathy and compassion toward their peers of minority people groups.”

The Our Voices, Our Vote! A Century of Women Leading Change initiative was another innovative Laboratory program that was launched to recognize the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution: the Right for Women to Vote. The fight for the right to vote was intertwined with issues of civil and political rights and continues to have generational impacts across industries and disciplines. All members of the Laboratory were invited to reflect on the changes that resulted from the women’s suffrage movement through a variety of hosted events, key messages, and learnings.

Ongoing D&I efforts at the Laboratory include a multi-year partnership with The National GEM Consortium, which is a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, universities, and research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering. Each year, Lincoln Laboratory hosts at least 15 fellows, which places the Laboratory in the top four of all stakeholder companies/organizations supporting this critical effort. The GEM partnership is beneficial for the Laboratory and the nation because it helps advance elite diverse talent despite socioeconomic barriers. The Laboratory’s Director, Eric Evans, is also a two-time chairman of the GEM board of directors.

“We have asked our organization to take our renowned reputation for technical expertise and excellence and apply the same dedication to the absolutely critical and transformational work of diversity and inclusion,” says Chevy Cleaves, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. “I commend our amazing team and the many stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to create the conditions for sustained success. While we are proud of the results so far, we know that much work remains. We must put ourselves out there and aggressively partner through shared lessons learned, successes, and innovations. We stand ready to join together with all of you to help lead the way.”

Lincoln Laboratory’s video acceptance speech, given by Cleaves, will be available to watch soon on the Executive Platforms summit website.