DEIA in Action: A Lens to Recruitment
This session, “DEIA in Action: A Lens to Recruitment” will be moderated by Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley and brings together Department employees and an outside expert to discuss efforts to diversify recruitment, with a focus on expanding the Department’s reach beyond the Beltway and across socioeconomic backgrounds. This session is supported by the Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM) and the Pickering and Rangel Fellows Association (PRFA).
About The Speakers
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State and was the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WWII, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media.
She began her formal work in teaching and leadership development as Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta, and Cairo before taking on the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle East and Africa. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. In addition to the State Department, she has held senior positions at the Defense Department and at the National Security Council. Prior to that, she was a fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the then Ranking Member, Senator Joseph Biden. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley is the recipient of the Maltese Order of Merit, Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, including “For acts of courage during an attack on the U.S. Consulate General, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2004 by al-Qa’ida terrorists.”
Over the years, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley has been a keynote speaker for a variety of organizations including IESAbroad, The Cleveland City Club, TrueBlue Inclusion, Harvard University, The University of Denver, The University of Malta, and Johns Hopkins University. She is an in-demand panelist and moderator at some of the most respected international think tanks including The German Marshall Fund, CSIS, The Brookings Institution, The World Affairs Council, and The Council on Foreign Relations on issues ranging from U.S. Mid-East Policy, how diversity and inclusion improve U.S. foreign policy making, cyber security challenges, and counterterrorism. She is a strong proponent of excellence through inclusion across organizations and strives to break down barriers to the full participation of women and minorities. She was Ambassador-in-Residence at Oberlin College for 2020 and served as the Co-Chair of the Diversity in National Security working group for the Biden-Harris campaign.
Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a Cleveland native, has degrees from The George Washington University and The Johns Hopkins University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been an active Board member on several organizations committed to excellence in educating and leadership development including the Forum for Education Abroad, College Now Greater Cleveland, and the International Career Advancement Association. She also served on the boards of the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and the Middle East Policy Council. She sings with the Washington Performing Arts Society and has been published in the New York Times Opinion and The Foreign Service Journal. She is the co-author of two papers published in the New York Review of Science Fiction on “Diplomacy in Star Trek” and “The Representation of Disability in Star Trek.” In 2019, she was voted into the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Kimberly Jones, Esq.: With more than a decade of experience advocating for low-income, first-generation students and students of color, Kimberly Jones has established herself as a credible voice within policy circles in Washington, DC. Currently, Kimberly serves as the Executive Vice President at the Council for Opportunity in Education (“COE”). In this role, she oversees the day-to-day operations of the Council, including representation of students served by the Federal TRIO Programs (“TRIO”) before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education, and all government agencies; oversight of the program and professional development offerings for college access and success professionals; development and implementation of TRIO student programming; the organization’s fiscal policies and information technology; and the development and implementation of all print and digital communications of COE.
Prior to joining COE, Kimberly was an Associate in the Communications Practice Group at the law firm of Dow Lohnes, PLLC (now Cooley LLP), where she advised clients on a variety of broadcast and media law issues.
As a result of her expertise in the areas of higher education, congressional relations, and grassroots mobilization, Kimberly has been featured in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education and has delivered remarks at convenings by Comcast, NAACP, LULAC, and other notable organizations. She is an inaugural Advisory Board member for Black History 365, a comprehensive textbook and curriculum guide designed for students and educators that spans the breadth of Black American history.
Kimberly has served in leadership roles within various professional and civic organizations, including the Committee for Education Funding, of which she served as President; the National Bar Association, for which she chaired the Legislation Standing Committee; and the Junior League of Washington, for which she was named Outstanding New Member in 2018.
Kimberly is a 2000 graduate of Yale University and a 2004 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. In 1999, she was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. In 2016, Kimberly was named one of the “40 Under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates” by the National Bar Association and also received the organization’s Excellence in Activism Award. In 2018, she was selected for the Diversity Executive Leadership Program sponsored by ASAE, the American Society of Association Executives. In 2021, Kimberly earned the Certified Association Executive credential from ASAE.
Scott B. Winton is the Political and Regional Team Lead at Embassy Kingston, Jamaica overseeing issues related to security policy, human rights, and the U.S.-Jamaican Strategic Dialogue. He is a member of S/ODI’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan (SP) Working Group on Methods of Entry and Onboarding. Previously, Scott served as a Political Officer in Embassy Guatemala City and as the Regional Economic Officer in the Office of Central American Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Scott previously served in Washington D.C. in the Operations Center (S/ES-O) as a Watch Officer. Scott’s overseas experience also includes serving in the Consular Section at Embassy Mexico City and as a Political Officer at Embassy Skopje.
He completed a M.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and has a BS/BA in International Business from the University of Missouri. Scott, a TRIO McNair Scholar and first-generation college student from Branson, Missouri, joined the Foreign Service in 2009 through the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship as an Economic-coned officer. He is accompanied by his wife Margarita and two children.
Litah Miller proudly hails from the small, rural town of Bonnots Mill, Missouri. She is a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow, officially joining the Foreign Service (U.S. Department of State) in 2011 after graduating with a Master degree in Economic Policy at the University of Maryland. She is currently serving in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affair’s Migration Working Group. Prior tours include the Office of Mexican Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Executive Office, U.S. Consulate Lagos, Nigeria, and the Office of East African Affairs. She interned in U.S. Embassy Bangkok, U.S. Embassy Cairo, the Bureau of Security and Stabilization Office and worked for one year for the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs. She believes strongly in institution building and throughout her career she has been involved with Department mentoring as well as diversity and inclusion programs. Litah is an avid gardener and yogi and enjoys working with kids in her DC community.
William Flores is a physician assistant who joined the Department of State in 2019 to serves as Foreign Service Medical Provider. He was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida. He holds graduate degrees in business administration and public health, and graduated from Nova Southeastern University as a Physician Assistant. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and earned his officer commission from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Army ROTC program.
He deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom as the military unit’s sole medical provider operating at a battalion aid station at a combat outpost in Afghanistan. He rose to the rank of Major and continues to serve as an active guardsman for the Florida Army National Guard.
During his first Foreign Service tour in U.S. Embassy Bujumbura, he provided and managed the healthcare services of the U.S. diplomatic community. While in Bujumbura, he supported Post’s COVID-19 response and prevention plan. This included spearheading a successful COVID-19 vaccination, contact tracing, and case management program. He is currently completing a Y-Tour at the Bureau of Medical Services in Washington, DC where he is working in the Anomalous Health Incident Baseline clinic and supporting the MED Health Alert Response Team. He looks forward to his second tour assignment at U.S. Embassy Djibouti in 2022.
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, he worked in the public health section for over 20 years as a family medicine and urgent care physician assistant at a Federal Qualified Community Healthcare Center providing comprehensive primary healthcare services to a medically underserved and special population in Miami, Florida.
Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm: A career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm is the Director for the Recruitment Division within the Global Talent Management Bureau. She comes to Recruitment after completing two years as Diplomat in Residence for the Northwest, responsible for engagement and recruiting throughout northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Overseas, she most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia. Prior to her three years in Skopje, Micaela directed the Crisis Management Support unit in the Department of State’s Operations Center, having served in the Operations Center previously as a Watch Officer from 1999-2000.
Overseas, Micaela has also worked at the U.S. embassies in Zagreb, Cairo, Baghdad, Tunis and Kathmandu and at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, where she was the Public Affairs Officer and spokesperson for the Consulate. In addition to her tours in the Operations Center, Micaela served in Washington as staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs.
Micaela holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the National War College. She has studied the Macedonian, Arabic, French and Nepali languages.
A New England native, Micaela is married to fellow Foreign Service Officer Todd Bluhm. They have three children.