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DEIA in Action: Demystifying the Role of the Foreign Service Grievance Board

August 18, 2022

Program Description:

Please join the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion for a fireside chat with Director of the Foreign Service Grievance Board (FSGB), Lawrence Mandel to discuss the role of the Foreign Service Grievance Board and broader Department efforts to advance equity, transparency, and accountability in the workforce.  Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the State Department’s first stand-alone Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, will moderate the discussion.  We will also take questions from the workforce via an interactive chat. To learn more about our work, you can follow the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion on social media at: https://mobile.twitter.com/StateDeptDEIA/

You can also follow the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion on social media at:


Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, U.S. Department of State

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.


Lawrence C. Mandel, Foreign Service Grievance Board (fsgb.gov)

Lawrence (Larry) Mandel retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2016 after working as a diplomat for over 32 years. Most recently he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Larry’s other overseas assignments included Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Counselor for Management Affairs at the U.S. Embassies in Jakarta, Tel Aviv and Budapest, Procurement Director in Tokyo, Consular Officer and Ambassador’s Aide in London, and General Services Officer in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia. He served on school boards in Budapest, Tel Aviv and Jakarta, where he was instrumental in making new school campuses realities. In Washington Larry’s assignments included the 24-hour Operations Center and the Office of the Legal Advisor. Larry served as Director, Office of Performance Evaluation from 2011 to 2013, where he oversaw promotions in the Foreign Service. Previously he was responsible for an annual budget in excess of $1 billion and coordinated overseas operations among over 40 federal agencies as Director of the ICASS Service Center. He also served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Management, and as a Post Management Officer for posts in the Near East and South Asian regions. Larry received numerous State Department awards, and held the rank of Minister Counselor – equivalent to a two star general in the military. Before joining the State Department in1984 Larry was an attorney in Massachusetts, and prior to that worked as a retail executive for a chain of stores in Chicago. He and his wife Judy have four children. He holds a B.A. from American University in Washington, DC, and earned his J.D. at Northeastern University in Boston.

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