DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program logo

DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program

Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 DEIA Champions Program. Applications must be submitted online via deiachampions.org and close on September 18, 2023.

    • (1) Summary: The DEIA Champions Program brings together Senior Foreign Service and mid-level leaders to form a cohort of change agents who have a strong commitment to and demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA. Participants receive specialized leadership training in how to more effectively advance the Department’s DEIA goals, become more inclusive managers, improve accountability while making Department culture more inclusive, and recruit and lead high-performing and diverse teams.

      • The program also pairs mid-level mentees with senior-level sponsors/mentors. Both sponsors and mentees receive professional development aimed at preparing them for roles of greater responsibility in the Department.

      • Foreign Service generalists and specialists may apply. Applicants must be in the Senior Foreign Service to be sponsors. FS-02 and FS-01 generalists and specialists may apply to be mentees.

      • This is the second year of the program’s two-year pilot. We have expanded eligibility requirements to allow employees posted overseas to apply and participate. In its second year, the program will include two in-person sessions and two virtual sessions. In-person sessions will take place November 28 – 30, 2023 and May 14-16, 2024. Virtual sessions will take place on January 10, 2024 and March 20, 2024. Participants posted overseas or outside of Washington will need to travel to Washington for all in-person sessions. Per agreement with regional bureaus, travel expenses will be covered by the post or bureau.

      • Employees of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply to be sponsors/mentors or mentees. Selection criteria for mentees and sponsors will be based on applicants’ demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA.

      • (2) Program Goals: This program – which includes up to 30 participants per cohort – is a partnership between the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Bureau of Global Talent Management, the Foreign Service Institute, and Howard University. The initiative seeks to:

          • Identify current Department leaders who want to become more effective DEIA champions, give them the tools needed to be successful advocates, diversify their networks, and provide them with specialized workshops on data-informed best practices for advancing DEIA;

          • Pair strong mid-level employees and senior leaders who have a demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA and provide both with the tools they need to strengthen their competitiveness for and succeed in positions of greater responsibility;

          • Close generational gaps in understanding today’s workforce and its expectations with respect to advancing DEIA and creating a culture of inclusion within the Department;

          • Create brave spaces for candid and courageous conversations between Department leaders and program participants to discuss and develop solutions for the Department’s DEIA challenges.

            • (3) Defining Sponsors’ Role: Compared to traditional mentorship models, which primarily involve mentors providing advice to mentees, sponsors in this program take a more active role in helping their mentees work step-by-step through specific DEIA issues or professional goals. In the context of this program, the role of sponsors will be to work with mentees one-on-one to think through their bidding and career strategies, help them strengthen their competitiveness to cross the Senior Foreign Service threshold, and work with them on professional advancement areas such as candidate packages for DCM/PO positions. Sponsors will also advise and strategize with mentees on how to navigate and address specific DEIA or leadership challenges they may face. Sponsors may also serve as references for mentees, in line with the processes outlined in the Department’s formal bidding guidance.

            • (4) Benefit to Sponsors: Senior sponsors receive training on becoming more inclusive leaders and improving DEIA outcomes within their missions/bureaus. Sponsors will be able to point to a concrete way that they are advancing the Department’s DEIA goals (a criterion for obtaining senior leadership positions). Through their participation in this program, sponsors will be connected to a network of strong mid-level officers and DEIA champions from a wide array of backgrounds from which to expand their recruitment pool as they build teams in the future. Senior sponsors participating in the first year of this program said they grew to have a fuller appreciation for the DEIA challenges faced by colleagues in the mid- and junior ranks and the role they can play as senior leaders in resolving them. One participant from the program’s first year stated, “Participating in this program significantly broadened my abilities to not only better understand DEIA principles and the Department’s current policies and perspectives on the issues, but also address these issues in my day-to-day job in a meaningful and impactful way. It was a safe space to really have difficult conversations and had some of the best programming I’ve ever experienced in the Department.”

            • (5) Expectations: If selected, participants must commit to 100% participation in all workshops as well as meeting with their sponsor/mentee once per month during the six-month program. The program includes separate in-person and virtual workshops between November 2023 and May 2024. In-person sessions will take place November 28 – 30, 2023 and May 14-16, 2024. Virtual sessions will take place on January 10, 2024 and March 20, 2024. Participants posted overseas or outside of Washington will need to travel to Washington for all in-person sessions. Per agreement with regional bureaus, travel expenses will be covered by the post or bureau. Those selected whose posts do not have sufficient funding should contact their bureau’s senior DEIA advisor.

            • (6) Eligibility Criteria: Mentees must be FS-01 or FS-02 generalists or specialists (with the exception of OMSes who may be FS-04s, and Security Technicians or DS specialists and agents who may be FS-03s). Sponsors must be Senior Foreign Service generalists or specialists (with the exception of OMSes who may be FS-03s or higher, and Security Technicians and DS specialists/agents who may apply to be sponsors as FS-02s or higher). Selection will be based on applicants’ statement of interest and demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA. Civil Service colleagues are ineligible to participate due to the terms of funding stipulated by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation. 

               

            • (7) Application Requirements: A completed application is required of both sponsors and mentees. The applications request information about the individuals to help with making match and also ask about their activities to promote DEIA issues. The applications are not time-consuming and do not require letters of recommendation. A selection panel composed of multiple Department bureaus and offices – including S/ODI, FSI, GTM, among others – will first select a cohort of mentees based on their demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to advancing DEIA. Sponsors will then be selected to complement mentee needs and professional interests (experience, cone, regional background, functional expertise, etc.). Applicants will be informed regarding the status of their selection by October 15.

          • (8) Application Instructions: Applications for mentees and sponsors should be submitted through this application portal: deiachampions.org from My Dashboard. The deadline for applications is September 18. General questions about the program or application should be directed to DEIAChampions@howard.edu.

          Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Champions Sponsorship Program - Mentees

          Program Overview:

          This program provides unique benefits to participants, including structured opportunities to develop a professional relationship with a Senior Foreign Service sponsor who will assist them in strategizing career next steps; provide advice as they navigate the bidding and assignments process, review their EERs, and be available for counsel regarding workplace opportunities and challenges. Participants will also engage in specialized training on how to advance DEIA as a mid-level leader. They will become part of a cohort of like-minded DEIA champions and allies with whom they can strategize on addressing DEIA challenges and learn skills to become stronger and more effective DEIA advocates in the Department.

          Thank you for your interest in applying for the U.S. Department of State's DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program. This program is a two-year pilot designed to diversify and build a cohort of more effective DEIA champions in the Department's senior-most ranks.

          The application is due by 11:59 PM on September 18, 2023.

          This sponsorship program will:

          1. match FS-01 and FS-02 generalists and specialists (and FS-04 OMSes, and FS-03 Security Technicians and DS specialist/agents) who have a demonstrated track record of advancing the Department's DEIA goals with Senior Foreign Service generalists and specialists (and FS-02 OMSes and Security Technicians);
          2. develop both mentees and sponsors to become more effective DEIA advocates and more inclusive leaders through specialized quarterly workshops; and
          3. incentivize a wider cross-section of Department employees to engage in advancing the Department's DEIA goals.

          Employees of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This program provides unique benefits to participants, including structured opportunities to develop a professional relationship with a Senior Foreign Service sponsor who will assist them in strategizing career next steps; praovide advice as they navigate the bidding and assignments process, review their EERs, and be available for counsel regarding workplace opportunities and challenges. Participants will also engage in specialized training on how to advance DEIA as a mid-level leader. They will become part of a cohort of like-minded DEIA champions and allies with whom they can strategize on addressing DEIA challenges and learn skills to become stronger and more effective DEIA advocates in the Department.

          Please read all questions carefully and answer as completely as possible. Required information is marked with an orange asterisk and must be completed in order for your application to be considered.

          Eligibility Requirements:

          1. FS-01 and FS-02 generalists and specialists, and FS-04 OMSes, and FS-03 Security Technicians and DS Specialist/Agents.

          Desired Characteristics:

          1. Demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA commitment to advancing DEIA principles and activities in the State Department 

          Application elements will include the following:

          1. Individual information useful in matching sponsor with applicant 
          2. Answer two questions that address past involvement and future interest in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives
          3. A resume to review career performance and DEIA activities 

          The application is due by 11:59 PM on September 18, 2023.

          Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Champions Sponsorship Program - Sponsor

          Program Overview:

          This program is a two-year pilot designed to diversify and build a cohort of more effective DEIA champions in the Department's senior ranks.
          This sponsorship program will:

          1. match FS-01 and FS-02 generalists and specialists (and FS-03 OMSes, and FS-02 Security Technicians and DS specialist/agents) who have a demonstrated track record of advancing the Department's DEIA goals with Senior Foreign Service generalists and specialists (and FS-02 OMSes and Security Technicians); and
          2. develop both mentees and sponsors to become more effective DEIA advocates and more inclusive leaders through specialized quarterly workshops; and
          3. incentivize a wider cross-section of Department employees to engage in advancing the Department's DEIA goals.

          Sponsors will benefit from the program through an ability to make concrete contributions to advancing the Departments DEIA goals, which is increasingly a criterion for further senior leadership positions. Moreover, senior leaders will have an opportunity to engage with talented mid-level employees outside of their normal professional interactions, helping them to identify individuals to recruit in order to build inclusive teams that are DEIA champions. Sponsors will also learn concrete skills to become more inclusive leaders and to improve DEIA outcomes within their missions/bureaus.

          Application Deadline: September 18, 2023 11:59 PM EST

          Eligibility Requirements:

          1. Senior Foreign Service generalist or specialist, or;
          2. FS-03 OMS or FS-02 Security Technical Specialist and DS specialist/agents.

          Desired Characteristics:

          1. Strong commitment to and track record of mentoring less experienced employees
          2. Interested in advancing DEIA diversity goals
          3. Professional excellence that can inform and inspire mid-career employees

          Application elements will include the following:

          1. Individual information useful in matching an applicant to a sponsor
          2. Answer two questions that address past involvement and future interest in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives
          3. Resume of any type that demonstrates professional background

          The application is due by 11:59 PM on September 18, 2023.

          Process

          1. Register

          Click on the "Register" link and complete and submit the registration form.

          2. Login

          Login to the award with your email and password.

          3. Create

          Create your online application. For a list of required information and attachments, please review the Sponsor and Mentee Tabs.

          4. Save

          During the Call for Applications period (closes September 18, 2023), your application can be saved as DRAFT until all the required information is completed and attachments uploaded. As each section is complete, you will see a appear in the category tab when the application is saved. At any time, you can download and print your application by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section.

          5. Submit

          On completion, save your Nomination as FINAL. Download and print a copy of your application for your records by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section in the right column. Note: If an update is required prior to the Application Deadline (September 18, 2023), you can make the update and resave as FINAL.

          If you require assistance or additional information, please contact the Award Administrator.

          Forgot Password?

          Key Dates

          Mentee Application Timeline
          Opens: July 21, 2023
          Closes: September 18, 2023
          Sponsor Application Timeline
          Opens: July 21, 2023
          Closes: September 18, 2023

          CONTACT US

          DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program
          2218 6th Street, NW
          Washington, D.C. 20059
          Phone: (202) 806-4367
          Email:   DEIAChampions@howard.edu
          DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program