ECLIPSE 2021 "Stronger Together: Building Bridges through a Culture of Respect." - CGA External Affairs

The Coast Guard's strength resides in its people and their different perspectives. Equity-minded and culturally literate leaders are needed to address the complex operational and mission support challenges of the 21st century.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy prioritizes the development of service ready officers critical to building and maintaining a diverse organization that fosters an inclusive workforce. One of the ways the Academy supports these diversity and inclusion efforts is through events like Eclipse.

Eclipse 2021 was held at the Academy April 8-10, in a hybrid format to allow some in-person participation as well as an extended opportunity to participate virtually for greater participation and adherence to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Friday, April 9 was designated an academic stand down day to allow for full participation in the event for cadets, officer candidates, faculty, and staff.

Eclipse is part of a cadet-run tradition established by the Academy’s Genesis Council in the 1970’s with a strong focus on diversity, inclusion, and mentorship. The annual event invites the greater Coast Guard community, local community members, and experts in diversity from across the nation to participate in mentoring and inspiring cadets to excel and prepare for lasting careers as inclusive Coast Guard officers.

Cadets attend one of the Eclipse keynote presentations in Leamy Hall. The purpose of Eclipse is to foster an inclusive environment by stimulating a community dialog that promotes a culture of respect. U.S. Coast Guard photo by 1/c Jordan Park

This year's theme was "Stronger Together: Building Bridges through a Culture of Respect.” Keynote speakers included Mr. Dondre Whitfield actor and author of, "Male vs. Man; How to Honor Women, Teach Children, and Elevate Men to Change the World", and Ms. Jane Hyun author of “Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences.”

Whitfield’s presentation showed participants how to cultivate the psychological attributes of servant leadership at home, at work, and in our communities. His talk focused on men’s role as healthy and productive leaders who bring about positive change to their respective worlds.

Hyun’s talk focused on a proactive strategy for managers to navigate and leverage difference effectively and centered on “flexing” the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively lead people who are different from them.

Mr. Dondre Whitfield (top U.S. Coast Guard Photo by 1/c Jordan Park.) and Ms. Jane Hyun (bottom left) were the keynote speakers who were heard by participants in Leamy Hall (bottom right) during Eclipse 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Photos by PA2 Hunter Medley.)

Other events included CGA Affinity Council sponsored diversity events, a regimental review, cadet talent show, and more. An interesting new aspect of this year’s event was the Equity Walk consisting of stations organized by each of the Cadet Affinity Councils, which are cadet centered cultural organizations at the Academy. Participants were able to learn more about each council, and how they could serve as an ally to that group.

During the closing keynote address for the event, Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, saluted Academy personnel who put the entire event together during challenging circumstances and helped to honor Eclipse Award winners (Top photo: Adm. Karl Schultz, Mrs. Yolanda Jarmon-Williams, Ms. Joann Miller and Rear Adm. Bill Kelly, Academy Superintendent at the Eclipse 2021 Awards Presentation. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by 1/c Jordan Park.)

“At the end of the day, this is all about advancing the important work of the Coast Guard. An inclusive workforce, fostering that workforce, is a shared responsibility,” he said. “It’s our shared duty, and there are not many matters of greater importance inside our Coast Guard.”

Learn more about the U.S. Coast Guard’s vision for diversity and inclusion.

Eclipse Award winners 2021

• JoAnn Miller Community Award: Mrs. Yolanda Jarmon-Williams • Merle Smith Pioneer Award: Lt.j.g. Karida Harris • Joseph M. Vojvodich Award: Cdr. Hoon Park • Dr. Hallie E. Gregory Award: Lt. Cmdr. Michelle Foster • Francis Neal Humanitarian Award: Mr. Alex Eames • Manson K. Brown Genesis Award: Lt.j.g. Jacob Brown