The Foreign Service Journal, April 2024

30 APRIL 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Ana Escrogima joined the State Department as a Foreign Service o cer in 2003 and is currently the U.S. ambassador to Oman. She has also served overseas as principal o cer at U.S. Consulate Montreal, and in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iraq, the UAE, and Syria. She served as a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and is the 2020 recipient of the Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award for her work supporting entry-level o cers in diversity and inclusion e orts. She was the Pickering and Rangel Fellows Association president in 2010, the year it was founded. e views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of the Department of State or the U.S. government. An ambassador shares a few lessons learned about creating norms of inclusion and respect in the workplace. BY ANA ESCROGIMA Se ing the Table for Inclusion Five ings Leaders Can Do to Interrupt Behaviors FOCUS ON WORKPLACE WELL-BEING The most pivotal moment of my career occurred at your average State Department morning meeting several years ago. Newly arrived in Washington from the eld, I was navigating a new job that had me leading on a bigger and more intimidating stage than the intimate conference rooms I had inhabited overseas. When it was my turn to speak, I barely made it through the rst sentence of my brie ng when the principal interrupted me with a question. While I was answering the question, they interToxic rupted again and asked my colleague next to me to clarify something I had said. Others around the table began jumping in to add input, with some repeating exactly what I thought I had just said. It was all I could do to wrest my brief back and get to the end of it, by which time the principal had lost interest and clearly wanted to move on. I was crestfallen and managed to make it to my o ce, closing the door before angry tears began rolling down my face. en emails began hitting my inbox; friends who were present at the meeting were asking if I was okay. No, I was not okay. What had happened? What had gone wrong with my brief that invited that behavior? What was it about our organizational culture that allowed this to happen? I thought about curtailing. I thought about resigning. I thought about writing the principal a strongly worded email or asking someone more senior to do that. In the end, I did none of those things. But I did vow to seek answers to these questions. I also resolved that I would never let something like this happen to me again, or to anyone else at a meeting where I was present. It's Not Just About “Executive Presence” In the time since this transpired, I had the opportunity to participate in an executive education opportunity o ered by the State Department. As a leadership fellow with the InterMARK SMITH