The Foreign Service Journal, May 2013

28 MAY 2013 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The Thursday Luncheon Group, State’s oldest employee affinity group, continues to strengthen the Foreign and Civil Service workplace through its advocacy for diversity. BY STACY D. WI L L I AMS TLG: EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES AT STATE I n 1973 William B. Davis and Roburt Dumas, African-American employees of the U.S. Information Agency, became interested in identifying career paths for the advancement of African-American employees of USIA, State and other foreign affairs agencies. The duo organized meetings over lunch with likeminded African-American officers on the first Thursday of each month, inspiring Davis to dub the organization the “Thursday Luncheon Group.” TLG, as the group is usually referred to, quickly began to focus on out- reach to senior State Department officials, with the goal of advancing long-term personnel and management goals. One point we consistently highlighted was the urgent need to improve the accuracy of the department’s statistical records. As a result of that campaign, all State Department employees can now voluntarily select their race and ethnicity within their personnel profiles. Today, the informal mentoring program Davis and Dumas launched four decades ago has grown into a robust organization, comprising more than 300 Stacy D. Williams is president of the Thursday Luncheon Group, the State Department’s oldest affinity group. Since joining State as a Presidential Management Intern in 1997, he has held a series of management and policy-related Civil Service assignments, ranging from auditing consular programs and handling money-laundering issues to negotiating multilateral issues in the Organization of American States. He is currently executive secre- tary in the Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator. FOCUS DIVERSITYWITHIN THE FOREIGN SERVICE