The Foreign Service Journal, December 2018

68 DECEMBER 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL to it is an asset I learned in the crib, and it helps me every day— both in the trade work we do and in connecting with the many Americans who carry out the U.S. mission at embassies around the world and the many clients who are looking for opportuni- ties overseas. What has always impressed me about the work we do in the Commercial Service is that it never gets boring. We always have new projects and new challenges that make our work exciting. We are always exploring new possibilities for connecting U.S. organizations to help them broaden their reach. I am sure that without our offices the U.S. economy would be greatly affected, because we help to support and generate an activity that can only be achieved through exporting. I feel I am making a differ- ence every day. Our engagement with the American officers is based mainly on trust and knowledge. They can feel confident about con- sulting with the local staff and really hearing the advice and suggestions we provide to help them feel welcome and quickly engage with the local issues and business contacts. We are the force that gives continuity to the mission. Over the years I had many great American officers who served as mentors. Bravery is a distinct trait they all have in common, combined with the trust and empowerment that are needed for innovation to flourish. These are the best qualities in great leaders that I so admire. Despite the very important role Locally Employed staff play, we often feel overlooked and forgotten during the many administration changes and priorities. The local team can always use more support and incentives from the incoming officers. Starting off on the right foot will facilitate a smooth transition. Addressing office politics and human resource issues can be a delicate matter, but very necessary to keep our organization healthy and growing. We need real diversity of thought and experience, and an inclusive mindset to build good export programs. The power of inclusion can only happen when individuals bring their authentic self to work and know that they are heard, recognized and respected. n