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Leadership Corner

Standing up for one another

April 5, 2018 at 3:45pm

A picture of Vicki Christiansen in Forest Service uniform.

Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen, USDA Forest Service

Thank you for your willingness to stand up and join me as we improve our work environment in the Forest Service. As you know, the challenges we face have to do with allegations of harassment, assault, bullying and retaliation in the Forest Service.

I will outline the first steps we take to break the silence as we “Stand Up for Each Other” to create a workplace that is safe for everyone and where everyone is respected, valued and supported for who they are and what they do.

We have seen that breaking silence and intently listening around difficult topics is often the first step in overcoming or addressing problems. I know this endeavor will not be an easy one, but I am fully committed to accomplishing just that. I humbly ask each one of you to assist me in this effort.

We will rely heavily on your commitment and service as we move forward to confront some serious challenges that have plagued our agency. To confront this culture, everyone must do their part — each one of us has a role in this.

We need to acknowledge the enormity of this work. We work in a complex system, in a large organization of 30,000 employees with subcultures and norms. This is not an easy problem to fix.

But time’s up…we must act. This month, we will take action with a 30-day “Stand Up for Each Other” action plan.

The first step in this plan is for agency leaders to hold listening sessions with their employees. Dates and times will be forthcoming. Your participation will generate insight into how we move forward as an agency to combat harassment, assault, bullying and retaliation in the Forest Service.

Thank you for listening to me. I am listening to you.

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