International Speakers To Discuss Diversity

25 November 2013

A senior US military officer is set to present at a groundbreaking conference celebrating diversity within large and complex organisations.

Brigadier General (BRIG) Tammy Smith, Director, Human Capital Core Enterprise for the United States Army Reserve, will feature as the keynote speaker at the Pride in Defence conference led by the New Zealand Defence Force in Wellington this week.

Led by the Defence Force’s OverWatch organisation, and held in partnership with Massey University, speakers and delegates from around the globe will spend two days presenting and discussing ways to create inclusive cultures within complex organisations.

“We have been fortunate to secure some outstanding presenters for the conference,” a spokesperson for OverWatch says. “BRIG GEN Smith brings a wealth of experience gained during her 26 year military career. We are incredibly lucky to have her in New Zealand to share her ideas and learning.”

Other speakers include Martin King, GM HR for Coca Cola Amatil, Craig Bonnington, Business Development Manager for ANZ, Drs Stephen Neville and Jeff Adams from Massey University, and Barry Taylor, Senior Project Officer with the National LGBTI Health Alliance in Australia.

Military representatives from NZ, the UK, USA, Netherlands and Australia will join policymakers, senior leaders and influencers from academia, the public and private sector, and GLBTIQ-focused charities and support groups.

The New Zealand Defence Force have seen an increased profile of the support they provide to GLBT personnel, taking part in a range of public activities this year – their most recent achievement being presented the Supreme Award at this year’s ANZ EEO Trust Diversity Awards for OverWatch.

WHAT: Pride in Defence – Success through Diversity conference

WHERE: Massey University’s Wellington Campus

WHEN: 28-29 November 2013


Globally, workplace discrimination, or losing and replacing workers who leave their jobs due to unfairness and discrimination costs economies billions of dollars per year. A significant number of those workers are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals who have been treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The cost of failing to retain talent far outweighs that of supporting diversity and inclusive initiatives.

Within the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), we recognise the need to support and empower our people. We know that GLBTIQ-inclusive workplace policies enhance our ability to recruit and retain the best the New Zealand workforce has to offer. We know that equitable treatment of our people leads to improved staff morale and relationships. Importantly, we recognise that our people are more able to focus on the mission when operating in a comfortable and inclusive environment.

In January 2012, the NZDF stood up the group OverWatch – a support group for serving members of the NZDF GLBTIQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning) community, and their allies and families.

OverWatch contributes to the NZDF’s goals of employment equality and diversity.

OverWatch also provides support, guidance and advice to NZDF managers and those in positions of command in dealing with GLBTIQ issues.
Throughout 2013, OverWatch has raised the profile of the NZDF as an equitable employer through public appearances including Out in the Square (Wellington), Big Gay Out (Auckland) and the Auckland Pride Parade 2013.

In September 2013, the NZDF received the ANZ EEO Trust Diversity and Supreme Awards for OverWatch. This further increased the positive public profile of the organisation and positioned it as a supportive, inclusive and modern military force.

This page was last reviewed on 5 December 2013.