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News | March 16, 2020

Greatness in the struggle: speaker encourages women to push through challenges

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, in conjunction with its Engineering Directorate, welcomed Terri Dickerson, director, Civil Rights Directorate, U.S. Coast Guard, to deliver a presentation on “Celebrating Milestones, Personal and Professional, Reached by Women” March 11, in the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.


Dickerson was welcomed to the stage by Cathy Contreras, acquisition executive, DLA Aviation. Contreras opened the presentation with a note about the year’s historical importance on two fronts.


“2020 marks the 75th anniversary of World War II, the legacy of the Greatest Generation. It is my understanding that our honored speaker’s father served during World War II. I would like to take a moment to honor your father, ma’am, and all those who served with him, and say ‘Thank You’,” she said.


Contreras added, “In regard to Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate not only the passing of the 19th Amendment allowing women the right to vote — which has its 100th anniversary this year — but also the voluminous contributions made by women of all races, colors, creeds and religions. Please join me in welcoming one such woman, Dr. Terri A. Dickerson.”


Dickerson thanked the audience for their welcoming applause and recounted how she pushed through difficulties she faced.


“There is greatness in the uncomfortable,” she said. “We are successful not in spite of, but [we] prevailed because of the difficulties we went through.”


Dickerson, a native of New Orleans, has served as a member of the Senior Executive Service since 2000, and joined the Coast Guard in 2006 as its civil rights director. In this role she ensures equal opportunity for every one of the 58,000-member workforce.

Previously, Dickerson served as assistant staff director for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, examining federal civil rights policy and making recommendations. She also has served as associate administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business.


Dickerson holds an education degree from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland, and holds a doctorate in peace and conflict studies from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.