National Disability Awareness Month Spotlight: LaTonya Beach

By DLA Public Affairs DLA Public Affairs

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Editor’s Note: The Defense Logistics Agency recognizes National Disability Awareness Month throughout October. To honor the contributions of employees with disabilities, DLA is highlighting those who work daily to support the agency’s global mission.

My name is: LaTonya Beach

I am: A senior procurement policy analyst with DLA Energy’s Procurement Process Support Directorate in the Procurement Planning Branch.

Describe your job in a sentence: I am responsible for providing guidance on acquisition regulations and policies that pertain to analyzing and interpreting contracting issues, developing solutions, and making recommendations for new contracting initiatives and policies within DLA Energy.

How long have you worked at DLA? I have worked for DLA Energy for 12 years.

What is your favorite thing about working for DLA? The support and opportunities that are available for employees with disabilities through DLA’s Reasonable Accommodation Program. I am very thankful for my blessings! Being a veteran with a disability, mother of two and a wife with bipolar has its inherent challenges, especially while working a fulltime job and continuing other ambitions with God’s graces. For example, I was accepted into a doctoral program earlier this year and will start January 2020, and because of my RA, I have confidence that I will be able to accomplish this goal. There are many options afforded to us DLA employees with disabilities via the Reasonable Accommodation program to help us perform and accomplish our job functions.

What are your best memories of working here? My best memories working here have been the times I have spent with many of my coworkers. I am fortunate to have been able to form and maintain many of the relationships I started when I came to DLA, especially since I have bipolar.

How do you make a difference? I continue to be persistent in striving and not settling with my disability issues. We all have good, bad and some ugly days. However, there are many more of the bad and ugly days for us employees with disabilities, so having a strong support system is very important in helping us maintain our confidence, our hope. I want our employees with disabilities to know they can accomplish their goals and that there is support. There are committees they can participate in to give a voice for DLA employees with disabilities to help increase inclusion. I’m a member of DLA Special Emphasis Program and DLA Energy Culture Climate Council, which allows for me to encourage hope and support for employees with disabilities. We have a voice at the table. I not only acknowledge my bipolar, but I advocate for it because of the stigmatization of having a disability.

Why is it important to you we celebrate Disability Awareness Month? It helps ends the stigma. This can be accomplished by as many people as possible acknowledging that they have a disability and others understanding and accepting those who do have a disability.