News | Sept. 10, 2021

Hispanic Employment Program kicks off monthlong observance with employee spotlights

By DLA Land and Maritime Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Hispanic Employment Program

The Hispanic Employment Program is highlighting several Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime employees throughout its monthlong observance of Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15- Oct. 15.

 

This week, the program will feature Frances R. Quinones, an inventory management specialist for DLA Land and Maritime’s Industrial Hardware Team.

 

Quinones worked for the Puerto Rico government before landing a job under the Outstanding Scholars Program with the Defense Logistics Agency in 2002, and is sharing her experiences transitioning to a federal career in Columbus.

 

“Having to relocate from Puerto Rico – sunny, tropical – to the United States mainland in Columbus, Ohio – four seasons, one with snow and ice – with three young children 12, 13 and 14 at that time was a challenge for all of us, especially with the change of weather and all the other relocation arrangements that come with it; but it did not stop me from excelling and adapting to the work culture and moving forward,” said Quinones, who is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and of Puerto Rican descent.

 

She began her federal career as an inventory management specialist and was the Hispanic Employment Program coordinator. She decided to become a customer account specialist where she did two deployments, one as an Immediate Response Team point of contact and the other one as the DLA Area Representative. She had an opportunity to support the Warfighter directly and the multinational forces located there for all DLA-related issues. “I primarily assisted customers in ordering, tracking and receiving DLA-managed commodities,” she said.

 

Quinones continued her professional growth in the equal employment opportunity field as an EEO specialist with DLA Land and Maritime’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity and served as the Special Emphasis Programs manager, she said, in the belief that all people are created equal, and that freedom is a right that must be always protected.

 

Quinones managed nine SEPs which included the Federal Women's Program, Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage, People with Disabilities, African American Employment, Native American/Alaskan Native Heritage, European American, and Hispanic American programs. She established program priorities based on the DLA Strategic Plan and director’s guidance, developed objectives and analyzed demographic diversity charts. She researched action items recorded in the Management Directive 715 Federal Status Report by listening to employee concerns, and assisted DLA in eliminating employment barriers for underrepresented individuals. In addition, she assisted with the coordination of recruitment events with the EEO office and DLA Land and Maritime’s People and Culture directorate, and worked command-level projects like the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Project, “Developing Diverse 21st Century Leaders.”

 

Quinones has been an invaluable member of the Hispanic Employment Program committee her entire 19-year tenure in DLA. She has supported HEP activities that increased the representation of Hispanics in DLA Land and Maritime.

 

Quinones’ innovative ideas were instrumental in developing the DSCC Multicultural Day HEP Booth, which in 2011 was considered as a “Best of Show Display.” The booth was an interactive display of the Hispanic culture. She has led multiple Hispanic activities including the

Sponsor Program as well as being a sponsor herself. The program’s purpose is to ease the transition of new Hispanic employees moving to Columbus by pairing them with local volunteers who offer information and assistance with obtaining housing, childcare and transportation, as well as understanding federal employee’s health plans, insurance and other employee benefits.

 

Quinones also assisted with promoting, participating and identifying Spanish interpreters for a local elementary school’s parent/teacher conferences. Other programs included the Hispanic Heritage Month Luncheon and Spanish classes during her lunch time, events that were well received and with high participation, she said.

 

With regards to her community service support and leadership, Quinones has proven to be an asset for the local Hispanic community residing in the Columbus area. She was a founding member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC Columbus 39005, a nonprofit organization that is actively involved in improving the quality of life for women as family heads, youth, and the community in general. The League of United Latin American Citizens is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. Quinones served as a chaplain and vice president, and on the LULAC Ohio Board as the Deputy Director of the Elderly. Quinones helped with the coordination of the LULAC Community Day and Military Appreciation Day, where they had displays from nonprofit agencies.  A table was included to promote DLA job opportunities. Other events included the Candidates Night Forum and Orgullo Latino Awards, where critical issues for the Latino population were discussed. The participants were able to hear different government officials explain their platform and programs for the community and the community at large.

 

Other community involvement activities Quinones supported included the Latina Breast Cancer Project, a program sponsored by OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute, and the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs’ Latino Health Summit. She supported the recovery efforts for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria by donating goods and assisting with boxing them as well.

 

Quinones has been a presenter at various events including representing DLA on a panel about the Special Emphasis Hispanic Employment Program and the Employee Resources Programs at the Empleos and Employment Ohio Diversity and Leadership Conference.

 

In celebration of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month and theme ESPERANZA: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope, she said, “We need to keep celebrating our roots. This is an opportunity to share with others our traditions and the pride we feel for Hispanics that have made a change in history such as military members, actors and actresses and just recently during the Tokyo Olympics where we had such a large representation of Hispanics.”

 

“The life lesson is that no matter how many challenges we encounter during our journeys; we must overcome them with a strong mind, a strong heart and a desire to achieve in what we believe for success,” Quinones added. 

 

“Hispanics have contributed through their community stewardship, remarkable service, volunteerism and altruism across each step in the struggle for equal rights and equal opportunities. As Upcoming History-Creators, Hispanics will strive and shine for excellence and transport their best efforts toward being positive role models while transforming the overall American culture. Show the world you count and are valuable.”

 

Quinones is the proud mom of sons Juan Carlos, Jose Esteban and Jorge Manuel and grandmother of Jorge and daughter-in-law Nicole’s children Jorge and Nico.

 

“They have given me the strength to blaze the trails I have and to excel in all endeavors,” she said.

 

Quinones’ work and contributions have resulted in her being commended with various medals including the Superior Civilian Service Medal, Army Civilian Service Medal, Award of the Armed Forces Civilian Service Certificate and Medal, and the Non-Article 5 NATO Medal.

 

She was the recipient of the DLA 49th Annual Achievement in EEO Award and the Latina Style's Meritorious Service Award for supporting the DOD mission. She was an honoree of Who's Who Columbus 2nd and 3rd edition books.

 

Quinones is a role model who exemplifies the qualities of a true leader for her outstanding contributions in the professional development of the defense federal community. In her 19 years of service to the Department of Defense, she proved to be a strong leader and mentor, and was recognized on multiple occasions for her dedication to expanding recruitment, hiring and retention of Hispanics and other groups within the Defense Supply Center Columbus installation.