By Lori John
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take its toll on the everyday work of Mission Dublin, the deputy chief of mission encouraged a group of volunteers to develop and lead a virtual leadership and professional development program. Stemming from a program that the Mission began in June 2019, this new program became known as Dublin Strong, a name born from the belief that all individuals can learn from and teach one another to further develop personal and professional growth.
Committee members of Dublin Strong include mid- and entry-level Foreign Service and locally employed staff, who strive to create a culture of leadership. The program has been tailored to meet the varying needs and interests of the embassy community. Input and energy were gathered from a diverse group of local staff, family members, officers, and specialists, from all agencies and at all grades. Dublin Strong now comprises six different tracks, offering learning and growth opportunities in professional skills development, public speaking, a “Meet Your Embassy” series, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and community resilience. The committee organizes two or three events per month covering various personal, cultural, and professional topics.
While the pandemic exposed the limitations of working remotely, Dublin Strong organized 20 virtual events since their inaugural event, June 24, which showcased a speech, “A Life of Service: How to Avoid Confusing Your Career with Your Life,” by Ambassador John Bass. Other sessions have been held with topics on leadership, ethical decision making, overseas voting, Frederick Douglass’ visit to Ireland (led by an American historian in Dublin), writing effective award nominations, public speaking, a diversity and inclusion webinar with the Office of Civil Rights, writing for impact, bidding strategies, women in leadership, and sessions focusing on other agencies within the Mission, such as Customs and Border Protection.
While juggling professional demands and managing telework with family life and responsibilities, the Dublin Strong motto means more now than ever—“We will endure, we will prevail, we are Dublin Strong.”
Contact the committee via email for more information about the Dublin Strong charter or programming.
Lori John is the office management specialist in Embassy Dublin’s Political and Economic Office.