Director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency
Dr. Theresa Horne is an experienced senior adviser in DEIA, human capital, training and development who develops and aligns complex programs and business initiatives for federal and private organizations. She has spent more than 17 years contributing to the government, military and private industries in operations, diversity and inclusion, human capital and adult learning.
Horne has researched and developed comprehensive leadership development, culture action planning and career development programs impacting leaders on a global scale. From creating groundbreaking culture change in Yokosuka, Japan, to leading organizationwide change in Washington, D.C., she has earned multiple awards using creative problem solving to quell large-scale issues.
Additionally, she’s an award-winning novelist, industry columnist and government leader who has spoken at multiple federal agencies and private organizations on the intersection of culture, leadership and strategic alignment.
“I’ve created innovative programs that hinge on how government leaders can develop their skills in handling societal issues that affect the workplace,” Horne said. “Because of recent events like the murder of George Floyd and anti-Asian sentiments due to COVID-19, equipping leaders with safe spaces to prepare for how to support their staff is important.”
As government and private industry have reeled behind social justice movements, Horne notes the importance of being flexible with training curriculum and being quick in response to employee mental health needs. Providing an awareness of mental health makes the agency stand out among federal entities and has been an area federal diversity professionals must increase their skillsets.
Horne and her teams have built an infrastructure for DEIA to be fully resourced and supported in a creative way by reorganizing key personnel, as well as upskilling and reskilling employees to key strategic roles.
“It’s imperative that chief diversity officers and diversity professionals understand that infrastructure should be the first stop to strategic alignment of Executive Order 14035 and agency DEIA strategic plans,” she said. “Without the right people and skills, the work can become performative and lack depth or reach.”
In 2022, Horne will heavily focus on ways to intersect human capital, leadership development and DEIA at DCSA to ensure seamless collaboration of efforts and farther reach. She’ll continue to work very closely with senior leaders to stay at the forefront of DEIA with a proactive versus reactive approach.
“I learned early on growing up as a young girl,” Horne said. “Bias runs deep, and having the bravery to call out unfair or poor behavior makes you stronger. Builds mental and emotional fortitude. When you think about a person who discriminates or bullies others, it’s a problem within their upbringing and not indicative of who you are or the work you do.”