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Shavondalyn Givens - All About the Conversations
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Diversity Program Analyst Shavondalyn Givens enjoys engaging in thought-provoking conversations.

Name: Shavondalyn Givens
Title: Diversity Program Analyst
Organization She Works For: Code 120, Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Office of the Director

What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? How do you help support Goddard’s mission?

I’m the program manager for the Diversity Dialogue Project (DDP) where participants learn Goddard’s definition of diversity and inclusion and why they are important for mission success. Diversity is the combination of similarities and differences that we all share and what makes each individual unique. Inclusion means creating a work environment where each employee feels valued because of what they can offer. I’m also the program manager for three advisory committees: veterans; new and developing professionals; and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.

How important are teamwork and collaboration?

My work involves building teamwork and collaboration across the center. I begin by forming and maintaining relationships, which means making time for people, valuing the relationship and learning what is important to them. Bringing together people with different skills and really appreciating what each person brings to the table makes a team work. Teamwork can also involve mentoring and coaching. Mentoring is sharing knowledge and pointing the way to opportunities. I’m also really big on peer mentoring, which is learning from my co-workers. Coaching helps with career development by making the most of any opportunities.
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Shavondalyn Givens outside her office at Goddard. Credit: NASA

Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?

I have been totally inspired by The Leadership Colloquium, which is a series of speakers from outside of Goddard who come here to talk. I think that everyone should go to at least one. My favorites are Simon Sinek, who spoke about “starting with why,” and Cam Marston, who talked about different generational viewpoints in the workplace.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?

I’m still amazed that I actually get paid to facilitate the DDP because it is so cool! DDP is a learning lab. Our conversations are completely authentic because people really share who they are and bring their different perspectives.

What was your best day or the best thing that ever happened to you at Goddard?

I really loved Celebrate Goddard Day and Explore@NASA Goddard. I enjoy being on the mall in the sun surrounded by people having fun and also letting my family and friends come see all the cool stuff we are doing.

What makes Goddard a great place to work?

It’s fantastic that I get to work with other people who are just as passionate about what they do as I am. I’m always out meeting and talking to lots of different people. I try to get to know each and every one of them. Because of the people, Goddard is a place where you can have great conversations. I just had one about Goddard’s Music and Drama’s current production, “Showboat,” which is a musical about race relations in America. Everyone has a different, really passionate opinion about this musical. Some view the story as controversial while others see it as historical.

I also love that Goddard feels like a college campus. Nearly every month the advisory committees host great events and speakers so we have a wealth of thought-provoking and educational opportunities. Also, you can get involved with all the various clubs.

I truly appreciate Goddard’s willingness to offer flexible work schedules. Flexibility is very important to me because I have son named Jackson who is “four years old going on fifty.”

Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?

Most people may not know that I’m a licensed attorney. I was very interested in labor and employment law. I am also a native Californian and hate the cold weather on the East Coast.

Do you have a favorite book, magazine, movie, or TV show?

I like TV shows about the criminal justice system. My current favorite is “The Good Wife,” but I also watch reruns of “Law and Order” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

Is there some place in the world that you want to visit or someplace you have been and want to go back?

I really want to visit the Dominican Republic. I would also love to go back to Bali, which has the most amazing beaches and sunsets I have ever seen.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD