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Air Force Veteran Lester Lyles Named Chair of DOD’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee

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Lester Lyles, a retired U.S. Air Force general, has been named chair of the newly formed Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, assigned Lyles and 19 other civilians, some of whom are military veterans, to provide advice on equal opportunity and racial and ethnic diversity matters, the Pentagon said Friday.

Lyles has more than two decades of leadership experience in the military and private sector. He served as chairman of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission in 2009, and continues his work on diversity and inclusion matters through community service. He is chairman of the board at KBR and a member of the board of directors at JobsOhio and Frontier Technologies.

His distinguished military service includes positions as vice chief of staff of USAF and commander of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Kristen Kavanaugh, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Tesla, will serve as vice chair.

The other committee members are:

  • Byron Bagby, managing partner, BMB Strategies
  • April Beldo-Lilley, director, executive operational planning, USAA
  • Vincent Brooks, consultant principal, WestExec Advisors
  • Phillip Carter, senior director of corporate counsel, Salesforce
  • Lisa Carrington Firmin, CEO, Carrington Firmin
  • Lawrence Gillespie, international consultant
  • Gregory Jenkins, CEO, Greg Jenkins Consulting
  • James Johnson, CEO, Operations Gratitude, and vice chairman, U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Visitors
  • Walter Kaneakua, professor, U.S. Naval War College, and adjunct professor, Pacific Rim Christian University
  • Thomas Lee, of counsel, Hughes Hubbard & Reed
  • Nelson Lim, director of workforce, development and health program, RAND Project AIR FORCE
  • Jeffrey Means, department chair and associate professor, University of Wyoming
  • Horacio Rozanski, president and CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Alfredo Sandoval, founder and managing partner, the Private Investment Group, and co-founder, Creosote Partners
  • Celia Szelwach, professor, Cabrini University
  • Heidi Urben, professor, Georgetown University
  • Linda Urrutia-Varhall, vice chair, board of directors, National Military Intelligence Foundation and board of directors, National Intelligence University Foundation
  • Frances Wilson, board of directors, Sentara Healthcare