Tuesday, April 23, 2024

UTSA’s Firmin appointed to inaugural Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

UTSA’s Firmin appointed to inaugural Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 — Lisa Carrington Firmin, founder of the UTSA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (VMA), has been appointed to the inaugural Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion under the direction of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed to this committee,” Firmin said of the new appointment. “It’s almost as if my past leadership journey and experiences in the military, higher education, publications and my own company have all merged to lead me to this very point.” 

This new committee will provide the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies aimed at improving racial/ethnic diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity for military personnel within the Department of Defense (DoD). The committee is composed of prominent individuals from academia and the public and private sectors, with experience in one or more of the following disciplines: defense and national security, organizational and human resources management, constitutional and employment law, and diversity and inclusion.


“We must do better and we can do better. Our uniformed members deserve better.”



Firmin’s experience extends to many of these areas, which is why her leadership is sought by many military-affiliated organizations. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Her term on that committee will end next year.

“The department has done an outstanding job selecting a wide variety of individuals with successful, solid backgrounds and expertise in multiple areas to navigate the important and complex diversity, equity and inclusion landscape,” Firmin said. “I have heard and learned much from UTSA’s diverse student population and the large military-affiliated community—faculty, staff and students—it serves. Bringing multiple perspectives and identities to my committee roles is something that I am quite proud of.”

Firmin retired from the U.S. Air Force as its most senior ranking Latina officer in 2010 after 30 years of service. She lived all over the world, traveled extensively, served as a commander and leader at various organizations throughout her military career and as an expeditionary mission group commander in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.

As the founder of UTSA’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, Firmin’s desire to assist Roadrunners with military ties has been boundless. Under her leadership, the university established the Center for Military Affiliated Students to provide consolidated services to military-affiliated students on campus.

Targeted programming under her watch—which has included priority registration, tailored orientation, emergency funding, veteran resource fairs, professional development, wellness workshops, community partnerships and virtual events focused on women in the military—has been thoughtfully crafted and well-received by students, faculty and staff at the university. These achievements have led to UTSA earning multiple recognitions as a Best for Vets university and a Military Friendly School. She also founded the university’s Top Scholar program.

In Military Times’ 2022 list of colleges that are Best for Vets, UTSA was ranked 31st in the U.S.—a 90-spot leap from its slot in 2021—and 4th in Texas.

After reflecting on a series of difficult events in her personal life and the brutal murder of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen in 2020, Firmin has recently become a vocal advocate for victims of military sexual trauma (MST). She has crafted commentaries about the military’s handling of issues regarding sexual harassment and sexual trauma in prominent media outlets, including 2020 op-eds in the San Antonio Express-News and Military Times, a 2021 interview in VFW Magazine, and a moving appearance in the Univision documentary “#IamVanessaGuillen.”

In an effort to expand on the national dialogue surrounding MST, Firmin also wrote a book about the encounters of military sexual trauma that she and others have suffered. Titled Stories From the Front: Pain, Betrayal and Resilience on the MST Battlefield, the book was released this spring through Blue Ear Books to coincide with the second anniversary of Guillen’s death.


EXPLORE FURTHER
⇒ Read about how UTSA soared in the 2022 ranking of ‘Best for Vets’ universities.
⇒ Learn more about the UTSA Center for Military Affiliated Students.
⇒ Follow UTSA Veteran and Military Affairs on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Firmin recently started her own company, Carrington Firmin LLC on Leadership, Veterans, Transitions, Military Sexual Trauma and Diversity and Inclusion. However, she is continuing to assist UTSA through the establishment of a VMA advisory board of which she will be a charter member.

“I have been writing and speaking about leadership, underrepresentation, military sexual trauma, disparities, transitions, diversity and inclusion for some time now and believe that the compilation of all my expertise gained across multiple areas can be of service across the Department of Defense,” Firmin said. “We must do better and we can do better. Our uniformed members deserve better.”

Shea Conner



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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

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The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.