Distinguished visitor shares importance of diversity Published Jan. 16, 2014 By Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) -- McConnell Air Force Base hosted a distinguished visitor from the Senior Executive Service to speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast Jan. 16. Dr. Jarris Taylor, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for the strategic diversity integration, reflected on his area of specialty -- diversity. "We aim high and achieve mission excellence because we are a diverse and inclusive total force," he said. "I'm a firm believer and proud to say that diversity is an integral part of our core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, and (it) defines us as Airmen." The doctor also joined 20 Airmen for a luncheon, sharing his experiences as a prior-enlisted Airman. Similar to the theme of his speech, conversation topics were diverse and ranged from education, networking, rank progression to other resources that Airmen may not have been familiar with. "It was a great experience to get the chance to actually meet Dr. Jarris Taylor and listen to the advice and wisdom he had to say," said Airman 1st Class Carlos Gonzales, a 349th Air Refueling Squadron aviation resource manager. "I've felt extremely motivated to make the best out of my career after that sit down." Taylor emphasized that Airmen should never be afraid to ask questions from leadership and should actively seek opportunities "hidden in plain sight." "He changed my outlook on my Air Force career greatly," Gonzales said. "I'm now more motivated to strive for the best and take advantage of every great opportunity the Air Force presents to me and keep pursuing to further my education throughout my career." Taylor's visit was not solely to provide Airmen with his experience; he also toured throughout the base, extending his knowledge of air refueling operations. "In my humble opinion, you, the members of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing and all assembled in the audience, you are the world's most valuable resource," Taylor said. "Now it's your time to share your diversity and unity in the Air Force along with Dr. King's dream. You are our best hope for the future."