WASHINGTON -- An Army civilian was recently recognized with a national award for her career dedicated to promoting workplace diversity.
Jennifer L. Mootz, a building and planning assessment chief with the Army Office of Business Transformation, earned the 2020 Joint Women’s Leadership Excellence Meritorious Service Award on July 10.
The award identifies individuals who personify the Army’s commitment to equality, inclusion, diversity, and leadership initiatives personally and professionally -- something the Army strategist has done her entire career.
Mootz has “made a positive impact through [her] involvement, leadership role, and outstanding contributions to promoting diversity in the Army,” wrote Thomas E. Kelly III, deputy undersecretary of the Army, Office of Business Transformation.
"Her leadership demonstrates that fostering a culture that capitalizes on the diverse backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce,” he added, “and values all people with a commitment to engagement and development is a formula for performance improvement.”
But, if you ask Mootz, the award isn’t really about her, because she feels the honor isn’t hers alone. It’s shared with the leaders who mentored her in the past, as well as the future leaders she mentors today.
“I’m where I am today because of the coaches, mentors, and teachers I’ve had in the past, and my motivation to pay it back to others,” Mootz said. “Whether it’s volunteering to mentor or in the supervision of those who are charged to lead, there’s nothing more gratifying to me than helping others.”
Mootz graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany. The daughter of an Air Force officer, it seemed only fitting her first job was in the country her family was stationed at.
After college, she took a job “handing out pool cues at the recreation center,” she said, at the Army’s 235th Base Support Battalion in Pirmasens, Germany. “I was 22 and lost my ID, so instead of returning to the U.S., I did the next best thing -- started working for the Army.”
From then on, she hasn’t looked back.
In the years that followed, Mootz relocated more times as a civil servant than she ever did with her military family, she said. With every permanent change of station came another wave of experiences. Mootz went from passing out pool cues to setting up the Army’s first business strategy, innovation strategy, and enterprise data analytics strategy for Army business.
At the transformation office, Mootz manages and mentors a team of civilian and military strategists, management analysts, and operations research analysts in the development, implementation, and performance assessment of plans and policy that drive Army business and innovation.
In the past, “other awards have been a recognition of things I’ve done,” she said. “This one is important to me because it goes beyond my accomplishments as a leader and to my orientation as a leader, which is leveraging and promoting a climate of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”
How that’s accomplished, she said, is through coaching, mentoring, and teaching the next generation of military and civilian leaders. At all levels, Mootz believes there are individuals who are motivated to do great things for the Army.
“At any organization -- and at any level -- when you bring diverse people together from diverse backgrounds, [and you] empower them, then coach, teach, and mentor them… great things happen,” she said.