Mission China strengthens OMS professional development

OMS workshop participants gather at the home of Consul General Sean Stein. Photo by Alison Sierra
OMS workshop participants gather at the home of Consul General Sean Stein. Photo by Alison Sierra

By Zach Alger

Last October, 17 Office Management Specialists (OMSs) from posts across broader China convened at U.S. Consulate General Shanghai for the third annual Greater China Office Management Specialist Workshop. Participants included OMSs from Embassy Beijing and consulates across mainland China, as well as colleagues from Consulate General Hong Kong and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei. The workshop’s theme, Reenergizing Your Why, provided participants with a forum to discuss common goals, motivations, challenges and benefits of their career paths. 

The two-day workshop incorporated several professional development topics, including mid-level bidding, diplomatic property management, records management and best practices. One impactful session emphasized the ways that OMSs contribute to the vital mission goals outlined in the Integrated Country Strategy (ICS). OMSs play an essential role in helping to accomplish each of the four goals outlined in the ICS: rebalance the trade relationship, strengthen regional security, protect American citizens and promote American values. Extracurricular activities bolstered esprit de corps as colleagues strengthened connections during an evening bicycle tour around Shanghai, a trip to Qibao and a reception hosted by Consul General Sean Stein.

As a result of the workshop, participants developed a three-year plan for Mission China OMSs. The plan expands on the existing workshop but also incorporates tradecraft training opportunities, shadowing and mentoring programs, improved information sharing across the mission and increased outreach. To promote the benefits of bidding Mission China, participants designed, directed and starred in a video highlighting the rewarding professional experiences that are available there.

Zach Alger is the office management specialist for the regional security officer in Chengdu.

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