By Daniele Schoenauer
Locally Employed (LE) staff represent two-thirds of all Department of State employees; they are the institutional knowledge and backbone of every Mission. Held in 2019, the inaugural LE Staff/Foreign Service National (FSN) Recognition Day set the tone for incredibly successful and joyous events. This year, however, has posed unprecedented challenges, with the pandemic affecting all staff. No one could have imagined so many U.S. direct hires (USDHs) leaving posts for extended periods, while many posts worked quickly to enable LE staff to telework for the first time. Despite the challenges, LE staff and FSNs stepped up and kept Missions moving forward. This year on LE Staff/FSN Recognition Day, many LE staff were teleworking or on administrative leave; however, posts worldwide still took time to celebrate and recognize the hard work and dedication of their colleagues.
The Bureau of Global Talent Management Office of Overseas Employment (GTM/OE) collected pictures, videos, and readouts from these events. Every Mission celebrated in their own unique way, either virtually or in-person (with social distancing), adding personal touches and messages of thanks. In Bratislava, the ambassador and deputy chief of mission prepared the ambassador’s Michigan-style fudge and hand-delivered the treat to all the LE staff. In Skopje, USDH colleagues and employee family members created handmade thank-you cards and a digital photo book to express their gratitude. Embassy Podgorica hosted a virtual awards-show style celebration, complete with a pre-show red carpet, trivia game, and a COVID-19-related musical number performed by the ambassador and management officer. All of the celebrations were filled with gratitude and hope, honoring the valuable work of LE staff around the world.
View the video messages from Singapore, Tokyo, Maputo, Sierra Leone, and the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs assistant secretary.
Daniele Schoenauer is a human resources specialist in the Bureau of Global Talent Management Office of Overseas Employment.
Video by State Magazine