‘Like peeling an onion,’ EO advisor uncovers solutions

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

***image1***Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Equal Opportunity Advisor Sgt. 1st Class Charlotte Phillips, was recently selected as the Medical Command EOA of the Year and will represent her value system at the Department of the Army’s EOA competition Dec. 6 to 10.

“She is the first EO advisor I’ve recommended for this award,” said LRMC Command Sgt. Maj. Craig A. Layton. “Her passion and commitment to the program, along with the fact that she treats everyone with dignity and respect made it easy for me to recommend her.”

As EO advisor Sgt.1st Class Philips disseminates the message that no one shall be discriminated against based on race, color, gender, nationality or religion. In doing so she acts as a sounding board, counselor and mediator. At times, this can be a heavy burden.

“Sometimes I just want to be Sgt. 1st Class Phillips or Charlotte,” she said. “You know, without going to the BX and hearing, ‘Oh, no, here comes the EO!’ But it’s nice that people know where I stand. It’s kind of like when your mom and dad come around, you are going to straighten up a little bit.”

Her job includes monitoring awards and promotions, to ensure they are presented equally to men and women, as well as people of different backgrounds and colors.

“Mediation is like peeling an onion,” she said. “There is a lot of surface anger, but it usually takes hours to get at the real source of the problem.

“There are plenty of cases where one person cannot get along with another person without a conflict resolution in sight. Typically, there is a lack of communication between them, so I put the foes in a non-threatening environment, allow one to speak and give the other a chance for a rebuttal.”

Most of the time, however, the job of an EO advisor is much simpler. For instance, if someone speaking to a formation decides to drop a few four-letter words, Sgt. 1st Class Phillips quickly will correct the issue.

“Sometimes just approaching people and letting them know that what they said was inappropriate will do the trick,” she said. “Just give them something to think about.”

What is offensive to one person may not be offensive to another person, she said.

“Not everyone is politically correct all of the time,” she said. “People are raised with different sets of values. However, I represent the Army’s value system.”