Last year, the Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in Diversity went to Tom Gallant. Tom has been at the Lab for about 20 years. He started as a temp hired to scan documents for just four days, back when scanning was a new thing. It was so new, they didn’t even have the scanner yet. Then Tom was asked to support former Lab Director Andy Sessler after he went back to being a researcher. Working with Andy gave Tom the taste for supporting science. Tom learned about the history of the Lab through him, and now enjoys telling science stories about the Lab.
Tom is currently a Program Manager in the Nuclear Science Division, supporting science mostly behind the scenes by managing operations and supervising the administrative staff to make sure that the scientists get the help they need – on anything from submitting a proposal to just getting a signature – so that the scientists can focus on their research. Tom’s superpower is intersectionality: getting everyone together to figure out how they can work together – that’s team science and that makes Tom a child of the Lab.
Q: What’s special about working at the Lab?
A: I wouldn’t work anywhere else. I have always been supported at the Lab with supervisors who have promoted my growth and development. I know that’s not the case everywhere, and I try to ensure that everyone else has the same opportunities. When I came to the Lab, I didn’t have a career plan. I didn’t go to college, yet I always felt I could have an impact on both the Lab’s mission and culture.
Q: What did winning the Director’s Award mean to you?
A: This is a shared recognition. I’m a co-chair of the Lambda Alliance EAA and a member of the Lambda Alliance ERG, it’s been gratifying to see more participation in the ERG and at the Pride Parade (June is Pride Month!). More than one person has said to me that they’ve come to the Lab because of this group. Everyone is invited to join any of the ERGs and get to know us as fellow employees. I want to continue making the Lab an open, welcome environment.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am co-chairing a mental health initiative with the All Access ERG to spread the word about mental health resources available to not only employees but also for their family members. The events of the past few months make the availability of mental health resources more important than ever. I am involved because this can have a significant impact on lives, and I like helping people feel like they belong at the Lab.