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A Conversation with the Global Community Liaison Office

You may have noticed that the Family Liaison Office (FLO) has recently rebranded itself as the Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO). Our content manager reached out to the office to learn more about this change. Read our questions and their answers below!


AAFSW: Is the name change a better indication of what this office does, or has the role been updated along with the name? (I.e., is this a chicken or egg situation?)

GCLO: For more than 40 years, the Family Liaison Office has served the Foreign Service community. The office name is changing to better reflect the advocacy, programs, and services that the Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) provides to all employees and family members from more than 50 U.S. federal government agencies serving overseas under Chief of Mission authority and returning to the U.S.


AAFSW: How does the new GCLO differ from what was FLO?

GCLO: The office was initially established to advocate for family members and provide programs and services to the larger foreign service community. GCLO will continue to perform and provide the same advocacy, programs, and services as before. Only the name is changing. New name, same advocacy, programs, and services. 


AAFSW: What went into the name change process? How long did it take?

GCLO: From the onset of considering a name change, the office engaged key stakeholders in the process. The office facilitated two community focus groups with a diverse selection of participants reflective of the broad Foreign Service community, including employees and family members from various Foreign Service agencies, and Department of State Employee Affinity Groups. We also engaged Inter-agency Roundtable participants, FLO Weekly newsletter readers, and FLO’s Facebook page – seeking community comments and feedback on the name change. Internally, Global Talent Management bureau colleagues, including FLO, were invited to provide suggestions and feedback. The process took about two months. The name change process continues this summer as we update all our materials, including our website (www.state.gov/gclo), Facebook page, and newsletters.  


AAFSW: Who (person or entity) had the biggest impact on the desire for a new name?

GCLO: We received questions and comments about a name change during the past several years, including on FLO surveys, so the change was community driven. When we first announced we would change our name, various groups and individuals provided input that the name be representative of the greater community and more reflective and inclusive of the diverse individuals and types of families that make up the Foreign Service community. 

AAFSW: What does the future look like for this office?

GCLO:  GCLO is dedicated to providing the same level of service and inclusive programs to the entire Foreign Service community. We are working on updating our materials and expanding our outreach. We’ve created a new page, “Get to Know GCLO,” on our website that lists updated materials and resources. Please visit www.state.gov/gclo to follow the updates. We are also working on new initiatives for Fall 2021, including some short community surveys and updates to CLO professional development seminars.  


AAFSW: Can you share some of the other name contenders? 

GCLO: Through the name change process, the word “community” continued to resonate with the Foreign Service community. We considered various other names that included the word “community” such as Community Support Services, and Community Services and Advocacy. As an office, we appreciated the thought behind each suggested name. The creativity and sense of purpose that went into the proposals reinforced a community committed to mutual goals.  


AAFSW:  What should we call you for short? G-CLO (i.e., Gee-CLO or Guh-CLO)?

GCLO: Great question. For short, you can call us G-CLO (Gee-CLO).