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The 2022 BEYA recipients of career achievement awards gave acceptance speeches at the BEYA Gala. They expressed gratitude for the support and inspiration they received from their loved ones, colleagues, and faith.

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Adedeji B. Badiru, Ph., the dean of the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology, thanked his coworkers for their contribution to his success.

He acknowledged the power of education, especially in STEM fields, and his commitment to youth development and mentoring.

He also emphasized his social responsibility activities, including supporting public service programs and creating guidebooks on balancing home, work, and leisure. He thanked his wife for standing by him for over 45 years and celebrated their joint achievements.

Commander Desmond Walker, the prospective executive officer of the USS Bainbridge in the U.S. Navy, shared his experience of receiving encouragement from his uncle before he joined the Navy.

His uncle advised him not to let his skin color be the reason for his failure. This advice taught him personal accountability and responsibility.

He emphasized the importance of representation and performance in achieving success and thanked everyone who supported him. He ended his speech by encouraging others to keep grinding and working hard.

Denise Russell Fleming, the vice president and CIO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security at The Boeing Company, shared her story of growing up in a supportive family that encouraged her to chase her dreams.

She emphasized the importance of taking chances in life and not settling for ordinary things. She acknowledged the challenges faced by women of color and the glass ceilings they need to break.

She thanked her mentors, role models, husband, and two sons for supporting her. She encouraged others to find their village, identify their gifts, and step out on faith to become their best selves.

Thomasina Russell Wright, the program director of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), shared her journey of breaking barriers and paving the way for others.

She thanked the HII leaders for giving her every opportunity to succeed and her husband and family for their support. She emphasized her role as a female and minority role model for her four daughters and encouraged them to strive for more.

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