Dr. Terri A. Dickerson

Director Civil Rights Staff (CG-00H)

U.S. Coast Guard


Terri A. Dickerson a member of the government’s Senior Executive Service since 2000, joined the Coast Guard in 2006 as Director, Civil Rights Directorate. From 2000 to 2006, she was Assistant Staff Director at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Among duties, she examined federal agencies’ civil rights offices, and advised officials, Congress, and the White House on improved enforcement. In 2005, the White House installed her as the interim agency head after the outgoing chief departed, and until a new appointee was confirmed.

She served as Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Small Disadvantaged Business (1998-2000). She supervised a staff of 80 employees and 90 private contractors in certifying and creating a registry of women-, veteran-, and minority-owned, firms eligible to participate in Federal procurement. She received an award for producing a broadcast, which presented the effects of the Adarand v. Pena decision on women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses.

She served as Executive Director for the nationwide American Women in Radio and Television (1993-1998). She offered recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission, National Telecommunications Industry Agency, Congress, and other entities on adopting policies which enhanced the participation of women and minorities in communications. She worked collaboratively with media companies and interest groups in recommending effective equal employment policies. She was among a small group of women selected to meet at the White House to advise the Vice President concerning national women’s policy. She was consulted on and contributed to President Clinton’s landmark “Mend It, Don’t End It” speech on affirmative action.

Director Dickerson has written articles for industry and national publications including The Washington Post, USA-TODAY, and The Ladies' Home Journal. Her book, 50 Activities for Diversity Training, (1993) was a bestseller for HRD Press. She has written and contributed to many reports that bear the U.S. government seal. The U.S. Supreme Court cited a study she directed, Beyond Percentage Plans: The Challenge of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Another study she directed earned an award from the National Congress of American Indians. She was named a Presidential Meritorious Executive in 2008. In 2014, she received the Benjamin Hooks Distinguished Service Award from the NAACP for forming, implementing, and facilitating policy which promotes fairness and equity.

Director Dickerson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), a Masters degree from the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) and a Ph.D. from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). She has served on many boards of directors. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Director Dickerson is among students who, in 1962, were the first to integrate the New Orleans Catholic school system.