Conference Highlights Opportunities for Uniformed, Civilian Women

Story Number: NNS110725-13Release Date: 7/25/2011 8:36:00 PM
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By Lt. Laura K. Stegherr, Diversity Directorate Public Affairs

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- The Navy was a key participant advocating the professional development and advancement of women during the Federally Employed Women (FEW) 42nd National Training Program in Philadelphia, Penn., July 18-22.

The conference, with the theme "Your Future, Let it Ring the Sound of Success!" featured keynote speeches, panel sessions, training classes and professional seminars for nearly 1,500 attendees, which included federal, civilian and military leaders, senior management officials and employees representing a wide variety of occupations.

Mentoring and the elimination of barriers to success were key themes included in the program.

Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management John Berry provided opening remarks at the conference and reflected on the importance of workforce inclusion to mission success.

"We want to make the federal government the employer of choice. Not just for women, but for all Americans," said Berry. "A workforce that reflects the population that it serves, serves better. We know the needs of our communities better. But it's not enough to just get people through the door. All too often, we hire people because they're different - and then drive them away because they're not the same. That doesn't help anybody. We have got to do better at making people feel included so that they can succeed and advance and be promoted."

"Over the course of our nation's history, women have made great strides in breaking down barriers and pursuing their portion of the American Dream," continued Berry. "Women now serve in combat and steer some of America's most successful businesses. They are world-class athletes, astronauts, and now one-third of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a nation, we have made progress. But there is a lot more to do."

The conference also featured a Department of Defense agency forum July 18, which gave DoD participants an opportunity to hear remarks from several female military and civilian leaders, including Sharon Smoot, SES, executive director for logistics, maintenance and industrial operations at Naval Sea Systems Command.

"I'm with the Navy. We're here to support the Fleet. We have the greatest Navy in the world," commented Smoot. "Why? Because of people, and the passion those people bring to their day job. The people that wear the cloth, the people that salute the flag, the people that wear business suits. They bring passion to everything they do."

The Navy was also recognized during an awards ceremony July 19, when FEW presented a Military Recognition Award to Lt. Cmdr. Lesley Donelson, who is currently serving as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Stakeholder Integration team lead at Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Mechanicsburg, Penn.

FEW's Military Recognition Award is an annual recognition given to a maximum of six "exceptional" military members, one for each service and one for a member of the National Guard. The award recognizes service members that support and promote diversity, equality and the advancement of women in their respective services.

Navy Capt. Ken Barrett, deputy director of DoD's Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, presided over the awards ceremony.

"As a strong partner, the Department of Defense stands with you, united, to move the needles with respect to women's representation throughout the armed services and the civilian corps," said Barrett. "And what a great event - any time we can come together to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our service members and civilians, it's truly a great day."

"This reception is a proud reflection of FEW's commitment to all of our service men and women, civilians and their families and especially those award winners whose attributes truly epitomize our core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty," continued Barrett. "Most of us have heard the phrase, 'history is her story too.' To that point, it is fitting that we use this wonderful opportunity to pay special tribute to those women who truly exemplify the kind of sacrifice and selfless service to America that we all should try to emulate."

Federally Employed Women is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1968 to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for inclusion and equity in the workplace, and for the advancement and professional growth of women in federal service. FEW has grown into a national organization serving over one million federally employed women-both in the military and civilian workforce.

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