National Training: 7 Reasons Women Will Soar in 2021

Twenty years ago, Michelle Andrews was working as an administrative assistant.

But then she joined Federally Employed Women (FEW), which helps more than one million women become strategic leaders with its four-pillar program that begins with its national training program.

As a member of FEW, Andrews has served in leadership positions at the chapter, regional and national levels. From 2012-2016, she served as the organization’s national president, which required her to become CEO, CFO and COO for the multimillion-dollar organization.

Today, she has advanced her career as a national program manager of EEO and Diversity at the National Ocean Service.

“The information, knowledge, and skills that I have gained throughout my time with FEW has definitely impacted my career progression and personal growth,” said Andrews, who is serving as chair for this year’s National Training Program. “FEW provided me with unique opportunities that I would have never gained had I not been a member.”

FEW’s annual National Training Program is one of those unique opportunities that every federally employed woman should leverage to advance her own career. This year’s event, “Soaring to New Heights”, will be held July 26-30 at the luxurious Houston Marriott Marquis.

The National Training Program is FEW’s premiere training event that brings together presenters, speakers and attendees from across the country. The dynamic workshops align with the Executive Core Qualifications and fundamental competencies identified by the Office of Personnel Management. The objective is to help prepare FEW members with the tools needed to advance their careers back at their respective federal agencies.

Here are seven reasons why every federally employed woman should attend this year’s national event so they can soar in 2021:

Improve Job Performance

The training program’s attendees receive the necessary training to elevate their job performance. Training with FEW gives opportunities for a greater understanding of job responsibilities within their role, which builds their confidence.

Research from McKinsey & Company in partnership with Leanin.org underscores the challenge that women face when they want to earn a management position for the first time. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted—and this gap was even larger for Black women (58) and Latinas (71). Women remained in the minority when it comes to entry-level management positions as men held 62%.

FEW’s training provides its members with more resources and insight to break through and advance their career.

Improve Job Satisfaction

Training creates a supportive workplace. It shows your commitment to be better. Learning is the greatest return on your investment.

Higher job satisfaction will get you noticed in the federal ranks. According to a 2019 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, federal employees gave low marks when asked if they were satisfied with their organization (61%), their pay (63%) or their training (57%).

FEW’s training will improve your morale despite your current workplace culture and better equip you for the next career move.

Improve Productivity

More professional development will put you in the position to become more productive. Training with FEW provides hands-on experience and helps to increase efficiency in processes to ensure project success, which in turn will improve your performance.

Research links professional development with productivity.  A study from the National Center on the Education Quality of the Workforce, for example, found that a 10% increase in workforce education leads to a 8.6% increase in productivity. The report compiled data from 3,100 U.S. employers.

In addition, organizations that offer training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formal training, according to the Association Society for Training and Development. These companies also report a 24% higher profit margin.

More STEM Classes

For the first time, FEW has added a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics component to its 2021 National Training Program. It was added to support a diversified workforce inclusive of women in cybersecurity, space and technology, engineering and biochemistry. Women consist 48% of the total workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but they only represent 26% of computer scientists and 12% of engineers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for STEM occupations in 2019 was $86,989, compared to the median wage for non-STEM occupations at $38,160.

More Leadership Development

The National Training Program includes a two-day leadership course that will include four different topic areas: 1) Building relationships through collaboration, 2) Cultivating Motivation and Engagement, 3) Managing Change, and 4) Mentoring. One of this year’s workshops, The Human Dimension of Leadership, will provide proven strategies that will allow attendees to develop fellow team members more effectively, as well as resolve conflicts, foster teamwork and increase engagement and productivity. Whether you are transitioning into a higher leadership role or working your way into the executive ranks, the ability to get things done through other people is essential for success as a leader. 

Better Team Building

One of this year’s most anticipated workshop, Building your Bench: Keys to Building a Leadership Pipeline, is designed to equip existing leaders with the tools necessary to select candidates for future leadership positions and help determine how to develop candidates to their maximum leadership potential. Top performing organizations and leaders understand that the ability to select, integrate and develop high level leaders is critical to their organization’s success. 

Almost all surveyed employees and executives (97%) believe lack misalignment within a team impacts a project’s desired outcome. Communications is the glue that keeps teams together. Identifying and supporting the best team members will strengthen your leadership position.

More Influence

One of the most engaging and interactive workshops, The Power of Influence, will cover a compilation of strategies and techniques about organizational intelligence, team promotion, trust-building and leveraging your network. The ability to motivate and inspire others to take action is the distinguishing factor between a leader and a manager. The best leaders are those who can successfully influence up, down and across the organization, impacting business results by driving behavioral change.

To register for this year’s National Training Program, click here. If you have questions, please email us or call us between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 800-609-9669.

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month

FEW is celebrating the valiant women throughout history for Women’s History Month.  FEW will shine a spotlight on some historic figures of our great nation that fought for justice, equality and inclusion. Visit throughout the month of March to read about ‘Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.’ We begin with Mary Church Terrell and Amelia Jenks Bloomer.

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Mary Church Terrell, a daughter of former slaves, was a member of the Black middle class who used their standing in society to push for racial equality. She was one of the first African American women to earn a college degree, from Oberlin, where she also received a master’s degree. She became a teacher in Washington, DC and went on to be the first African American woman appointed to the school board of a major city. Terrell’s life work focused on the notion of racial uplift, the belief that blacks would help end racial discrimination by advancing themselves and other members of the race through education, work, and community activism

As the co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women, Terrel’s words “Lifting as we climb” became the group’s motto. She joined the women’s suffrage movement, and worked to persuade Black men to support the cause after Black women were sidelined by suffragists like Alice Paul. As she says in The Vote, “The same arguments used to prove that the ballot be withheld from women are advanced to prove that colored men should not be allowed to vote.”

In 1950, at age 86, she challenged segregation in public places by protesting the John R. Thompson Restaurant in Washington, DC. She was victorious when, in 1953, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated eating facilities were unconstitutional, a major breakthrough in the civil rights movement.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer
(1818-1894)

By Arlisha R. Norwood, NWHM Fellow | 2017

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was an early suffragist, editor, and social activist. Bloomer was also a fashion advocate who worked to change women’s clothing styles.

Bloomer was born in Homer, New York. With only a few years of formal education, she started working as a teacher, educating students in her community. In 1840, she married David Bloomer and moved to Seneca Falls, New York. Bloomer quickly became active in the Seneca Falls political and social community. She joined a church and volunteered with the local temperance society. Noticing his wife’s fervor for social reform, David encouraged her to use writing as an outlet. As a result, she started a column which covered a plethora of topics.

In 1848, Bloomer went to the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. The next year she created The Lily, a newspaper solely dedicated to women. At first, the newspaper only addressed the temperance movement, however due to demand the bi-weekly paper expanded to cover other news. After meeting activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bloomer started to publish articles about the women’s rights movement. In 1849, Bloomer’s husband was elected Postmaster for Seneca Falls. He immediately appointed his wife as his assistant. Bloomer used her office as makeshift headquarters for the Seneca Fall’s women’s rights movement. 

Bloomer’s most influential work was in dress reform. After noticing the health hazards and restrictive nature of corsets and dresses, Bloomer pushed for women to adopt a new style of dress. The pantaloons, now called Bloomers, not only illustrated a departure from the accepted dress for women, the garments also came to represent activists in the women’s rights movement. The style of dress attracted much ridicule from conservative men and women.

In 1851, Bloomer introduced Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony. The meeting set in motion a long-standing partnership between the two activists. In 1853, Bloomer and her husband moved West. While traveling she stopped in many towns and lectured about temperance. She attempted to keep The Lily going, however her move made publishing the paper harder. In 1854, Bloomer decided to sell the paper. Eventually, the couple settled in Council Bluff, Iowa. There, she called on women to become property owners. During the Civil War, Bloomer started the Soldier’s Aid Society of Council Bluffs to help Union soldiers.

Until her death, Bloomer preached on temperance and women’s rights. She served as the President of the Iowa Suffrage Association from 1871-1873. However, because of her relentless dedication to temperance, she often found her ideas at odds with other activists who wanted to focus on other topics in the women’s rights movement. Nonetheless, she never abandoned her commitment to the movement’s agenda. Bloomer passed away at the age of 76 in 1894.

Why Kind Leaders Float to the Top

Integrity. Honesty. Vision. Humility. Focus. Those are some of the qualities you are likely to associate with a strong leader.

However, kindness probably isn’t one of the traits that comes to mind.

Historically, kindness in the business world has been regarded as a weakness. But that is no longer the case. In fact, scientific studies indicate that the most effective way to lead is to treat others with kindness. Organizations that value kindness actually experience considerable and measurable benefits such as less turnover, lower recruitment costs, higher productivity and happier employees.

However, being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you are a manger or head of a department or company. There are several ways you can lead in the workplace—by spearheading a project, running a meeting, presenting a new idea or managing a team. That’s why FEW offers a comprehensive program that positions members for professional development and a fulfilling career in the federal workforce.

Kindness has traditionally been one of the most overlooked leadership qualities. Kind leaders don’t force others to follow, rather their good intentions motivate others to follow their lead, creating a strong team. They exude warmth and compassion and recognize that without their team there is no real leadership. Strong leaders are very capable of making difficult business decisions but do so with compassion and sincerity.

Successful leaders share similar qualities. They have clarity and purpose and are determined to encourage others in service to support a cause or goal, influencing and empowering others through their actions and behaviors. They facilitate dialogue and make things happen. They are top-notch communicators who express their expectations and are accountable for their actions. Above all, they lead by example and do so with kindness and a positive attitude. Kind leaders guide others in a positive way, finding common ground and building cohesiveness among team members.

In the workplace, kindness is expressed through compassion, understanding, patience and generosity. In turn, being kind creates a ripple effect, inspiring employees to do more while also building their confidence and commitment to the organization’s mission.

There is strength in kindness and that is why kind leaders float to the top. Being a kind leader is the next innovation in people-led leadership. Kindness is now being recognized as essential to success. Kind leaders are strong leaders. They set clear expectations, promote growth, exude authenticity, provide honest feedback and, most importantly, treat people like people.

One of the most difficult tasks for a leader can often be building consensus. But if you are calm under pressure, optimistic and encouraging, you will keep morale high and float to the top. Afterall, one of the first steps to becoming a successful leader is showing empathy. Kindness sets the foundation for building a closer connection with your team members. That is why FEW offers mentoring opportunities to advance professional development and leadership skills.

Today, being an efficient leader is more difficult than ever before. With job responsibilities increasing, many employees are self-managing outside the scope of their job descriptions. In addition, hiring and retention are becoming more complicated—team sizes are expanding, and employees are working remotely.

As a leader, you are often judged on whether or not you are getting the job done—but are you doing it with kindness? That is the new measure of success.

Different situations require distinct types of leadership, but kindness will always have a role. To join the exclusive club of kind leaders, set a positive example for others to follow. That’s where your integrity, honesty, vision, humility and focus come into play.

Afterall, we are all happier when we act in service to others. Being an effective leader means constant reflection, personal development, collecting and responding to feedback from the team and taking action.

Whatever your organizational role is, make your mark with kindness.

More than anything, treating others with kindness is the right thing to do. We take our cues from leaders, managers and colleagues and kindness begets kindness.

FEW helps more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce become strategic leaders with its four-pillar program: training, legislation, diversity and compliance.

For more information, visit few.org.

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7 Things Kind Leaders Say

7 Things Kind Leaders Say

Hire good people, treat them with kindness and steer them to success. That is a simple formula for increasing productivity and sustaining engaged, productive employees.

Whether you are a director of a department or a leader of internal teams, the things you say, the way you respond and the actions you take will impact the way employees and colleagues react. It’s no surprise that positive interactions in the workplace create a pleasant and engaged staff, ultimately creating a more sustainable organization. Creating a caring and supportive company culture begins with kind leaders who treat others with empathy.

Kind leaders are trustworthy, exude positive energy and lead by listening. They care as much about their colleagues as they do about business and facilitating communication comes naturally to them.

Here are seven things kind leaders say:

#1. “You are doing an excellent job.”
Kind leaders are positive. They motivate employees with reassuring words and challenge them to do their best. One way you can instill purpose in your team is by commending them for a job well done, including tasks that are outside of their job scope or are “mundane.” Simple, everyday gestures of appreciation in the workplace bring teams together and boost morale. Everyone wants to feel like their work matters. If you are sincere and timely with your positive praise, you will boost productivity and loyalty. Your team will also be more eager to go above and beyond to support company-wide initiatives.

#2. “What’s your take on this?”
Strive to learn from your team, not just teach them. Using this phrase helps to boost your team’s confidence and helps you as a leader gain insight from their valuable feedback. Encourage others to work as part of the larger team to achieve organizational goals. When you ask for input or help strategizing, that shows that you value and appreciate your colleagues, empowering them to speak up and contribute their ideas.

#3. “How are you doing…really?”
People are often skeptical of those in power. In addition to asking colleagues questions that show you  care about their well-being, they also want to know you as a person, not just as a “boss.” Consider team-building activities outside of the office. FEW provides countless community outreach opportunities on the chapter level to spark fellowship among members. Opening up to colleagues and asking questions about their life outside of the office—hobbies, family or interests—will show that you are a “real” person who they can relate to. Taking an interest in your employees shows that you value them and are curious about what motivates them. The stronger your relationship is with them, the more they’ll trust you. Acknowledge your employees’ life outside of the office and encourage them to use their personal days to fully disconnect from work. Make it known that work/life balance is a priority. FEW provides countless community outreach opportunities on the chapter level to spark fellowship among members.

#4. “Where do you want to be in five years?”
Mentoring is a powerful tool. When employees see a clear future and feel supported in their professional endeavors, they are more likely to want to stay with a company for the long term. FEW works toward advancing people in government with cutting-edge training, nationwide networking and invaluable insight, advocating for the advancement of its employees as future leaders of the organization. Ask your colleagues what their goals are and mentor them toward their personal and professional aspirations. Acting as your team’s biggest supporter is an essential part of being a strong leader. This will result in improvements to the organizational structure. It’s no surprise that mentored employees feel more connected to their place of work. That’s why FEW offers mentoring opportunities throughout the year to advance professional development and leadership skills. FEW offers various member benefits ranging from a job bank, legal consultations, a newsletter and discounts on training.

#5. “Mistakes happen.”
As much as you want day-to-day operations and projects to run smoothly, mistakes are bound to happen. Whether it’s a minor miscommunication or a major mistake, handle them with kindness and don’t let your emotions overtake the situation. Instead, think about how you will address the mistake and what you want the outcome to be. That will foster open lines of communication. You may consider using the error as an opportunity to help train or coach your employee. The way you handle a mistake is ultimately a measure of your leadership ability. Remember, no one makes a mistake on purpose. Your colleagues have good intentions and likely feel terrible about messing up.

#6. “How can I help you?”
This question produces a sense of security for your team members, helping them realize that you care and are willing to step in to help them solve problems. Make the office a place where employees want to be. When you listen to what your employees need and offer solutions, they’ll feel encouraged and supported.

#7. “Let’s celebrate!”
Provide praise and recognition often. Whether it’s a big win or something small, it is important to recognize colleagues for hard work and successes, congratulating them for professional and personal achievements. The happier your employees are, the more successful your organization will be.

Being kind isn’t difficult. Remember, a smile and cheerful tone go a long way. Smiling says you care and are approachable. It is an easy way to improve loyalty and retention in the workplace, boosting connection to long term organizational goals.

In fact, a new gauge of successful teams is how connected and energized employees feel by their work. By treating one another kindly, the workplace will be a place employees look forward to returning to—day after day. Commit to positivity and communicate authentically to build high functioning teams.

But most importantly, remember to lead with both your head and your heart.

FEW develops strategies to identify and eliminate barriers and increase diversity by examining the demographics of the workforce, including socioeconomic status, communication, leadership and thinking styles and family composition.

For more information, visit few.org.

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Why Kind Leaders Float to the Top

National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month is a campaign held each January since 2002 to promote youth mentoring in the United States.

Youth who have a mentor are more likely to:

  • Attend and engage in school
  • Complete their education, including college
  • Have more positive relationships and attitudes

Mentoring among adults in business can also be a highly positive, mutually beneficial experience. With the goals of personal and professional development, an experienced individual will share knowledge, experience, and advice with a less experienced person. The relationship should be based on mutual respect and trust. It can offer benefits, personally and professionally, for both the mentor and the mentee.

Benefits to the mentee are expected, and some that are reported include:

  • Provides impartial advice and encouragement
  • Develops a supportive relationship
  • Assists with problem solving
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Offers professional development
  • Encourages reflection on practice
  • Learn from the experience of others
  • Become more empowered to make decisions
  • Identify goals and establish a sense of direction
  • Career advancement

There are many benefits to the mentor as well:

  • Opportunity to reflect on own practice
  • Enhances job satisfaction
  • Develops professional relationships
  • Enhances peer recognition
  • It uses your experience, making it available to a new person
  • It widens your understanding of the organization and the way it works
  • It enables you to practice interpersonal skills
  • It provides personal satisfaction through supporting the development of others
  • Builds leadership skills
  • Improves communication skills
  • Advance your own career
  • Learn new perspectives

In short, mentoring can be a positive and productive experience for all involved. Whether you feel a need for guidance or feel you have experience to lend, consider a mentoring relationship to help you develop both personally and professionally.

Science Update: 5 Tips to Protect Yourself From COVID-19

FEW believes the U.S. government should be a model employer and progress will allow members to appropriately care for themselves or their families without worrying about job security. FEW supports paid leave for federal employees so you can care for your family. Most agencies have also adopted internal policies for employee COVID-19 leave. Please check with your agency’s human resources department for their COVID-19 leave policy. Several U.S. government websites also provide updates about frequently asked questions pertaining to COVID-19.

Schools have gone virtual. Events are cancelled. Businesses have enacted work from home policies and travel bans are in place.

Every aspect of your life, including your daily routine has been significantly altered. It’s completely normal to feel unsettled or anxious.

How can you cope with the disruption and find a “zen” mindset while keeping safe during the coronavirus pandemic?

According to the World Health Organization, the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to avoid exposure by steering clear of the 3Cs—spaces that are closed, crowded or involve close contact. Every day preventative actions, such as social distancing and wearing a mask also help to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Here’s five tips to cope with the stress and protect yourself from COVID-19:

Tip #1: Wear a mask the right way

Although masks keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets when they cough, sneeze or talk, they are not a substitute for social distancing. Always wear a mask in public and when around people who don’t live in your household. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in addition to protecting others from the coronavirus, wearing a mask also offers protection to you from breathing in the virus. The CDC is currently studying the effectiveness of various cloth mask materials.

For maximum protection, be sure you are wearing your mask the right way—put it over your nose and mouth and secure it against the sides of your face. It should fit snuggly. Try not to touch your mask while wearing it, but if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. When removing your mask, handle only the ear loops or ties. Of course, be sure to wash and completely dry your cloth mask each time you wear it.

Tip #2: Maintain an exercise routine
Not only is exercise essential for your well-being during the pandemic but getting your heart pumping for 150 minutes a week can also reduce stress, prevent weight gain, boost your immune system and improve sleep. Afterall, physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. Exercise helps regulate your immune system, which may also reduce severe symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, several studies have linked moderate exercise with decreased rates of influenza and pneumonia, as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Tip #3: Take care of your mental health
During these uncertain times, your mental state can impact every aspect of your life, exacerbating an already challenging situation. That’s why it is important to identify ways you can look after your mental health. Follow trusted news sources, exercise, meditate, take on a new hobby and maintain a daily routine. If you are missing social interaction, consider new, “virtual” possibilities—join a yoga class, take a cooking lesson, find a book club or socialize with FEW. However, if you need additional support during this challenging time, make an appointment to speak with a medical professional.

Tip #4: Run errands safely
When heading to the grocery store or running essential errands, disinfect the handles of your cart or basket before shopping. If possible, do your errands during off hours—early in the day or later in the evening. While shopping, maintain a safe distance from others, preferably six feet apart and only touch items you plan to purchase. Of course, wear your mask, pay using a touchless method that doesn’t require a card, money or touching a keypad. Be sure to sanitize your hands when you are finished shopping. Once you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Then wash them again after putting away your items. When possible, take advantage of online ordering or curbside pickup.

Tip #5: Stay safe at home
Although COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces, there are several ways to keep your home free from germs. Clean high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phone screens and bathroom surfaces) daily by cleaning the surfaces with soap and water and then using an EPA-registered household disinfectant. A recent study found that the coronavirus can remain in the air for up to three hours and live on surfaces such as cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

Although you are likely taking every precaution to stay safe at home and in public, it is a good idea to plan ahead in case someone in your household becomes infected. If possible, the sick person should be isolated to a separate room and bathroom.

For more information, visit few.org.

Native American Alaska Native Heritage Month

Federally Employed Women proudly recognizes Native American Alaska Native Heritage Month. The 2020 National theme is Sovereignty is Sacred:  Sharing Our Rights & Cultures. 

One of earliest recorded attempts to create a day of recognition for the contributions of “First Americans” dates back to 1912, when Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker (Seneca Nation), who founded several Indian rights organizations, persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to recognize “First Americans” Day, which they did for three years.   The first American Indian Day was celebrated in New York, May 1916. The effort was led by a member of the Blackfeet Nation, Red Fox James, who rode across the nation on horseback seeking approval from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating the month of November “National American Indian Heritage Month.” 

Special observances such as Native American Alaska Native Heritage Month were designed for the purpose of providing cultural awareness to everyone. The month of November has been designated to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and to acknowledge the important contributions of America’s indigenous people.  Commemorative activities conducted for special observance months should be educational and inclusive.  As the National theme suggests, autonomy is extremely important to Native Americans, but it is also very important for us to help them preserve traditions and share their history and culture. Connection to history is essential because it establishes a sense of identity and belonging.  There is so much that we can learn from Native American’s deep respect for the earth and harmony with nature, the cycle of all living things, and the love and respect for family and community.

There are many resources available to find programs and activities.  The Society of American Indian Government Employees is a constant resource throughout the year.  During the month of November, Saige will be hosting several virtual programs and commemorative events.  Please visit www.saige.org and share the events with your chapter/region members.

Also during the month, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. 

Please check out https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/ for a calendar of events


About the Artist: Timothy Tate NEVAQUAYA

Timothy Tate Nevaquaya is a Comanche and Chickasaw/Choctaw artist, veteran, and minister from Apache, Oklahoma. The son of the late Comanche master artist and flutist, Doc Tate Nevaquaya and his wife Charlotte Foraker-Nevaquaya, Timothy’s art career began at the foot of his father’s drafting table, as a child. His early education included receiving direction from his father in the basic fundamentals of Native American art
forms, as well as flute making. These early experiences began his dance with Native American art, Native American flute, and Native American history and culture with a strong emphasis on Comanche history. As a youth, he was witness to some of the greatest Southern Plains and other Native American artists from his father’s contemporary circle of friends and colleagues. He has been a part of the reemergence of the Native American flute culture. As a young man, he participated in many of his father’s lectures and demonstrations on the flute. At age 12, he began to compose music on his father’s flutes; at age 14 he began making the flutes.

Early in his career, he immersed himself in the history of the Comanche people through independent studies. He began painting in the flat two-dimensional style reminiscent of the Southern Plains artists before him. As time went along he transitioned into a western American realism style. After many years of hard work and devotion to his art, it was in 2007, that he found his signature style, which can be characterized as, “an accident
on the canvas.” This happy mistake is where the door opened up and led to a great revelation in his artwork and in thought, and which changed the course of his life and his work. After working tirelessly on an Apache Mountain spirit piece at his home studio one night, he smudged the paints on his canvas, which created, “a happy accident.” “I remember smacking the canvas with my paintbrush and it was loaded with paint. I became incredibly frustrated, but through this mistake is when that great door opened up. I saw a different and abstract appearance in my work.” So began the journey with Nevaquaya’s latest style, which is his personal expression of movement and form in contemporary Native American art.

Nevaquaya has performed and shown his work in places such as the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, The Gilcrease Museum of Western Art, The Philbrook Museum, the Oklahoma Governor’s Ball, the Oklahoma State Capitol, The University of Oklahoma, The Great Plains Museum, the Southern Plains Museum, the Comanche Museum other places. He owns and operates Nevaquaya Fine Arts: A Legacy Gallery in Tulsa, OK and makes his home in Apache, Eagletown, and Tulsa Oklahoma
with his sons.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

2020 marks the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and also the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The theme for this year is ‘Increasing Access and Opportunity”.

NDEAM is administered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment. The purpose of National Disability month is to celebrate America’s workers with disabilities and to remind employers of the importance of inclusive hiring. Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy has said, “People with disabilities are experienced problem solvers with a proven ability to adapt. Now more than ever, flexibility is important for both workers and employers. National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the ingenuity people with disabilities bring to America’s workplaces.”

Here are some ideas for federal agencies who wish to participate in NDEAM:

  • Join Feed – Federal Exchange on Employment & Disability. This is an interagency working group which focuses on information sharing, best practices, and collaborative partnerships to help make the federal government a positive employer of people with disabilities.
  • Access the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) – this program connects federal and private sector employees to qualified students and recent graduates with disabilities.
  • Provide federal-specific training – Agencies can use this month to provide training to all employees and refresher training to disability program managers, hiring managers, supervisors, EEO representatives and selective placement coordinators.
  • Start a mentoring program – Federal agencies can participate in Disability Mentoring Day (see References below) on the third Wednesday of October.
  • Feature NDEAM in social media activities – using the hashtag #NDEAM

Resources:

Disability Mentoring Day

What Can You Do?

Ideas for Federal Agencies

Hispanic Heritage Month 2020

Be Proud of your Past and Embrace the Future

Hispanic Heritage Week was first celebrated in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, and the observance was expanded into Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988 under Ronald Reagan. Hispanic Americans today are identified according to the parts of the world that they or their ancestors may have come from, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, or any of the Spanish speaking nations of Central or South America.

As of 2019, the US Hispanic population was numbered at 60.6 million, or about 18% of the US population. Hispanics are the second largest racial or ethnic group. The five states with the largest Hispanic population are California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois.

The starting date of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15, coincides with the independence day of several Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Celebrations are done in many ways, from parades to concerts and food fairs.  On an individual level, visit a museum to study Hispanic artists, or research important Hispanic figures.

Resources:

Hispanic Heritage Month

American Latino Heritage

Hispanic History

US Hispanic Population Figures

September is National Preparedness Month

FEMA disaster plan graphic

The idea behind the September observation of National Preparedness month is to encourage individuals to take important steps to prepare for emergencies. Individuals and families need to be aware of the types of emergencies that may affect them in order to create a useful emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and become engaged in the preparation of their community. National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

There is an abundance of resources available online to assist with information one may need to consider while planning for emergencies. Please see the resources listed at the end of this article for links to that information.

Some of the many considerations for an emergency plan can include:

  • How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is your shelter plan?
  • What is your evacuation route?
  • What is your family communication plan?
  • How do you need to update your plans or preparations with regarded to COVID-19?
  • Medications and medical equipment
  • Dietary needs
  • Pets or service animals
  • Devices and equipment for the disabled
  • Battery and electronics charging backups
  • Reviewing and updating insurance coverage
  • Protecting critical documents and valuables
  • First aid supplies

Take time this month to consider or update your family’s plans for emergencies.


Resources:

FEMA Emergency Preparedness Publications

Department of Homeland Security Website

Making a Plan