Caronell LaMalle Diew wants to give the next generation a head start, something she never had herself.
That’s why she decided to join Federally Employed Women (FEW) in 2009.
“I didn’t think FEW could help me,” recalled Diew about her decision to join the organization. “I thought I could help FEW. FEW was an avenue where I could bring early-on training, awareness and development to the next generation of professionals. These opportunities were not available to me when I began in federal government in the early ‘80s.”
Diew’s dedication and hard work to the community earned her FEW’s 2021 President’s Award.
“I found this person to be a miracle worker, a force unmovable and unstoppable,” said FEW National President Karen Rainey about Diew during the award ceremony. “She is an advocate for women on the job, in the community and in FEW. She is a no-nonsense person who always gives a helping hand. This person has your back. I can say her presence on this board has helped us raise the bar for FEW.”
Diew was involved recently with several important FEW projects that helped advance the organization’s mission.
She identified the artist, Lisa Jones, who updated FEW’s commemorative print, which is now used for fundraising. Jones has created commissioned work for the White House and celebrities. “The organization had a commemorative print that was quite outdated,” Diew said. “It didn’t represent the current state of women and the growth of women so the president asked me to identify an artist who could represent through artistry where we are today and where we would like to be in the future.”
Rainey announced the unveiling in April.
“The print represents our diversity, our unity and the bonding circle of friendship and support received from FEW,” Rainey said. “Seen are a combination of moms, executives, federal employees and business owners all committed to giving back to the community and bonding through sisterhood.”
Diew also helped increase sponsorship for FEW by working with different agencies that have similar models for developing women in the workplace, including diversity, equity and inclusion. She helped identify matching federal agencies and brought them together in a collaborative effort at events—a long-term objective for FEW.
“It is good for our members to see their agencies participate with FEW,” Diew said. “It’s good for FEW to participate with more agencies, and it’s good for the agencies to have another organization support their initiatives.”
STEM Day is a New Day for Women
Diew also served as chair of FEW’s recent STEM Day in 2021. It is a full-day agenda of government, private industry and academia leaders who share a wealth of information on key areas of concentration in the STEM arena to create an awareness and attract the next generation of STEM professionals.
“This is something that will continue to grow forever, as long as we are on the Earth,” Diew says. “It will continue to evolve. We want to continue to support the next generation. STEM-related careers are a path that will continue forever.”
Diew is a strong advocate for the next generation to pursue careers in STEM and STEM-related fields of concentration. In 2019, she learned one of the goals of the then newly-elected FEW President Rainey was to develop a STEM initiative for the organization.
A little while later, Diew approached President Rainey to inquire about supporting FEW in developing a STEM Program. Soon after, President Rainey reached out to Diew to get her perspective on developing a STEM Program. After a few phone calls, STEM Day was planned, with Diew as the chair. The inaugural STEM Day was scheduled to take place in-person in Florida in 2020. However, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled.
However, Diew didn’t give up as the chair and strong supporter of STEM outreach. As the world was shifting operations to virtual platforms because of the pandemic, she encouraged President Rainey to present FEW Virtual STEM Day, which eventually took place in fall 2021. The inaugural program was simply phenomenal.
STEM Day’s premier sponsors were Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), representing speakers and/or exhibitors from National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA); Department of Transportation (DOT); Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); NOAA; Department of Labor (DOL) and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). STEM Day also included a virtual exhibit showcase and career fair. There were nearly 900 combined students and entry-level professionals in attendance from across the United States. To cast a wider net of attendees, Diew proposed STEM Day to remain on a virtual platform to especially reach rural, disadvantaged and under-represented areas.
Joined FEW to Serve
Diew joined FEW in 2009 after attending an event at the U.S. Department of Transportation. After listening to her speak during a Q-and-A session, a FEW officer approached her and asked her to join. So Diew joined and quickly became vice president of her local chapter—for two terms.
She has continued to contribute to the cause ever since.
“FEW is an organization that has four pillars: training, legislation, diversity and compliance,” Diew said. “The four pillars can be advantageous as they work their career development plan. Through FEW, there was another opportunity to use my skillset and see another viewpoint of an organization. You always want to learn more about methodologies. It makes you more aware.”
She will continue to focus on helping the next generation. “I will support them in their training and development, including shadowing assignments with me on projects,” Diew said. “Having them learn new avenues, techniques and management styles gives them more awareness to help them grow in their career path, especially in leadership roles.”
FEW helps more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce become strategic leaders. Since 1968, the nonprofit has advocated for equity and diversity for women. FEW works toward advancing women in government with innovative training, nationwide networking and invaluable insight. For more information, please visit FEW.org.