As a retired United States Air Force veteran, Lametrice S. Sims understood the importance of continuous professional development beyond her military career, which led to her joining Federally Employed Women (FEW).
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. Since 1968, the nonprofit has advocated for equity and diversity for women. FEW works for the advancement of women in the Government with cutting-edge training, nationwide networking, and invaluable insight.
As a graduate of FEW’s first Mentoring Program, Ms. Sims highly recommends FEW membership to others so they can invest in their future by applying for and participating in this life-enriching program. Although, we live in a digital world where most things are one click away, Sims expressed, “The most valuable knowledge can only be gained through one’s shared personal experiences.” FEW uses resumes to match senior-level mentors with complementary mentees, aligning interests, backgrounds, or goals. The mentees receive a copy of their assigned mentor’s career bio and the pair then follow up with an initial meeting via Zoom.
“This six-month collaboration definitely supported FEW’s commitment to assisting the advancement of women in the Federal Government,” Sims said. “As a retired Air Force veteran and a 14-year federal civil service employee, I can attest to the growth of my professional network from the relationships established with other mentees and my assigned mentor, who agreed to continue our mentor-mentee relationship beyond graduation.”
Today, Sims is a Senior Contract Specialist with the United States Department of the Navy-Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. When asked, what were the three things she learned from being a part of the FEW Mentoring Program, Sims replied, “Participation in FEW’s inaugural Mentoring Program provided me refresher training in the subject areas of (1) goal setting/career planning, (2) continuous skills development, and (3) networking. As a professional development facilitator, it is imperative that I continue to build on what I already know. I want to be open to engaging new ideas and perspectives through collaboration with others while pursuing lifelong learning that will result in my continued growth and development,” she said.
In addition to the mentoring program, FEW has helped Sims supplement her military training in different leadership roles within the organization at the local, regional and national levels. To date, she has held the following leadership positions: FEW’s Southeast Region Newsletter Editor, first-ever North Alabama Chapter Newsletter Editor, two-term Chapter-Vice President, Training Chair, Diversity Chair, Steering Committee Member, and Chapter/Regional Training Facilitator.
As the Vice-President/Diversity Chair for FEW’s North Alabama Chapter, Sims has been afforded the rewarding opportunity to network with other professionals who have contributed to the enhancement of her interpersonal skills. She has gained insights to the professional needs and interests of others, allowing her to support their advancement beyond the roadblocks, whether seen or unforeseen.
As a facilitator of past FEW local/regional training workshops and programs, she fulfilled her passion for helping others, providing innovative and interactive training on a variety of subjects designed to offer all attendees a clear understanding of the learning objectives and training goals. Sims’ leadership style encourages healthy conversations and decisions, while helping workshop participants stay on track toward achieving their desired goals.
Sims strongly encourages military veterans (women and men) to join FEW for the advancement of their continued military/civilian careers. “The FEW experiences are wonderful,” Sims said. “Consider applying for FEW’s Mentoring Program – it’s a great start! As an ambassador and recent graduate of FEW’s Mentoring Program, I can testify to the endless benefits of participating.”
FEW members experience a comprehensive program that positions them for professional development and a fulfilling career in the federal workforce. Consider how the association’s experience helps advance its members:
- Training: FEW provides members with knowledge about 1) the federal system, 2) career development and planning techniques, and 3) personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issues that impact women. The nonprofit produces premiere training on the national, regional, and chapter levels.
- Mentoring: FEW offers mentoring opportunities to advance professional development and senior-level leadership skills through the year.
- Networking: FEW delivers opportunities for members to network and develop mutually beneficial, professional relationships that will help them advance in their careers.
- Community Outreach: FEW provides countless community outreach opportunities on the chapter level that give back to communities, sparking fellowship among members.
- Legislation: FEW represents federal employees’ concerns and interests before legislative and judicial bodies. We also produce a “scorecard” that recognizes congressional members who support our non-partisan agenda.
- Diversity: FEW develops strategies to identify and eliminate barriers and increase diversity by examining the demographics of the workforce, including socioeconomic status, communication, thinking styles, and family composition.
- Compliance: FEW works with Federal agencies to help deliver a more equitable and diverse workforce. We monitor the progress made by the Federal Government in achieving equal employment opportunities evidenced by adherence to statutory civil rights protections.
- Member benefits: FEW offers various member benefits including congressional advocacy, legal consultations, career tips and a job bank, member spotlights, financial services, a nationally distributed newsletter, scholarships, awards, and discounts on education and training.
If you are a veteran who is thinking about your next career move, join our community today. Leverage FEW as a tool to build a better path with long-term career goals.