Unsung Hero: Alex Tremble Awards FEW for Leadership

When podcast host Alex Tremble recognized unsung heroes of federal service for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, he bestowed his honor on several worthy individuals who shined during a time of uncertainty in 2020.

But he made one exception. Tremble also honored one organization for its ability to adapt and serve its members. And that award went to Federally Employed Women (FEW).

Out of more than 500 write-in nominations, FEW was the one organization that people chose as their unsung hero.

“This organization is on fire!” Tremble proclaimed on “The Alex Tremble Show” as it honored FEW.

During a national shutdown in 2020, FEW quickly adapted and moved its operations online so its members—stretched out over 10 regions and 90 chapters across the country— could continue to network, train and communicate.

FEW’s National President Karen Rainey, who appeared on “The Alex Tremble Show” to accept the honor, said the pandemic ultimately motivated the organization to expand its reach globally by shifting its operations online.

Oddly, the organization found itself in the right place and right time. Rainey’s strengths in project management, IT and communications positioned FEW to help more people when more people were searching for a lifeline.

“I’m a servant,” said Rainey when asked about her purpose. “I try to assist as many people in the world to find their purpose and their dreams. That is my purpose—to elevate people to achieve more to conquer more to dream bigger—and that’s why it’s so exciting to serve as president of FEW.”

Rainey said the contributions from members have made FEW a successful organization that continues to advance women in government for 53 years. FEW is open to new volunteer members who are willing to give their time and talent to something bigger than themselves.

“When you volunteer, you are gaining relationships,” Tremble said. “You are building skills.”

As a lifelong member of FEW, Angela Lewis made the decision to invest in herself and develop her professional skills so she could advance her career. Earlier this year, Lewis used her drive and determination to shatter a glass ceiling, when the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane’s Division promoted her to technical director. She is the first women to hold that position.

As the senior civilian at the command, she leads 3,800 military and government civilians, providing the Navy with multi-domain, multi-spectral, full life cycle support in the mission areas of Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. 

From Lewis’ perspective, helping FEW means helping yourself.

“It’s great to see what the organization can do for you, but it can only be as strong as the people are willing to give,” Lewis said. “They will only get out of it what they are willing to invest.”

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 toward advancing women in government with cutting-edge training, nationwide networking and invaluable insight. 

“I help people soar,” Rainey said. “To soar, you have to climb first.”

If you are ready to climb so you can develop yourself, join FEW today and begin the journey.

Equal Rights Amendment: Why It’s More Important Today

Do you remember 1972?

Gasoline was 55 cents a gallon. A new home cost a little more than twice your average income, which was just shy of $12,000 a year. Rent was $65 a month. And the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by the U.S. Senate and sent to the states for ratification.

That was a real long time ago.

So we know what happened to a gallon of gas. It’s headed toward four bucks a gallon this summer.

But whatever happened to the ERA? Well, a lot. In any case, members of the Federally Employed Women (FEW) need to read carefully because this story will actually end with us.

“In order to understand the ‘why’ as it relates to the Equal Rights Amendment and its importance for women, you need to understand the journey of women as a class,” said Shabiki E.C. Clarke, who is FEW’s vice president for Congressional Relations. “It is impacted by the social, economic, political and moral components, which help to convey equality to women.”

The ERA is a proposal that would add gender and gender identity protections to the nation’s premier legal document, the U.S. Constitution. As written, the Constitution doesn’t mention “women” or “sex” (i.e. gender). Proposed language from section 1 of the ERA reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Some legal scholars believe women are already legally protected from legal discrimination based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the amendment protects women from sex discrimination. However, others including the late Justice Antonin Scalia believe there isn’t any explicit guarantee of protection against discrimination in the Constitution.

Women endure many forms of discrimination ranging from civil rights to health care, but one of the most damaging is lack of access to capital.

And where to women receive most of their capital? The workplace.

The U.S Department of Labor recently published findings that would reinforce why ratification of the ERA is more important today than when it was originally passed by the Senate:

  1. Women Still Earn Less. In 2020, women’s annual earnings were 82.3% of men’s, although the gap is slowly improving. Women made 57 cents per dollar earned by men in 1973, when the Department of Labor started its research.
  2. There are too many ‘Equal Pay Days’ in a year. Based on 2020 earnings, a woman must work until March 24, 2021 to make the same amount of pay as a man did in 12 calendar months. But that’s not true for most women of color. A Black woman would have to work until August 3, while a Native American woman would have to work until September 8. Latinas would have to work until almost Halloween (Oct. 21).
  3. Advanced degrees widen the pay gap for women. Compared to white men with the same education, Black and Latina women with a bachelor’s degree have a 65% pay gap, while Black women with advanced degrees earn 70% of what white men with advanced degrees earn.
  4. Pandemic has set women back 30 years. A locked-down economy in 2020 hit women the hardest between layoffs and lack of childcare, forcing many mothers to leave the workforce. In fact, women’s labor participation rate fell to 55.8%—the same rate as April 1987. Women of color who worked in low-income jobs were greatly impacted. “When they come back to work, those women are not coming back at the same level,” Clarke said. “The only way this will change is if the ERA becomes law.”

The Road to Equal Rights

When the Senate passed the ERA in 1972, the legislation needed 38 states for ratification. Originally, it needed to be done within seven years, but advocates lobbied Congress to extend the deadline to 1982. Momentum began to fizzle. The second deadline passed three states short of the goal.

Recently, Nevada ratified the legislation in 2017 and Illinois followed suit in 2018. Virginia became the 38th state to ratify on January 27, 2020. However, a federal district judge has ruled that the deadline for ERA “expired long ago” and recent ratifications involving the three states arrived “too late to count.”

Despite the ruling, the movement continues to push forward. A bill to remove the ERA’s time limit, H.J. Res. 17, has passed through the House of Representatives by a 222-204 bipartisan vote.

Moving Forward: Actionable Items

Clarke said FEW members can help ratify the ERA with a little resolve on their own behalf.

“FEW members can support the passage of the ERA by having the complete knowledge of what was happening before the ERA came about,” she said.

For starters, members can review Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President L.B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 to amend the bill to now include federal government and civil services. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act helped necessitate the use of Affirmative Action policies in the hiring process, which increased the number of women and people of color in the workforce.

In addition, FEW chapters can lead monthly letter-writing campaigns at the local level of representation, followed by the annual Advocacy Day in early June. Members can begin by supporting H.J. Res. 17 in the House of Representatives and S.J. Res. 1 in the Senate, which would eliminate the ERA’s deadline.

Clarke said there is a percentage of women who are comfortable with the status quo, which ultimately could jeopardize ratification of the ERA. But FEW, bent on career advancement for its members, can help. “You might have to surround yourself with a team who will expose you,” said Clark who joined FEW three years ago and has been promoted twice recently. “You can find it if you want it.”

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month: Janet Louise Yellen

FEW is celebrating the valiant women throughout history for Women’s History Month. FEW shined a spotlight on some historic figures of our great nation that fought for justice, equality and inclusion. Visitors throughout the month of March read about “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.” We end our series with Janet Yellen. 

Janet Louise Yellan (1946 – )

Source: https://home.treasury.gov/about/general-information/officials/janet-yellen

Secretary Yellen is the first woman to lead the U.S. Department of the Treasury in its 231-year history, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate on four separate occasions. 

On January 26, 2021, Janet Yellen was sworn in as the 78th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. An economist by training, she took office after almost fifty years in academia and public service. She is the first person in American history to have led the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department. 

Janet Louise Yellen was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 1946. Her mother, Anna Ruth, was an elementary school teacher while her father, Julius, worked as a family physician, treating patients out of the ground floor of the family’s brownstone. 

In 1967, Secretary Yellen graduated from Brown University and went on to earn her PhD at Yale. She was an assistant professor at Harvard until 1976 when she began working at the Federal Reserve Board. There, in the Fed’s cafeteria, she met fellow economist, George Akerlof. Janet and George would marry later that year. They would go on to have a son, Robert, now also an economics professor. 

In 1980, Secretary Yellen joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where she became the Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor of Business and Professor of Economics. She is Professor Emeritus at the university. 

Secretary Yellen’s scholarship has focused on a range of issues pertaining to labor and macroeconomics. Her work on “efficiency wages” with her husband George Akerlof studied why firms often choose to pay more than the minimum needed to hire employees. These businesses, they found, are often making a wise decision. Firms that offer better pay and working conditions tend to be rewarded with higher morale, reduced turnover and greater productivity. 

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed then-Dr. Yellen to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Three years later, he named her Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. 

In 2004, Secretary Yellen began her third tenure at the Federal Reserve, this time as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From that post, she spotted a worrying economic trend – a 

bubble in home values. When the housing bubble popped in 2008, Secretary Yellen helped manage the resulting financial crisis and recession. In 2010, President Barack Obama, appointed her Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, before nominating her to succeed Fed Chair Benjamin Bernanke as the nation’s top central banker. Secretary Yellen would serve as Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 until 2018. 

On December 1, 2020, then-President-elect Biden nominated Dr. Janet Yellen to the post of Treasury Secretary. “She has spent her career focused on unemployment and the dignity of work,” he said, “She understands what it means to people and their communities when they have good, decent jobs.” 

Prior to serving at the Treasury Department, Secretary Yellen was a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. During 2020-2021 she served as President of the American Economic Association. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was also a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council. 

Secretary Yellen has served on the advisory boards of the Bloomberg New Economic Forum, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Fix the Debt Coalition (CRFB), and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Steering Committee. She was elected to the Yale Corporation as an alumni fellow in 2000, serving until 2006. 

Dr. Yellen has received honorary doctorates from Bard College, Brown, the London School of Economics, NYU, the University of Baltimore, the University of Michigan, the University of Warwick and Yale from which she also received the Wilbur Cross Medal for dis

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month: Kamala Harris

By Gregory Lewis McNamee

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.” This week we feature Kamala Harris. 

Kamala Harris (1964 – )

Kamala Harris is the 49th vice president of the United States in the Democratic administration of Pres. Joe Biden. She was the first woman and the first African American to hold the post. She had previously served in the U.S. Senate (2017–21) and as attorney general of California (2011–17). 

Photo courtesy of brittanica.com

Her father, who was Jamaican, taught at Stanford University, and her mother, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was a cancer researcher. Her younger sister, Maya, later became a public policy advocate. After studying political science and economics (B.A., 1986) at Howard University, Harris earned a law degree (1989) from Hastings College. 

She subsequently worked as a deputy district attorney (1990–98) in Oakland, earning a reputation for toughness as she prosecuted cases of gang violence, drug trafficking and sexual abuse. Harris rose through the ranks, becoming district attorney in 2004. In 2010 she was narrowly elected attorney general of California—winning by a margin of less than 1%—thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post. After taking office the following year, she demonstrated political independence, rejecting, for example, pressure from the administration of Pres. Barack Obama for her to settle a nationwide lawsuit against mortgage lenders for unfair practices. Instead, she pressed California’s case and in 2012 won a judgment five times higher than that originally offered. Her refusal to defend Proposition 8 (2008), which banned same-sex marriage in the state, helped lead to it being overturned in 2013. Harris’s book, Smart on Crime (2009; cowritten with Joan O’C. Hamilton), was considered a model for dealing with the problem of criminal recidivism.

In 2012 Harris delivered a memorable address at the Democratic National Convention, raising her national profile. Two years later she married attorney FEW Weekly Web Update March 22, 2021 Douglas Emhoff. Widely considered a rising star within the party, she was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer, who was retiring. In early 2015 Harris declared her candidacy, and on the campaign trail she called for immigration and criminal-justice reforms, increases to the minimum wage and protection of women’s reproductive rights. She easily won the 2016 election. 

When she took office in January 2017, Harris became the first Indian American in the Senate and just the second Black woman. She began serving on both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee, among other assignments. She became known for her prosecutorial style of questioning witnesses during hearings, which drew criticism—and occasional interruptions—from Republican senators. In June she drew particular attention for her questions to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was testifying before the intelligence committee on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; she had earlier called on him to resign. Harris’s memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, was published in January 2019. 

Shortly thereafter Harris announced that she was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. From the outset she was seen as one of the leading contenders, and she drew particular attention when, during a primary debate, she had a contentious exchange with fellow candidate Joe Biden over his opposition to school busing in the 1970s and 1980s, among other race-related topics. Although Harris’s support initially increased, by September 2019 her campaign was in serious trouble, and in December she dropped out of the race. She continued to maintain a high profile, notably becoming a leading advocate for social-justice reform following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, an African American who had been in police custody. Her efforts silenced some who had criticized her tenure as attorney general, alleging that she had failed to investigate charges of police misconduct, including questionable shootings. Others, however, felt that her embrace of reform was a political maneuver to capitalize on the increasing public popularity of social change. As racial injustice became a major issue in the United States, many Democrats called on Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, to select an African American woman—a demographic that was seen as pivotal to his election chances—as his vice-presidential running mate. In August Biden chose Harris, and she thus was the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket. In November she became the first Black woman to be elected vice president of the United States. 

In the ensuing weeks Trump and various other Republicans challenged the election results, claiming voter fraud. Although a number of lawsuits were filed, no evidence was provided to support the allegations, and the vast majority of the cases FEW Weekly Web Update March 22, 2021 were dismissed. During this time Harris and Biden began the transition to a new administration, announcing an agenda and selecting staff. By early December all states had certified the election results, and the process then moved to Congress for final certification. Amid Trump’s repeated calls for Republicans to overturn the election, a group of congressional members, which notably included Senators Josh Hawley (Missouri) and Ted Cruz (Texas), announced that they would challenge the electors of various states. Shortly after the proceedings began on Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. It took several hours to secure the building, but Biden and Harris were eventually certified as the winners. She later denounced the siege—which many believed was incited by Trump—as “an assault on America’s democracy.” On January 18 she officially resigned from the Senate. Two days later, amid an incredible security presence, Harris was sworn in as vice president. 

About the Author: By Gregory Lewis McNamee, contributing editor, Encyclopedia Britannica; literary critic, Hollywood Reporter. Author of Moveable Feasts: The History, Science, and Lore of Food and more.

Where FEW Women Go: Is There Glass on Your Floor?

Angela Lewis remembers when the mere thought of public speaking made her uncomfortable.

As a lifelong member of Federally Employed Women, she made the decision to invest in herself and develop her professional skills so she could advance her career.

Earlier this year, Lewis used her drive and determination to shatter a glass ceiling, when the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane’s Division promoted her to technical director. She is the first women to hold that position.

Dr. Angela Lewis, Technical Director, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division

As the senior civilian at the command, she leads 3,800 military and government civilians, providing the Navy with multi-domain, multi-spectral, full lifecycle support in the mission areas of expeditionary warfare, strategic missions and electronic warfare. 

So how did she put herself in the position to earn top rank?

Lewis used FEW and its very active Hoosier Hills Chapter as a key to unlock her potential.

“Being able to work with senior leadership on women’s issues enabled me to build those relationships that helped me advance my career,” said Lewis, who earned her PhD., in management and human resources. “Being part of FEW is a great way to work with command and work outside your area.”

Here are three ways Dr. Lewis used the resources at FEW to develop her career:

Learn New Skills.

Early in her career, a supervisor strongly encouraged Lewis to join a professional organization to help her develop her skills. She chose FEW’s Hoosier Hills Chapter, which continues to have an impressive reputation surrounding its professional development opportunities.

Lewis remembers talking herself into developing a very important leadership skill around the time she became Chapter President of the chapter. “I had really little experience with public speaking,” she said. “I knew I was going to struggle as FEW’s Chapter President.”

But that trepidation didn’t stop her from growing.

“I can remember the first time I had to introduce a speaker in front of 150 people,” Lewis added. “I look back on that with fond memories.”

FEW provides it members with knowledge about the federal system, career development and planning techniques, as well as personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issue that impact women.

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.

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 of 48% of the total workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but they only represent 26% of computer scientists and 12% of engineers.

Dr. Lewis supports a more diverse workforce with more women involved in various fields of science.

“As the first woman to serve in this role, I understand what this milestone represents to future generations and young girls interested in STEM and business fields,” said Lewis as part of the statement introducing her as CRANE’S new technical director. “It will take passionate people from diverse backgrounds to meet future mission needs.”

Meet New People.

Lewis credits her career advancement, in part, to her ability to build relationships with senior leadership at command. As a member of the Hoosier Hills Chapter, she had been able to connect with high-ranking officials at the Naval Service Warfare Center on common goals, such as creating a better workplace for all, especially women.

In her new position, Lewis is currently working with Hoosier Hills Chapter members on topics involving the virtual workplace and inclusion in the organization’s culture.

“FEW has an opportunity to mold senior leadership in a way that impacts employees,” Lewis said. 

Aside from networking opportunities in the workplace, FEW also offers a similar style of networking with its community outreach programs, which are supported at the local, regional and national levels. Each year, FEW donates it’s time and funds to various nonprofit organizations for the benefit of women, veterans, children and families of federal workers. The organization’s outreach program makes a difference in various activities that assist in educational programs, veterans’ trainings and events that support our members through giving opportunities.

FEW chapters can sponsor a coat drive, donate supplies to local schools, make donations to a local women’s shelter or organize a “sit in” at a local Veteran’s Administration facility.

In a “Spread Some Cheer To Our Troops” card drive for United Soldiers And Sailors of America, FEW members contributed hundreds of holiday cards to share their gratitude with military personnel who serve our nation in the most honorable way.

FEW’s outreach program was created to bring awareness to the many resources available to enrich its members. Programs hosted by the nonprofit’s partners, as well as regions and chapters, give members an advantage in career enhancement tools and knowledge sharing.

Invest In Yourself.

To invest in herself, Lewis went back to school several times through her career, as well as donate her time and talent to help others.

In addition to training and community service, FEW also offers a mentoring program, which offers mentor and mentee opportunities so members can help themselves by helping another.

The exclusive, annual mentoring program begins with the competitive selection of FEW members to participate followed by 12 months of focused learning objectives, webinars, training sessions and direct mentorship by senior leaders with the federal government. To be eligible for the program, a mentee candidate should be a current federal employee and an active FEW member who holds an elected or appointed position at the regional or chapter level.

Mentee applications must be submitted from April 1, 2021 through April 15, 2021. Chosen candidates will be notified in June, and the 12-month event will kick off at the 2021 National Training Program on July 26-30. Mentee graduation service will be held at the 2022 National Training Program the following July.

For more information about the program, prospective mentees and mentors should visit www.FEW.org/mentor.

“It’s great to see what the organization can do for you, but it can only be as strong as the people are willing to give,” Lewis said. “They will only get out of it what they are willing to invest.”

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month: Sarah B. Cochran and Frances Payne Bolton

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 continue this week with Sarah B. Cochran and Frances Payne Bolton.

Sarah B. Cochran (1857-1936)

Sarah B. Cochran image courtesy of the National Women’s History Museum

Once called America’s only Coal Queen, Sarah B. Cochran was a coal industry leader and philanthropist in an era when American women couldn’t universally vote or serve on juries. By choosing to go out into the world and do the unexpected, she was able to support women’s suffrage and education, and was the first female trustee of Allegheny College.

Sarah Boyd Moore was born on April 22, 1857 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania to farmers of such humble means that they couldn’t afford enough clothes for her to go to school every day. As a young adult, she became the maid in James Cochran’s home. James was a self-made coal industry leader who was the first to sell coal’s byproduct, coke, commercially. Coke was a key ingredient in the steelmaking process, and the steel and coal industries were about to generate incredible levels of wealth in western Pennsylvania.

James Cochran’s son, Phillip, fell in love and married Cochran on Sept. 25, 1879. On Sept. 21, 1880, Cochran gave birth to their only child, James. When her father-in-law died in 1894, Phillip assumed control of the family business. He believed in Cochran’s intellect and taught her the business. Five years later, he died suddenly of pneumonia as a 49-year-old coal magnate. Their son was the expected representative of the family’s estate but died on March 5, 1901 while studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

Already a vice president in the company, Cochran assumed many of her husband’s business responsibilities and board service roles. Among these were president of the Brown & Cochran Coke Company, Washington Coal & Coke Company, Juniata Coke Company, Dawson Bridge Company and First National Bank of Dawson. She was a founder and stockholder of Cochran Coal & Coke Company of Morgantown, West Virginia and the First National Bank of Perryopolis. The companies did business in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia when Cochran assumed control. Under her leadership, the business grew threefold and expanded to sell coke in England, France, Germany and Mexico. At one point, Cochran was called “the nation’s only coal queen.”

As a widow, Cochran spent eight years traveling in Europe and Asia. Visits to St. James’s Park in London inspired her plans to build her own Tudor mansion, named Linden Hall at St. James’ Park, Pennsylvania. The mansion was built in the vicinity of her childhood home between 1911 and 1913. When it was finished, it had more than 30 rooms, its own railroad stop, as well as a three-panel Tiffany window designed by Agnes Northrop. When 60 Italian stone masons, who did all of the mansion’s stonework, wanted to stay in the US, Cochran sponsored them for citizenship.

Cochran used her position to support women’s suffrage. In 1915, she opened Linden Hall to host a suffrage tea. The fundraiser was advertised in newspapers and drew at least 500 men and women, who listened to Dr. Anna Howard Shaw speak about suffrage and democracy.

Cochran actively supported education. Sometimes by quietly financing higher education for local men and women who expressed an interest in it. In other cases, her support was more public. For example, she funded construction of Cochran Hall, a men’s dormitory at Allegheny College, and donated to Otterbein College, Washington & Jefferson College and West Virginia University. Known as the “Lady-Elect of Allegheny,” she was Allegheny College’s first female trustee, serving from 1908 until her death in 1936. She was also a member of the board of directors of American University in Washington, D.C., and in 1921, the Bethany College Bulletin recorded her contribution for the Sarah B. Cochran Chair of Philosophy at that college.

In 1900 Cochran dedicated a Methodist church in Dawson, Pennsylvania to the memory of her late husband. This church was later destroyed when she presented its congregation with plans for a new, Gothic style stone church. Named for her husband, the Philip G. Cochran Memorial United Methodist Church was officially dedicated on Nov. 20, 1927.  

After Cochran died on Oct. 27, 1936, a memorial service themed “The Ministry of Woman” was held at the Philip G. Cochran Memorial United Methodist Church. The service featured ministers speaking about female Biblical figures and Cochran’s life. Since her death, both the church and Linden Hall were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

By Kimberly Hess | 2017

Frances Payne Bolton (1885-1977)

Photo courtesy of the National Women’s History Museum

Born into a wealthy family, Frances Payne Bolton pursued a life of philanthropy, politics, and social reform. Bolton was a lifelong advocate of education, healthcare and civil rights for African Americans. She is most noted for her contributions to the field of nursing and her work in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On March 29, 1885, Frances Payne Bingham was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a family with a long history of funding charities and public service. Bolton’s grandfathers, William Bingham and Henry B. Payne served in the Ohio State Senate and Payne was also elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1907, Frances Payne Bingham married Chester Castle Bolton. After marriage, Bolton took on many volunteer activities that enabled her to support and help the nursing profession. She sat on numerous boards including the Visiting Nurse Association and the Lakeside Hospital Training School. As World War I began, Bolton saw the need for greater training and inclusion of nurses into the armed services and urged the government to take action. As a result, the secretary of war created the Army School of Nursing.

After the war, Bolton continued to support the development of nursing as a profession in numerous ways. One of her most important activities at this time was to donate $500,000 to Western Reserve University (later known as Case Western Reserve University) in 1923. She gave the money to the college to create its school of nursing. The school was later renamed the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing to reflect the generous financial support given by Bolton. A firm believer that the field of nursing should be open to all, regardless of race or ethnicity, Bolton helped financially sustain the work of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. Her assistance enabled the organization to continue its work despite financial difficulties during the Great Depression. A large inheritance in 1929 allowed Bolton to set up the Payne Fund, which dedicated financial resources to projects related to education, nursing care and the arts.

During this time, Chester Castle Bolton carried out an ambitious political career in which he served in the Ohio State Senate (1923-1928), before winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1928. Sadly, his life was cut short, when on Oct. 29, 1939, at the age of 47, he died in office. Frances Payne Bolton ran as the Republican candidate in the special election to fill her husband’s vacant position. She won and became Ohio’s first female member of the House of Representatives.

During World War II, Bolton had a lasting impact on the field of nursing. She sponsored the Bolton Act in 1943, which set up the US Cadet Nurse Corps to train nurses for military and civilian roles in wartime. In total, the Act provided $5 million of federal funding to enable women to become nurses. Basic training under this program ran for 24 to 30 months. The Act covered students’ tuition, books and living costs. Funding was open to all qualified students regardless of the color of their skin. As a result, the number of qualified nurses increased more quickly, which enabled the United States to sustain the war effort at home and abroad.

Bolton became greatly involved in U.S. foreign affairs and humanitarian activities after the war. In Congress, she joined the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. She became the first woman to lead a Congressional delegation on a 20,000-mile tour of Africa in 1947. During this trip, Bolton learned about issues facing the countries there, including decolonization, aid relief and healthcare. She continued to make frequent trips to Africa, advocating for democratic systems to be set up in the newly independent countries. At home, she urged the U.S. State Department to form a branch specifically dedicated to aiding African countries. The Bureau of African Affairs was founded in 1958 because of Bolton’s support. She also became very interested in Arab-Israeli affairs and toured Palestinian camps in 1947. President Eisenhower, aware of Bolton’s diplomatic activities, asked her to join a Congressional delegation to the United Nations in 1953. Doing so, made her the first female Congressional delegate to the organization.

Bolton held her Congressional seat from 1940 until 1968, when she was defeated by Charles Vanik, a Democrat. After she lost her seat in the House of Representatives, Bolton retired from Congress. But she continued her charitable work. She sat on a number of boards, including the Tuskegee Institute, the Middle East Institute and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Bolton’s diverse humanitarian efforts in the United States and abroad did not go unnoticed by the U.S. government. In 1976, she received public recognition for her efforts, when President Ford awarded her the National Human Relations Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Frances Payne Bolton died on March 2, 1977 in Lyndhurst, Ohio at the age of 91.

By Dr. Kelly A. Spring | 2017

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month: Antonia-Hernandez and Stacey Abrams

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.’ This week, we are featuring Antonia Hernández and Stacey Abrams.

Antonia Hernández (1948- )

Photo by Mariana Brandman, NWHM Predoctoral Fellow in Women’s History | 2020-2022. Photo credit to California Community Foundation.

According to Antonia Hernández, she “went to law school for one reason: to use the law as a vehicle for social change.” Decades later, she can claim numerous legal victories for the Latinx community in the areas of voting rights, employment, education, and immigration. From legal aid work, to counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, to head of a major civil rights organization, Hernández has used the law to realize social change at every turn.

Antonia Hernández was born in Torreón, Mexico in 1948 to Manuel and Nicolasa Hernández. Her father had been born in Texas, but his family returned to Mexico after government officials forced Mexican Americans to leave the U.S. during the Great Depression due to job shortages. Hernández was the oldest of seven children. When she was eight years old, her family moved to the Maravilla Housing projects in East Los Angeles, where her parents worked in chicken factories, manufacturing, and gardening. Hernández endured taunts of “mojada” (“wetback,” a pejorative term for Mexican immigrants to the U.S.) from her classmates and neighborhood children. Despite the taunting, Hernández worked hard as a child, both in school learning English and on the weekends, selling her mother’s tamales across East L.A. alongside her father. In the summers, the family members were all migrant workers, picking crops from farm to farm. Hernández became politically active at a young age with the support of her father, who drove her to civil rights and Chicano movement protests in the 1960s. Her determination to fight for racial justice would continue through all her future endeavors.

Hernández graduated from Garfield High School in East L.A. and attended East Los Angeles College before she was admitted to UCLA as part of an affirmative action program. There she earned her B.A. in History in 1970, as well as her J.D. at the UCLA School of Law in 1974. Soon after passing the California bar exam, Hernández became a U.S. citizen. Reflecting on her U.S. citizenship in 1985, Hernández told the Los Angeles Times “I love [this country] more than most because I don’t take the rights and privileges of an American citizen for granted. I remembered there was a knot in my throat when I took the oath [of citizenship].”

Committed to working in civil rights law, Hernández began her career as a staff attorney with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. There she worked on a class-action lawsuit (Madrigal v. Quilligan, 1978) that alleged the USC/Los Angeles County Medical Center conducted sterilization procedures on women who had just given birth and had not consented to the procedures. They lost in court, but the press attention the case garnered led the medical center and the state of California to enact reforms intended to prevent such violations in the future. Hernández then took a position as staff counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1979-1981, the first Latina ever to hold that position.

From the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hernández moved to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), where she served as Regional Counsel in Washington, D.C. In 1985, she became President and General Counsel of MALDEF. As President, Hernández directed the organization’s litigation efforts and advocacy programs as well as managed a multimillion-dollar budget and several field offices. MALDEF pursued important voting rights cases while under Hernández’s leadership. They filed federal suits in California, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan that led to an end to gerrymandering and other discriminatory practices that prevented Latinx candidates from winning elections in those districts. MALDEF also defended The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which Congress expanded to cover Texas and other Southwestern states in 1975. These efforts included an amendment that explicitly outlawed discriminatory election practices and a provision that protected the rights of non-native English speakers. MALDEF also organized nationwide campaigns to promote Latinx participation in the 1990 and 2000 censuses, to better ensure equitable political representation for the Latinx community. Hernández led MALDEF’s legal pursuit of Latinx-majority voting districts across the country, most notably for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Garza v. County of L.A., 1990) and a Chicago-area congressional district (King v. Illinois State Board of Elections, 1995).

Stacey Abrams (1973 – )

Photo by Fairfight

Stacey Abrams is a political leader, voting rights activist and New York Times bestselling author. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Democratic Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, winning at the time more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Abrams was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States, and she was the first black woman and first Georgian to deliver a Response to the State of the Union. After witnessing the gross mismanagement of the 2018 election by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure every American has a voice in our election system through programs such as Fair Fight 2020, an initiative to fund and train voter protection teams in 20 battleground states. In 2021, Abrams was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in the 2020 election. Over the course of her career, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. In 2019, she launched Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the 2020 Census and greater participation in civic engagement, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South.

Abrams is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where she serves on the Subcommittee on Diversity. As a Next Generation Fellow of the American Assembly on U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions, she also served as a discussion leader, editor, and essay contributor. She was also selected as a Salzburg Seminar Fellow on East Asian Studies, an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, an American Council of Young Political Leaders Fellow, a Council on Italy Fellow, a British-American Project Fellow and a U.S.-Russia Young Leaders Fellow. As the top-ranking Democrat in Georgia, she traveled to and met with leaders in South Korea, Israel and Taiwan, and she worked closely with several members of the consular corps. Her international policy travel includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Abrams is a member of former Secretary of State John Kerry’s World War Zero bipartisan coalition on climate change. She has been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ministers Forum, the Kerry Initiative-Yale Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, the National Security Action Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a contributor to Foreign Affairs Magazine.

She is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and a current member of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Abrams has also written eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery, in addition to the New York Times best-selling Lead from the Outside and Our Time is Now.

Abrams received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and Yale Law School. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, she and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and were raised in Georgia.”

FEW Celebrates Women’s History Month: Mary Church Terrell and Amelia Jenks Bloomer

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.

Mentoring: It Works If You Work It

You work hard every day. More importantly, you get things done.

But what about career advancement? What about the next opportunity?

If you heard about a special program that could increase your chances for a promotion by five times, would you give it a look? If the program made you feel more confident and more valued, would you sign up?

What if the opportunity is a mentoring program?

Federally Employed Women (FEW) has launched a mentoring program to support the professional development of emerging leaders, as well as expand their networks and skills.

Mentoring is a mutually beneficial experience where valuable knowledge, invaluable experience and astute insight is shared. It offers growth opportunities on professional and personal levels.

Consider the research:

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” 

— Oprah Winfrey

Mentoring programs are a two-way street that can lead to mutually beneficial relationships on a professional and personal level. However, both parties need to have the right mindset for the magic to work.

For example, mentees should realize that mentors are giving up their time and energy to help them. Consequently, mentees should bring four things to ensure that the engagement will be a productive success:

Flexibility – Mentees should clear their schedules and make it easy for them to meet with their assigned mentor. This engagement is the beginning of a long-term relationship. While relationships can be time-consuming and inconvenient at times, the right ones are worth the trouble.

Accountability – Do what you say and say what you mean. Mentees should be fully committed to holding up their end of the bargain. Completing certain tasks by specific dates means you are onboard with the overall effort. Remember, the objective is to advance your career, so follow-through on your part will be required.

Maturity – Healthy relationships include forthright feedback and, in some cases, constructive criticism. Mentees must understand that these discussions come from a good place with the intention of advancing their current standing as a professional.

Game Plan – As a mentee, you are responsible for where your mentoring experience goes. What do you want to develop? Where is your career going? What’s your five-, 10- and 20-year plan? Your mentor will bring a lot of life experience and workplace knowledge to the table, but only you know the desired outcome.

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” 

— Whoopi Goldberg

Aside from mentees, mentors also need to bring several things to the engagement. While the program may center on the mentees, mentors have the opportunity to improve their leadership and communications skills, as well as their network. Let’s face it: Every time you teach another, you teach yourself.

Mentors should make sure to bring the following:

Active Listening – Most people believe communications is all about talking when most of it is about listening and observing. Mentors should focus their attention on their mentee to provide the best outcome. Make the time to fully understand what your mentee wants and needs before sharing your own path.

Feedback – Your background and expertise are the reasons you were invited to the party. Please provide meaningful thoughts through antidotes, stories and experiences so your mentee can learn through you.

Confidentiality – During the course of the program, there could be sensitive information shared. Be mindful. Be kind. Keep it to yourself. Leverage any insight to advance your mentee’s best interest.

Accountability – Mentors also must be accountable to make the program work. Everyone’s time is precious. Commit to the deadlines and dates. Fulfill your deliverables. This is the beginning of a long-term relationship.

“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.”

 — Maya Angelou

FEW’s exclusive, annual mentoring program begins with the competitive selection of FEW members to participate followed by 12 months of focused learning objectives, webinars, training sessions and direct mentorship by senior leaders with the federal government. To be eligible for the program, a mentee candidate should be a current federal employee and an active FEW member who holds an elected or appointed position at the regional or chapter level.

Mentee applications must be submitted from April 1, 2021 through April 15, 2021. Chosen candidates will be notified in June, and the 12-month event will kick off at the 2021 National Training Program on July 26-30. Mentee graduation service will be held at the 2022 National Training Program the following July.

For more information about the program, prospective mentees and mentors should visit www.FEW.org/mentor.

You know, you do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself.” 

— Diana Ross

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.