Feds In Motion – Join the team.

Whether you’re a fan of urban strolls, trail runs, lap swimming, or family bike rides, there’s something in the Feds In Motion Challenge for YOU! Join the team, “FEW – Soaring to New Heights.”  The challenge runs through May 1 – June 5, 2022, and our goal is for you to log at least 36 miles in 36 days to celebrate 36 years of #FedsHelpingFeds. So, join us. You’ll be doing something good for yourself, FEW and for federal employees in need.

Pick your favorite way to move for all 36 miles, or mix and match throughout the month. Go solo, meet up with friends, compete with co-workers near and far — it’s up to you!

Teams of 5 or more get $5 off once the fifth person signs up, and your team members can be in the same house or office, across the country, and around the world. Register today and invite your friends and family!

Broken Glass: 4 Ways FEW First National President Allie Latimer Advanced Her Career

Most trailblazers think they are late.

In her own words, Allie B. Latimer isn’t an exception—although her subsequent work for gender equality during the last 50+ years has been exceptional.

Latimer helped established the first meeting of Federally Employed Women (FEW) in 1968 based on new learnings and experiences. She watched women make strides during World War II, only to fall behind again in peaceful times. While the Civil Rights movement took shape in the 1960s, the reality of gender discrimination showed itself to her.

“We were so busy with discrimination based on race, gender wasn’t thought of,” said Latimer, whose mother was an “EEO mama” where boys and girls did the same chores. “I was a late-comer to gender discrimination.”

Despite the challenges, Latimer learned how to advance her career. In 1977, she became the first Black American woman to serve as general counsel of a major federal agency. She also became the first Black American and first women to attain the GS-18 salary level at the General Services Administration, Veteran Feminists.

So how did she do it?

In a recent interview, Latimer revealed the “building blocks” that she used to climb the ladder. (It’s not a coincidence that FEW, the organization she started, offers the same opportunities to its members who make the decision to use the group as a tool for advancement.)

Here is the list of the tools that she used to reach new heights:

Find the Right Mentor

During her college days at then-Hampton Institute, Latimer found a mentor that told her the things she needed to hear, as opposed to the things she wanted to hear. Her mentor told her that she needed more experiences before she could realize her full potential. And he recommended that she take a special exam that would position herself for a federal job. “Why would I need to take the exam,” the younger Latimer said to her mentor. “I don’t have any plans of working for the federal government.”

  • 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.

Practice Servant Leadership

After college, Latimer volunteered for the American Friends Service Committee when she worked in prisons and mental institutions. Ultimately, she participated in a campaign to desegregate the New Jersey State Hospital in Vineland, New Jersey and integrate a suburban community outside Philadelphia.

Latimer said her volunteer work gave her the experiences that she was missing: “It helped me learn what it meant to be a human being. I learned a lot about life itself.”

  • Throughout the year, FEW provides countless community outreach opportunities on the chapter, regional and nationals level that give back to communities, sparking fellowship among members.  Community outreach projects are a win-win opportunity for all members, who are able to help other people while helping themselves create new opportunities by meeting other members.

Put Knowledge To Work

Latimer earned her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law in 1953. She also earned a Master of Legal Letters degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law as well as a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Howard University School of Divinity.

But not all her knowledge came from books. When NASA tried to open its recruitment to a more diverse talent pool in the 1960s, it became clear to her that it wasn’t working. At the time, the agency was taking ads out in publications that were mainly read by white men. The project’s administrator asked Latimer to get involved, when the team couldn’t say how many job applicants were women or minorities.

“It was making me aware how women were being overlooked,” she said.

Latimer said this type of knowledge lead her to found FEW. She said acquiring information, training and knowledge is paramount.

“A lot of the times, we are not aware of the pieces that you have to put together to advance,” she added. “Sometimes, you have to leave your current job and go up another ladder where there is opportunity for you. Just being a human being isn’t good enough. People use knowledge as power. You have to have the knowledge.”

Latimer suggested that federally employed women should read the federal government’s annual Green Book, which offers insight on the long-term plans for each agency in terms of funding and initiatives.

  • FEW will host its third year of virtual training July 18 – 22, 2022, with no per diem or lodging cost required.   Once again, FEW will explore the vast options available through an interactive platform to connect you with our trainers, sponsors, and colleagues. FEW will provide a catalog of courses (100+ specialized courses) on various topics, including Human Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Information Technology (IT), Project Management, Management, and Leadership professionals.  All courses align with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Executive Core Competencies (Leading People, Leading Change, Business Acumen, Result Driven, and Building Coalitions).  If that is not enough, FEW will hold several after-hour networking events.

Find Your Community

Around the time she discovered sex discrimination was just as pervasive as racial discrimination, Latimer came to a stark realization: “Being a woman was as bad as being Black.” And she checked both boxes.

But Latimer knew that you can’t beat someone who never quits.

When asked why she never gave up despite the challenges, she said: “My background in the home, school, community and church. They were our mentors. They told us what life was about, and how we should respond.”

She remembers coming home after school and changing into her play clothes while her grandmother was helping a lot of people in the community who were sick.

“People took care of each other,” said Latimer who was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Alabama.

  • Members who provide serve the community of FEW are eligible for special recognition, which includes the Allie Latimer Award that recognizes a FEW member whose action and leadership resulted in service to FEW at chapter and/or region level. When members give their time and talent to advance FEW’s mission, they are doing more than helping the community. They are helping themselves by building their reputation and creating new relationships by working side by side with other members on a local, regional and national level.

When FEW launched in 1968, women made 58.2% of what men made in terms of annual salary ($32,389 vs. $18,836). In 2019, women had cut the pay gap to 82% ($57,456 vs. $47,299). Although that’s a clear sign of progress for women, proper context makes the difference more sobering. In 2015, the Institute for Women’s Police Research estimated that women won’t receive equal pay until 2059.

Latimer acknowledges that the struggle continues: “Women have made a lot of gains, but they still have a way to go.”

FEW’s membership needs to continue the charge. To be part of something bigger than yourself, join the movement.

Award-Winner Extends FEW’s Legacy in Own Way

Kimberly Smith knew what she was getting into.

From the very beginning, she knew Federally Employed Women was more than another organization.

It was about women standing on the shoulders of other women for more than 50 years.

“The primary thing that makes FEW special is its legacy,” Smith said. “All active employees today, regardless of federal connection, have benefited from FEW’s work over the past 50-plus years. This organization is a pillar within this country’s employment structure. It is a part of the foundation that allows for progression and equal employment opportunities and a myriad of other benefits for both federal and non-federal employees.  It’s the heart of every member in FEW that makes it a national powerhouse.”

So when Smith was asked to lead FEW’s internal communications publication, News & Views, she understood the responsibility of keeping the nation’s members engaged and moving forward.

In 2021, she received a FEW President’s Award for her outstanding effort.

“This awardee is passionate and compassionate, determined and soft-hearted with boundless energy for FEW,” said FEW National President Karen Rainey during the award ceremony. “We all strive for acceptance, and recognition is a reflection of belonging, a basic human need. Her actions for FEW challenged us all to demonstrate the best FEW has to offer with resources, activities and information. Her work demonstrated next-level professionalism in elevating our online communications with members, partners, friends of FEW, in fact, the entire world.”

During Smith’s first year as editor of News & Views, she changed the focus of the content so it was about looking ahead. She also created a more holistic approach to provide members with tangible tools to be productive throughout the year. Today, the publication focuses on a range of topics, including goal-setting, mentoring, health habits and skill-building.

In every issue, Smith writes her own article that concludes with a challenge to the reader to implement the theme into their daily lives. One of her recent articles, for example, was about the indigenous way of giving, which encompasses a holistic community mindset. Her article challenged members to incorporate that mindset into their activities and presence during the holiday season.

In addition to inviting FEW members to write articles for the publication, she also added a membership spotlight, where anyone can nominate a FEW member to be highlighted in an upcoming issue. She challenged FEW members to highlight the individuals who they felt were the best members that FEW has to offer.

Since joining FEW in 2018, Smith has made an intentional effort to use the organization as a tool to advance her career. She used FEW to hone her skills and advance her education, which have created opportunities for her to participate in career-changing events.

Because of her work with FEW, Smith has been invited to speak to large audiences as a young professional. She has delivered lectures to top-tier organizational leadership within her region. She has taken the skills learned from working with the national board, FEW’s national training programs, the virtual leadership summits and the regional trainings to enhance her efficiency in her current position. Her experience at FEW has built her confidence to stand behind her work and present her ideas and recommendations to upper management.

Smith said FEW is a truly special organization. “The incredible story of this organization’s leadership and its commitment to improving the lives of others is astounding,” she said. “To sit in a room with these ladies, who all have incredible stories, will give you a sense of empowerment and strength that you didn’t know you were missing or didn’t know you were wanting. There is a sisterhood and bond within the FEW family that I have yet to witness in any other organization. Each member comes to FEW with skills and networks for the greater good of FEW. Each member in whatever professional career level is willing to extend a hand out to help a fellow member up, to SOAR together to new heights.”

So, what would Smith say to federally employed women who are interested in joining the association?

“We get in your DNA!” said Smith, who parrots President Rainey’s comment at the SE Region’s NTP meeting.

She added: “The beauty of FEW is that its national and international presence can provide aid to a member’s need with the simple dial of a phone or click of an email. The members in FEW and especially the leadership really are intentional about stripping away the barriers found within the professional capacity. They are intentional about creating a space for a true bond to take place—for relationships to be built upon the human aspect and then enhanced by professional networking. 

“So I would say to anyone remotely interested in joining an organization with the desire to build camaraderie, effect change, develop personal and professional skills and/or give back, you need to look no further than FEW.”

FEW President’s Award Winner Upgrades Mentoring

Dr. Karen Milner remembers the news item that motivated her to revamp a national mentoring program.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had identified mentoring as a barrier for the advancement of women in government.

That’s when Milner decided to become part of the solution for Federally Employed Women (FEW).

And the following year, she received the President’s Award for her contributions to a vital part of the organization’s program.

“This awardee is a quiet storm for FEW, phenomenal by nature,” said FEW National President Karen Rainey during the award ceremony. “During her time on the board of directors, she has renewed one the most valuable benefits of being a member in FEW. Her contributions are invaluable and will directly skyrocket the work we do toward advancing women’s careers and being a confidant in supporting other women.” 

Milner, who was recently appointed by Rainey as special assistant for mentoring, said she was always focused on the big picture: “I wanted to contribute to the organization, but I also wanted to help women advance in government and break down those barriers.”

FEW’s National President Award is bestowed upon individuals who work toward the mission and purpose of the organization.

In Milner’s case, she got right to it. She started to revamp the mentoring program in October 2020.

The new mentoring program competitively selects FEW members who are also current federal employees to participate in the year-long program to enhance skills and capabilities to be competitive, improve resumes and individual development plans to show results, participate in project development to develop project management abilities and meet with senior leaders through presentations and mentoring. The FEW Mentoring Committee worked together to provide a comprehensive and progressive learning experience to support their development for career advancement. 

“Mentoring is a two-way street,” Milner said. “The mentor focuses on the mentee, but oftentimes the mentor learns just as much as the mentee. You have to have an open mind. The mentee has to be willing to accept feedback. I don’t call it criticism because it can be perceived negatively. The mentor and the mentee have to be on the same page to ensure the communication is received in the same way. Feedback is feedback. It’s up to you do with it what you think is best for you and your career.”

Milner said she learned a lot about herself in the process of revamping the program. “The most important thing for me is that I still have a want, a need and a desire to give back,” she said. “People can get tired and busy and forget to give back. FEW has reinvigorated me to give back.”

She also credits FEW for being a catalyst for professional development and career growth. In fact, she offers one important tip when it comes to leveraging the organization. “Take advantage of learning opportunities,” Milner said. “An opportunity may only come once in a lifetime. So if you pass it up, you may miss it. FEW is one of those opportunities where you can continue to develop yourself for career advancement in a safe environment where you have others to lean on and others to help you network.”

Milner began her career in the Army on active duty. After leaving active duty, she began her civil service career. Her assignments have taken her around the world.

She has earned advanced degrees and certificates in human resources development, leadership and accountability. Her doctorate degree in education focuses on performance improvement leadership.

“It is important to always have mentors to talk to,” said Milner, who also serves as FEW’s Southeast Region Secretary. “Sometimes they can help you with your career and sometimes they help you learn certain capabilities so you can advance your career. I have a lot of people who I lean on when I need help or guidance and have provided me different lessons. I take these lessons learned, and I apply them in hopes that I will advance my career. Ultimately, it’s up to me to make those decisions. Mentors can give guidance, but they can’t help you across the finish line if you are not willing to put in the effort.”

About 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 toward advancing women in government with innovative training, nationwide networking and invaluable insight.

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 nationwide training on the national, regional and chapter levels.
  • Mentoring: FEW offers mentoring opportunities to advance professional development and 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 federally employees’ concerns and interests before legislative and judicial bodies. We also produce a “scorecard” that recognizes congressional members who support our 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 opportunity evidenced by its adherence to statutory civil rights protections.

Federally employed women, who are interested in developing and advancing their government careers, can begin by joining FEW. Contact us today.

Women’s History: 3 Leaders You Should Know

The tale of women in leadership roles is also a story of suffering and sacrifice.

With undying persistence, that’s how they overcome and move ahead.

The National Women’s History Museum, one of Federally Employed Women’s sponsors, hosts a collection of stories about important figures in women’s history.

The following are excerpts from the collection; here are three leaders that FEW members should know.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her work advocating for the rights of women and girls.

Her father, who played a pivotal role in her life, was a teacher who ran a girls’ school in Pakistan, where the family lived. He believed Yousafzai should have all of the same opportunities as boys. But by the time she turned 10, Taliban extremists took control of their region. And before long, girls were banned from attending school. Owning a television, playing music and dancing were all prohibited.

By 2009, the Taliban had destroyed more than 400 schools. As a response to the dismantling of girls’ education in her country, Yousafzai started to blog secretly for the British Broadcasting Corporation about life under Taliban rule and her desire to go to school. Over the years, Yousafzai and her father began speaking out in support of girls’ education in the media. By 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Although she didn’t win, she did earn Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.

But that type of recognition made her a target.

On October 9, 2012, the 15-year-old was on a bus returning from school with her friends. Two members of the Taliban stopped the bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” When they identified her, they shot Yousafzai in the head. 

Fortunately, she was airlifted to a Pakistani military hospital and then taken to an intensive care unit in England. Although she suffered no brain damage, the left side of her face was paralyzed.

On her 16th birthday, Yousafzai spoke at the United Nations and published her autobiography entitled, “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.” She was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament for her activism.

In 2014, Yousafzai and her father established a fund to advocate for women and girls around the world. Later that year, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest person to be named a Nobel laureate at the age of 17.

To read more of her story and other special women, visit the National Women’s History Museum.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is a world-famous author, known as a pioneer for her autobiographical writing style, as well as a poet, dancer, singer, activist and scholar.

Her work was influenced by a traumatic childhood event at the age of 7 years old when she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The perpetrator was killed upon his release from prison. As a result, Angelou felt her confession about the sexual abuse played a role in the man’s death, and she became mute for six years.

In the 1950s, African American writers in New York City formed the Harlem Writers Guild to nurture and support the publication of Black authors. Angelou was one of the Guild’s early members. During these years, Angelou began writing her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography of her life. The book was published in 1969, and she was nominated for the National Book Award the same year. Her autobiography has since been translated into numerous languages, and it has sold more than a million copies.

Angelou is also noted for her many and varied singing and dancing styles, including her calypso music performances. She has written numerous poetry volumes, such as her first book of poetry, entitled Just Give me a Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie. She has also recorded spoken albums of her poetry, including “On the Pulse of the Morning,” for which she won the Grammy for Best Spoken Album in 1994. The poem was originally written for and delivered at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. She also won a Grammy in 1996 and again in 2003 for her spoken albums of poetry.

Angelou died on May 28, 2014. Several memorials were held in her honor including those at Wake Forest University and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.

To read more about her story and other special women, visit the National Women’s History Museum.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem, a journalist and trailblazing feminist, became one of the most visible leaders of the women’s movement in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Steinem started her professional career as a journalist in New York, writing freelance pieces for various publications. Getting plumb assignments was tough for women in the late 1950s and 1960s, when men ran the newsrooms and women were largely relegated to secretarial and behind-the-scenes research roles. Steinem’s early articles tended to be for what was then called “the women’s pages,” lifestyle or service features about such female-centered or fashion topics as nylon stockings. Steinem once recalled that, “When I suggested political stories to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, my editor just said something like, ‘I don’t think of you that way.’”

Undeterred, Steinem pushed on, seeking more substantial social and political reporting assignments. She gained national attention in 1963 when Show magazine hired her to go undercover to report on the working conditions at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club. While Steinem’s expose—“I Was a Playboy Bunny”—revealed the not-so-glamorous, sexist and underpaid life of the bunny/waitresses, Steinem struggled to be taken seriously as a journalist after this assignment. She worked hard to make a name for herself, and in 1968, she helped found New York magazine, where she became an editor and political writer.

At New York magazine, Steinem reported on political campaigns and progressive social issues, including the women’s liberation movement. In fact, Steinem first spoke publicly in 1969 at a speak-out event to legalize abortion in New York State, where she shared the story of the abortion she had overseas when she was 22 years old. The event proved life-changing, sparking Steinem’s feminism and engagement with the women’s movement. She attended and spoke at numerous protests and demonstrations, and her strong intellect and good looks made her an in-demand media guest and movement spokesperson.

In 1970, feminist activists staged a take-over of Ladies Home Journal, arguing that the magazine only offered articles on housekeeping but failed to cover women’s rights and the women’s movement. Steinem soon realized the value of a women’s movement magazine and joined forces with journalists Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin Pogrebin to found Ms. magazine. It debuted in 1971 as an insert in New York magazine. In 1972, Ms. became an independent, regular circulation magazine. Steinem remained an editor and writer for the magazine for the next 15 years and continues in an emeritus capacity to the present.

Steinem’s life has been dedicated to the cause of women’s rights, as she led marches and toured the country as an in-demand speaker. In 1972, Steinem and feminists such as Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and feminist Betty Friedan formed the National Women’s Political Caucus. It continues to support gender equality and to ensure the election of more pro-equality women to public office. Other organizations Steinem has co-founded in her vast career include the Women’s Action Alliance (1971), which promotes non-sexist, multi-racial children’s education; the Women’s Media Center (2004) to promote positive images of women in media; Voters for Choice (1977), a prochoice political action committee; and the Ms. Foundation for Women. In the 1990s, she helped establish Take Our Daughters to Work Day, the first national effort to empower young girls to learn about career opportunities.

In 2000, at age 66, the long single Steinem married for the first time in a Cherokee ceremony in Oklahoma. Her husband, entrepreneur and activist David Bale, sadly died of lymphoma four years later.

An award-winning and prolific writer, Steinem has authored several books, including a biography on Marilyn Monroe, and the best-selling My Life on the Road. Her work has also been published and reprinted in numerous anthologies and textbooks. In 2013, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. In her honor, in 2017, Rutgers University created The Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies.

To read more about her story and other special women, visit the National Women’s History Museum.

About Federally Employed Women

Federally Employed Women (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. For more information, please visit FEW.org.

FEW President’s Award Winner Gives Back

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.

FEW’s Cynthia Dunn: Why She Continues to Climb

Cynthia Dunn says she doesn’t drink coffee.

Yet, she works around the clock. And most of her time is spent helping other people.

She is the longest serving EEO/Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Director for the Internal Revenue Service. As part of her job, she delivers many presentations.

In recent years, however, educating the members of Federally Employed Women (FEW) has become one of her priorities.

Dunn has put her FEW membership to good use. She keeps her presentation skills sharp by using them repeatedly at FEW events. (She has delivered more than 30 FEW presentations since 2017.)

Her presentations also help her network, which allows her to maintain existing relationships and build new ones.

“I have a passion for helping people,” Dunn said. “Passion is fueling me. At the end of every presentation, the last slide has my contact information. If you have a question later, you can call me. I give them my direct number.”

Dunn’s presentations cover a wide range of topics, ranging from how to collaborate with other people and how to stand out in a crowd. She led five virtual courses at FEW’s 52nd Annual National Training Program, which included “Resilience in Times of Stress & Uncertainty” and “Creating Your Personal Brand and Soar to New Heights.”

“The classes were awesome,” said a federal employee after listening to Dunn’s “Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Qualified Individuals with Disabilities”presentation. “I’ve been in the government for almost 30 years, and I can honestly say that I learned more with you in three days than I have over the last 10 years on those three topics alone. Even if I thought I knew something you gave more clarity to the ‘gray’ areas. You did a marvelous job, and you should be proud. I really do hope the new leadership will let you continue to share your extensive knowledge with others in the federal government. It is necessary and truly appreciated. Oh, I forgot to mention the best part, you let us ask questions (no matter how silly we thought) and made us feel empowered to implement based on facts and laws. Not only am I implementing this week with my staff but I’m scheduling a meeting with my management to see if we (my department) can implement some ideas and tools that I picked up from your workshops. Keep up the good work!”

After attending Dunn’s “Promoting Your Professional Potential,” presentation, one federal employee pledged new resolve:This was by far the most rewarding class that I attended. I felt motivated, encouraged and ready to take a leap of faith. For the last few years in civil service, I have tried endlessly to grow within my career. People have tried to hinder my progress and I do not let that stop me. The booklet that was provided is sitting right here on my desk. It is being put to good use. Now is the time for me to go around those who have tried to hold me back. I am a mentee in need of a dynamic mentor. Thank you for all that you do!”

In addition to educating groups of federally employed women, Dunn continues to give back by offering to serve as a mentor—to more than 100 individuals in recent years. After answering questions from attendees, a portion asks her for one-on-one time. Typically, Dunn obliges.

FEW National President Karen Rainey has noticed.

“As an organization committed to education, training and ensuring equality for women and all federal employees, Cynthia has demonstrated that she embodies our purpose,” Rainey said about Dunn in a letter of support. “Cynthia has shown great leadership and strength in the pursuit for fairness for all. She is not afraid to share her knowledge or uplift others to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Cynthia is a shining example of this organization’s mission. She has an unrelenting spark and I trust she will go far in representing women and improving the status of women in the government.”

Dunn doesn’t hesitate to share her experience with any one she counsels. One helpful insight about building a career: “Take the unwanted assignments,” she said, “the ones that people say, ‘That’s not my job.’ People will see that you are committed.”

Members of her audience have been known to go out of their way to sit in on her other classes to hear her again.

“Her style was so impressive that I skipped another class that I had signed up for in order to attend the ‘Prevention of Workplace Harassment’ workshop that she also taught,” said one attendee. “At the end of the day, I feel like I learned a lot, and I now have a better understanding of things that I thought I knew. It is safe to say that I’d definitely attend another class if she is the speaker. Great job!”

Without the help of caffeine, Dunn leverages feedback and her desire to give back as the needed fuel to sustain her efforts. She remembers how other women had helped throughout her career. “I love the satisfaction of people saying, ‘Because of you, I’m here now,’” she said.

Why People With Better Stories Make More Money

Every person is a “brand,” which is a story that makes a promise.

Federally employed women who have a better brand, for example, receive a higher pay grade.

And that’s why it is so important to join Federally Employed Women (FEW). The association helps more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce develop their personal brands and 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.

As a byproduct of volunteering with FEW, you will develop a better story for yourself, which can position you for better opportunities. The formula for building a better brand is simple: Reputation + Relationships = More Opportunities (i.e., income).

Fortunately, FEW provides many opportunities for its members to build better reputations and better relationships.

Everything Begins With Reputation

Here’s one key point that is often overlooked: Volunteering is networking.

FEW offers training programs on the national, regional and chapter levels. Guess what every program and every level needs to make it successful? Volunteers. That’s great news for you because it creates an opportunity to work alongside another, which is the best form of networking. It allows you to show off your expertise, communication skills and ability to work as part of a team. Before long, you will have an even better reputation and another reference to leverage for your next promotion.

Joining an association like FEW is an important step in advancing your career. But it is not the last step. The magic doesn’t happen because you join. It happens when you treat FEW like a tool, which you consciously decide to pick up and use to build a better path for you and your family.

Winning organizational awards is another great way to build your reputation and generate interest for your accomplishments.

If you spend some time on FEW’s website, you will see several members who have committed themselves to our cause and have been recognized for their performance. Kimberly Smith (Southeast Region), Caronell LaMalle Diew (DC Metro Region) and Dr. Karen Milner (Southeast Region) were recently honored with the President’s Award. Bernette Menefee (Great Lakes Region) and Kayla Lewis-Baltimore (DC Metro Region) won the Barbara Boardman Tenant Award and the Allie Latimer Award, respectively.

And those were just a few of the individual awards. FEW also offers awards for chapters and agencies that you can leverage as a team member.

Relationships Unlock Opportunities

Mentoring programs are a great way to quickly build meaningful relationships. For mentors, the effort reinforces the things they know, which allows them to improve existing skills. For mentees, they gain valuable insight from new allies that have experiences to share. From either perspective, the ability to help one another with trust and transparency creates the foundation for a new relationship.

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.

At the chapter level, FEW members who represent specific chapters have been able to advance their careers in part from the relationships they built with agency leadership over the years as they worked to improve workplace environments.

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 its 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.

Developing yourself as a leader will take time and talent. A better story for your career, leveraging your reputation and relationships, will help you realize the effort.

FEW can help you advance your career in many ways.

4 Ways To Exert Your Power of Influence

All leaders, regardless of title, have the capacity to be great.

Influential leaders inspire and motivate talent, which can turn any organization into a winning team.

“A transformational leader understands the significance of influence and inspires others through a genuine interest in them,” says Walter Anderson, CEO of Anderson Consulting & Training. “Influential leaders create productive and contagious workplaces when everyone understands the invaluable skill of influence.”

Anderson provided training on “The Power of Influence” a skill set that speaks to leadership at any organization, during Federally Employed Women’s Virtual Leadership Summit II. Workshop attendees learned to:

  • Explore the three myths of influence  
  • Identify the characteristics of an influential leader
  • Define how to lead without authority
  • Explore the behaviors required to create a contagious culture 

According to Anderson, here are four ways people lead with influence:

Build Relationships

Everything begins and ends with relationships. Your influence at work is no exception.

When it comes to building relationships, it’s important to remember two things: 1) People do business with people they like, and 2) People like people who help them.

Building rapport with your colleagues will play a big role in them accepting your vision—or not. And they will be more inclined to help you along the way.

Listen To Others

The most important part about communications isn’t talking. It’s listening.

In fact, when you actively listen to someone, you will actually know what to say when you start speaking.

Listening to others gets them involved with you and your ideas. That’s critical because involvement—the new buzzword is “engagement”—is the secret to commitment. If you want someone to commit to you, to support you, you must get them involved with you.

Listening is a good first step.

Lead By Example

Practicing what you preach goes a long way.

When team members see you roll up your sleeves and do things no one else wants to do, like working nights, weekends and holidays, it goes a long way. It will encourage some team members to follow suit and give a little extra to support the cause.

This is how “me” becomes “we.”

Become an Expert

Everybody knows the score.

When you present yourself with confidence and back it up with expertise, people will respect you. Once you have earned their respect, you will be able to influence and lead.

To become an expert, you will need to have an honest conversation with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. What are the high-value skills needed to do your current job? How about your next job?

Identify degree programs, webinars, training and certifications that will bolster your current knowledge and place you in a position of authority.

Fair Day’s Pay? Women’s Pay Gap Persists

Women made 82.3% of men’s annual earnings last year.

And that’s not the most concerning bit of news, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report that reviewed the pay gap based on gender.

Today, women’s earnings still trail men in more than 350 occupations. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed women’s participation in the workforce back by 30 years. In February 2021, women’s labor force participation rate was 55.8%, which was the same rate back in April 1987.

Michael C. Fallings, a partner at law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC, says there has been a recent uptick in Equal Pay Act cases due to societal movements and employers’ failure to conduct full reviews before setting pay.

“Federal employed women can ask for desk audits of their current position to determine if they are being paid appropriately,’’ Fallings says. “They can also file claims so that the agency can conduct an investigation into the pay discrepancies.”

According to Fallings, federal employees may file claims under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) directly in federal court.  

EPA claims against the Federal government amounting to more than $10,000 must be filed in the Court of Federal Claims.  A federal action under the EPA must be filed within two years of the last discriminatory paycheck or, in cases where there is willful conduct, three years since the last discriminatory paycheck.  This option should allow the claims to be processed quicker but does not provide an investigative record to rely upon.

Federal employees may also file claims with the EEO office at their agency.  If the EPA claim is first filed with the agency, the federal employee must allow the agency 180 days to complete the investigation of the claims before moving to federal court or an EEOC Administrative Judge. These claims must be filed within 45 days of the last discriminatory paycheck.  This option may take longer but allows an investigation to help gather evidence to support the claims. 

Federal employees can prove an EPA claim by establishing that they engaged in substantially similar work as an employee of the opposite sex and were paid less than the employee of the opposite sex.  The burden then shifts to the Government to prove that the discrepancy in pay was for a reason other than sex.  The key difference between the burden of proof under the EPA versus Title VII claims is that the EPA does not require the complainant to prove intentional discrimination.

Key Factors in Equal Pay Act Claim

The EPA considers content of a job, not its title, to determine whether jobs are substantially equal.

There are several factors that establish a job’s content:

  • Skill: This factor considers experience, ability, education and training required to perform the job. It does not consider the skills that the individual employees may have.
  • Effort: The amount of physical and mental effort needed to perform the job is considered.
  • Responsibility: The level of accountability would also be considered in performing the job.
  • Working Conditions: Factors include various characteristics, such as temperature, ventilation and possible hazards.
  • Establishment: The distinct physical place of business is a key part of the mix.

Differences in pay are allowed in certain situations when they are based on quantity or quality of production and seniority.

As a trusted partner of FEW, Tully Rinckey PLLC promotes professional development, leadership and equity for the inclusion of women.  FEW and Tully Rinckey have a Memo of Understanding, and with this agreement, FEW members are entitled to one free half-hour telephone consultation each year with one of Tully Rinckey’s experienced attorneys, and members who pursue their legal claims with Tully Rinckey will be entitled to a 10% discount in legal fees. For more information or to schedule a consultation with a Tully Rinckey attorney, please call (888) 529-4543, or visit www.tullylegal.com