9 Strategies to Build Resilience Through Change and Uncertainty

Developing resilience in the face of change and uncertainty is essential for team performance and organizational success. Most crucially, personal well-being and overall quality of life.  

Resilience is the capacity to withstand or quickly recover from challenging events while being able to bounce back from adversity, adapt to change and cope with stress in a healthy manner. This helps us navigate life’s challenges more effectively, reduces the negative impact of stress on our health and well-being, and enhances our overall quality of life. Resilient individuals can better deal with life’s unexpected obstacles, learn from their mistakes, continue to work toward their objectives and conquer failures. 

Dr. LaTonya L. Small, founder and empowerment strategist of LT Empowerment Inc., shares the benefits of personal and team resilience as well as some strategies to build resilience during changing and uncertain times. 

Benefits of Resilience  

Although change can be disruptive, when resilience is employed, you and your team can benefit in the following ways:  

Personal 

  • Thrive in new environments: Resilient individuals can adapt, acquire innovative talents, adopt novel techniques and devise creative solutions to problems.  
  • Boost mental health: Although uncertainty can cause stress, resilient individuals have more effective stress-coping techniques, which help to minimize burnout and improve mental health.  
  • Grow personally and professionally: Resilience promotes the idea that challenges are opportunities for learning and growth. This increases the willingness to experiment and take calculated risks. 

Team 

  • Create a healthy environment: Even amid chaos, a resilient team retains a sense of calm. Maintaining composure decreases anxiety and keeps everyone motivated and focused on their goals. 
  • Collaborate successfully: Resilient teams work together to identify and solve problems, using a variety of perspectives and experiences to develop unique answers.  
  • Foster stronger teams: Change is frequently an opportunity for improvement. Resilient teams see obstacles as opportunities to learn, adapt and become stronger. This promotes a culture of constant improvement. 

Strategies to Build Resilience  

Here are the top strategies to develop resilience through change and uncertainty.  

  1. Develop a resilient mindset. Cultivate a positive outlook and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. 
  2. Practice self-care. Prioritize your physical, emotional and mental well-being by engaging in self-care activities and developing a self-love mindset. This includes going to bed early, eating a balanced meal and exercising. Consider what helps you relax and get into your zone. For Small, it’s the ocean, music and traveling to new places. “They just set my soul,” she says. 
  3. Build a support network. Understand what regulates you and surround yourself with caring friends, family members, colleagues and mentors. Recognize your needs and assess existing relationships.  
  4. Seek perspective. Take a step back and gain a perspective of a situation. Reflect on your experience regarding what you’ve done successfully and how you can navigate and pivot. Think about how you’re framing the situation. One of my good girlfriends always would say, “How are you viewing the situation? Do you see it as half full or half empty?”  
  5. Be flexible and adaptable. Don’t be so rigid. During times of change and uncertainty, be flexible, especially in a team environment. Consider how to communicate effectively and advise the team to reflect on what they learned from a negative situation.  
  6. Develop problem-solving skills. Break down problems into manageable tasks. Develop practical, actionable and SMART solutions that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound.  
  7. Practice mindfulness. Think about the mind. Make sure you’re regulating and understanding what’s going on with yourself. Find quiet time to concentrate on your thoughts, breathing and environment. When your mind starts to wander, try to bring your attention to the present. 
  8. Cultivate gratitude and optimism. Begin by asking yourself: How are you viewing these? What are you grateful for? Even in stressful and challenging times, there’s always something to be thankful for. Think about that and remember it.  
  9. Seek professional support. When needed, obtain professional assistance. This will enable you to discuss your personal resilience inventory, which is a self-assessment that measures your level of resilience. The inventory consists of activities and exercises that ascertain how you deal with and resolve situations related to different resilience aspects. It also helps you visualize a situation and identify your strengths and areas for improvement.  

Small leaves these thoughts: Uncertainty and change are inevitable. Are you prepared to deal with them when they knock at your door? By applying these strategies and seeking professional guidance, you can effectively manage stressful situations and build resilience.  

Professional Skills and Training Resources 

Federally Employed Women (FEW) membership offers premiere training on the national, regional and chapter levels. The focus is to help members strengthen their professional skills and acquire knowledge of career development and planning techniques. Additionally, FEW enhances members’ personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issues that impact women. Get in touch to learn more. We’d love to hear from you. 

Dr. LaTonya L. Small is the founder and CEO of LT Empowerment, Incorporated,a consulting company with the mission of empowering people to live life with Possibilities, Power and Purpose. The company offers facilitated learning and strategic development through customized services, workshops, coaching and motivational speaking. LT Empowerment adds value to its clients by unpacking the root, reward and relational impact of decisions and actions derived or planned and transforms them into viable outcomes that render performance excellence and financial gains. Contact Dr. Small for more resources and support at info@LTEmpowerment.com 

Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Federal Government

Throughout history and worldwide, countless women have championed diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), making significant contributions to creating a more just and equitable society.

In closing out the 2024 celebration of National Women’s History Month, which honors women who advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, meet the following individuals of Federally Employed Women (FEW) who promote DEIA every day. They are:

Each discusses why DEIA is critical for women in the Federal government and the overall workplace and how the Federal government is boosting its DEIA efforts.

Q: Why is DEIA critical for women in the Federal government and the workplace in general?

A: Golubski – It’s critical to have a safe place, including DEIA initiatives for women in the workforce, both within the Federal sectors and in general, to grow personally and professionally. 

Here are leading DEIA initiatives advantages:

  • Ensure equal representatives. As women are capable of ALL things, breaking down barriers and biases enhances organizations and creates a level playing field where women can actively participate, contribute and advance in their careers. Increased representation of women improves diversity and brings broader experiences, ideas and insights to organizations and the implemented decision processes.
  • Challenge and overcome gender bias and stereotypes. By fostering an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives and talents, organizations can create an environment where women’s skills and potential are recognized and utilized. Overcoming gender bias promotes fairness and a more inclusive and respectful workplace.
  • Support and retain women in their careers. According to a recent “Women in the Workplace” report, nine in 10 women ages 30 and under want to be promoted to the next level, and three in four aspire to become senior leaders. Supporting women in their careers is essential in helping the leaders of tomorrow and the general future, resulting in an equitable and inclusive workforce.

A: Keakalaulono Zimmerman – DEIA is critical for women because it’s often women who are excluded from opportunities to work in certain fields, experience discrimination while on the job, and face barriers in hiring, recruitment and retention. This adversely impacts performance awards, recognition and promotions.

What affects your pay now affects how comfortable you’ll be in your future retirement. For example, average lifetime earnings for women are substantially lower due to a number of factors. These include gender inequality, constraints, and biases that limit promotion opportunities, training, career advancement, career interruption for family caregiving, or unequal pay for equal work.

The Executive Order on DEIA states that the Federal government, as the nation’s largest employer, must be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, where all employees are treated with dignity and respect. Also, recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain its nation’s talent, removing barriers to equal opportunity. The Federal government should reflect America’s diversity. Workplaces that demonstrate a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible workplace yield higher-performing organizations.

DEIA is critical for women in the Federal government, and women are critical for the Federal government to succeed at its best, with a diversity of ideas, people and talent.

Q: How is the Federal government improving DEIA efforts?

A: Golubski – Based on my experiences under the Biden Administration, there have been many efforts to improve DEIA efforts. Some include promoting more women to senior positions and more women leading the way in the workforce.

A: Keakalaulono Zimmerman – Early in my career with the Federal government, I knew of military women who, along with their spouses, planned to have both a family and a career. However, once she became pregnant, she was required to be involuntarily separated from military duty.

This kept women from meeting the required years of active service to reach their full retirement and retired pay. Consequently, they couldn’t reap the lifelong financial benefits afforded male service members. The Seabee Battalions weren’t yet integrated with women, which restricted them from gaining the technical experience in the field that they needed to achieve a higher degree of proficiency. This also hampered them from being promoted to leadership positions. 

The Department of Defense also had the Risk Rule, which barred women from the risk of hostile fire, capture or direct combat, effectively keeping women from working in certain fields in the military.

As civilian women, they were often the “only” or the “few.” The term “only” refers to one woman working in a traditionally masculine function (e.g., firefighter, police officer, tradesperson, etc.), which commands a higher salary. The non-supervisory information technology and engineering fields usually went up to GS-12, but there were “few” women in these fields.

Most jobs for civilian women were in the secretarial and clerical fields. These jobs were usually GS-1, 2 and 3. The highest secretarial position on our base was GS-8 for the Captain’s secretary. The highest-graded woman in the blue-collar on our base was WG-10. Most were WG-5 and below.

When one of my colleagues applied for a coveted job, she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. She asked during her interview if that would hurt her chances of being selected, as she would be taking maternity leave. There wasn’t maternity leave at the time, so you had to take your sick leave. If you were still early in your career, you most likely hadn’t accrued enough sick leave. If you borrowed sick leave, it would take two years to pay it back. So, if your family members got ill, you had to take annual leave.

Instances of sexual harassment were unfortunately common, and many buildings at base lacked ramps and elevators for accessibility. Often, recruitment efforts seeking people with disabilities were insufficient.

Based on my experiences since then, the Federal government has improved its DEIA efforts. Anyone can go online and see the various pay scales. All employees are required to get annual sexual harassment prevention training. Pregnant women can work in the military and civilian workforce and continue their careers with new leave options and accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in place, so agencies can use the Management Directive MD-715 to help them identify barriers to equal opportunity. Federal government employees can also track and report to improve their recruiting, hiring and promoting in line with a model equal opportunity employment program

If agencies don’t comply with EEOC guidance and mandates, individuals may file a complaint to seek resolution. Adaptive and assistive tools and technologies are available to accommodate employees with disabilities.

While improvements have been made, issues remain. Women still face discrimination and are underrepresented in higher pay grades and tiers of the Federal government, as per recent reports. There are additional obstacles due to intersecting barriers experienced by women from more than one underserved community. One example is being a woman and a woman of color.

So, is there more to be done? Yes, there is.

Q: What are your passion projects and accomplishments of which you’re particularly proud?

A: Golubski – I’m proud to serve as the Vice President of Diversity and Special Assistant to the President for People with Disabilities. It’s a passion project to provide support and a more inclusive, equitable workforce for women currently in their roles and to make way for and build a pathway forward for the women behind us.

A: Keakalaulono Zimmerman – I’m honored to have worked with management in the Federal government to develop on-the-job training, which ultimately allowed employees at a lower level grade to be able to later qualify for ladder positions and be promoted from a GS-7 to GS-12. Likewise, on a similar program in blue collar for on-the-job training.

I established the Joyce W. Stewart Memorial Award, an equal employment opportunity (EEO) award at my base. The command used it for more than 25 years to acknowledge the accomplishments of military, civilians, contractors, individuals, supervisors, managers and teams in applying the principles of equal and fair treatment. This created a model EEO program, thereby removing barriers and providing avenues for career advancement and mentorship.

Additionally, I established the JUDE Scholarship, which supplies mentoring and scholarship money for a local high school. This has benefited many young women who were the first in their families to attend a university.

I’m the proud recipient of the Allie Latimer Award, presented at the 2023 FEW National Training Program (NTP). The award recognizes action and leadership resulting in service to FEW, and extraordinary grassroots effort working to achieve FEW’s mission. I was especially moved because of who the award represented, the FEW Founder Dr. Allie Latimer.

This was a full circle moment for me because I remember meeting Dr. Allie Latimer at a FEW NTP years earlier. That is another great aspect of the NTP. It’s an opportunity to meet women of history, women of destiny and women of strength. So much knowledge and wisdom at one event! The 55th FEW NTP is scheduled for August 4 – 8, 2024, at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.

Q: What are your thoughts on the theme: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and how does FEW fit into this picture?

A: Golubski – I love the theme because I believe it’s essential for women to lead the way with DEIA initiatives and learn from other like-minded women who are striving to break barriers for women inside and outside the Federal work sector.

FEW plays a vital role in advocating, as its mission is to “work to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for the inclusion and equity in the workplace, and for the advancement and professional growth of women in the Federal service.” Not only is this part of the mission, but as the theme, FEW is actively pursuing this mission to share with others through the theme.

A: Keakalaulono Zimmerman – If we don’t advocate, who will? Working and advocating for DEIA is essential. Most people know what’s fair and right, but it doesn’t mean they’ll do either. Many women before us fought for these rights. We must continue the work so that these hard-fought rights don’t vanish.

Women will benefit from our advocacy, and the converse is true. Women will suffer in recruitment, retention, promotion, career advancement, finances, and issues that impact our work, our lives, and our families if we fail to advocate.

FEW is the good news of this story that fits into this picture. The organization offers advocacy, mentorship, and membership. Its foundational pillars are training, diversity, compliance, and legislation. FEW stays abreast of the latest legislative issues impacting women, children, and families, as well as other topics of concern to all government employees. Moreover, FEW connects with legislators to inform them of what’s important to its national membership.

For example, the FEW Southern California Gold Coast Chapter invited our congresswoman to speak with us. One of the women in the audience asked a question regarding paid parental leave for Federal government employees. The congresswoman was surprised that federal workers didn’t yet have that and had to take unpaid leave. She took it back to Washington, D.C., and that benefit is now available because of that interaction. It happened at the FEW chapter level because women advocated for other women, which benefited all Federal government employees.

On April 30 and May 1, 2024, attend the FEW Western Region Training Program, Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Q: Who is FEW?

A: FEW, a private, non-profit organization founded in 1968, is an advocacy group that works to improve the status of women employed by the Federal government. Membership is open to those who subscribe to the organization’s purposes and carry out its mission. Participation in FEW is not limited to women. Anyone concerned about discrimination based on sex and employment opportunities for women in the Federal government is welcome to join FEW. Get in touch to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.

5 Ways to Overcome Self-Love Challenges to Foster Personal Career Growth

Self-love plays a significant role in career growth, acting as a powerful engine fueling your professional journey. A self-love mindset empowers you to navigate career growth challenges with confidence, resilience and a focus on well-being—which can lead to tremendous career success and fulfillment.

In celebration of International Day of Self-Love, Victoria Icenhower, a self-love scientist, women’s empowerment coach and nationwide speaker, explores how a lack of self-love can stunt your career growth and how to overcome self-love challenges to foster personal career growth.

Role of Self-Love in Career Growth

Self-love is the foundation for personal well-being and professional success. The more we set our standards of worthiness, the stronger our relationship with ourselves becomes. Women often invest a lot of time and effort into assuming roles such as leader, wife, mother and entrepreneur to uphold expectations that aren’t in line with their worth. That’s on top of external relationships and personal and professional obligations.

When all those “boxes” are checked, women often forget themselves, which is the most important box to check because self-love enables us to:

  • Prioritize work-life balance and personal well-being.
  • Communicate demands with confidence.
  • Become resilient in the face of obstacles at work.
  • Make better decisions.
  • Find long-term satisfaction in our careers.

Lack of Self-Love Stunts Career Growth

A lack of self-love creates a barrier because there’s a state of mind that speaks to “not being good enough.” When this happens, comfort becomes the safest position, hindering future growth potential.

Since self-love is linked to promoting your worthiness and values, lacking it makes it harder for women to apply for promotions because they fear rejection or believe they’re unworthy. There can be neither career advancement nor job satisfaction while these barriers, also known as limiting beliefs, are present.

Without self-love, women are likelier to settle for unfavorable behaviors because they don’t respect their boundaries and feel like they have a purpose or sense of fulfillment in their profession. They’re also more likely to burn out. The comfort zone is not always the best zone.

Ways to Overcome Self-Love Challenges

Before we dive into ways to overcome self-love challenges, let’s review some of the top ones. Fear of failing is the most prevalent obstacle to self-love in women. It keeps you from taking chances and pursuing your dreams, lowering your self-confidence. Next is the fear of rejection and judgment. Fear of judgment creates an unwillingness to express oneself authentically.

These fears contribute to a common thread known as “people pleasers.” They have the mission of pleasing everyone for the sake of external validation. Regrettably, this makes establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries difficult, leading to over-commitment and disregarding one’s needs. When you neglect your own needs, you’re discounting proper rest, nutrition and pleasure.

Next, negative self-talk and constant self-criticism erode your self-esteem, making it impossible to believe you can achieve greatness. Playing the comparison game adds to this negative self-talk. Whether you’re passed over for a promotion or don’t get an appreciation for your job, comparing yourself to others can make you feel inadequate and diminish your self-worth, especially in the workplace.

The following are five ways to begin overcoming these challenges to foster personal career growth.

  1. Self-reflection and awareness: First and foremost, identify and understand your very own self-love challenges. Developing self-awareness is the first step toward fostering personal growth. The sooner you clarify your values and non-negotiables, the sooner you can end what’s holding you back and make changes.
  2. Positive affirmations: To combat negative self-talk, practice positive affirmations tailored to your professional achievements and capabilities. Affirming your worth and acknowledging accomplishments can reshape your self-perception positively. Failures translate as opportunities for learning versus just a failure.
  3. Work-life balance: Set aside time for the things that bring you the most joy, maintain a healthy sleep schedule and keep a close eye on your mental health. Balancing professional responsibilities with personal life contributes to overall satisfaction and fosters a positive self-image. When you feel good in your body, you feel good in your mind, and that’s expressed visually.
  4. Celebrations: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements regularly. Recognizing accomplishments, both big and small, boosts morale and reinforces a positive self-perception. You start to build the mental affirmation of “I get to be here,” “I’m good enough” and “I’m doing the best I can.”
  5. Communicating your values: How would anyone know how to treat you? To maintain long term successful personal and professional relationships, it’s vital to set clear and specific expectations and communicate regularly. Your truth reflects your values. Be specific and set the tone for the relationships you want to experience.

The key to growth is through vulnerability. Overcoming societal expectations and gender roles in the workplace can be challenging and impact your role and confidence. All women must recognize that self-love is not a one-time achievement but an ongoing journey.

Embracing self-love requires patience, self-compassion and a commitment to personal growth. Be kind to yourself, celebrate your uniqueness and understand that your worth extends beyond professional accomplishments. Taking the time for self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for sustained success and fulfillment in your personal and professional life.

As federally employed women, fostering self-love is beneficial for personal well-being and a strategic investment in unlocking your full potential and achieving personal career growth.

Professional Skills and Training Resources

Federally Employed Women (FEW) membership offers premiere training on the national, regional and chapter levels. The focus is to help members strengthen their professional skills and acquire knowledge of career development and planning techniques. Additionally, FEW enhances members’ personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issues that impact women. Get in touch to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.

Victoria Icenhower has empowered countless individuals to reclaim their confidence and embrace a life of authentic fulfillment. With a journey rooted in personal transformation, Icenhower has risen above the challenges of corporate burnout, battling boundaries and divorce and turning it into a catalyst for growth and empowerment. Drawing from her own experiences, Icenhower understands the profound impact of a healthy relationship with oneself on overall well-being and sexual empowerment. She has dedicated time to studying and developing transformative techniques and methodologies that blend the science of self-love and psychology, unlocking the secrets to lasting personal fulfillment, meaningful relationships and captivating confidence. Contact Victoria Icenhower for more resources and support at victoria.lotuslifestyle@gmail.com

Federal and Retirement Benefits: What You Need to Know in 2024

Every year, changes to federal and retirement benefits impact federally employed women. Examples can include Social Security amounts and cost of living (COLA) rates, to name a few. In 2024, there are specific modifications that present unique opportunities and challenges for women working for the government.

Staying informed on these changes is crucial to making informed decisions, protecting your financial well-being, navigating your career and contributing to the government workforce.

Nicole Sherwood at United Benefits provides pertinent information you need to know about federal and retirement benefits in 2024 and shares tips on meaningful ways federal employees can improve their current situation.

Key Information to Know

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): The maximum Federal SSI payment amounts rise with Social Security benefit cost-of-living increases. The latest such increase, 3.2 percent, became effective in January 2024. The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2024 are $943 for an eligible individual, $1,415 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse and $472 for an essential person. 
  • Wellness programs: Many agencies offer health and wellness programs with incentives for participating in health-related activities such as like health fairs, fitness challenges and healthy eating campaigns. Additionally, some agencies provide on-site fitness centers or discounted memberships to local gyms. Take advantage of these programs in 2024 to improve your health and potentially lower your healthcare costs.
  • Catch-up contributions: If you’re 50 or older (or will be turning 50 in 2024), you can make additional contributions to your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) beyond the annual limit. The 2024 IRS annual limit for Catch-up contributions is $7,500. This amount is in addition to the regular TSP limit of $23,000. If you started late or had career gaps, use this option to boost your retirement savings.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is currently suspended and they’re not accepting new applications. Eligible individuals who applied for FLTCIP prior to the start of the suspension period will have their application considered. If the application is approved for coverage, then the individual will receive a benefit booklet and schedule of benefits with complete coverage information.
  • Life insurance: Employees under age 65 who retired on or after January 1, 1990, must continue to make contributions toward their basic life insurance coverage. For 2024, budget authority and obligations will increase by $2.0 million due to the number of annuitants under age 65 with Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance coverage. Funds appropriated to this account remain available until expended to finance post-retirement life insurance benefits.
  • COLA: Starting at 62, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees are eligible for COLA. For 2024, annuitants who retire under FERS will receive a 2.2 percent increase. The rate varies each year.
  • Retirement planning: Utilize resources from your agency and organizations like the Office of Personnel Management to create a personalized retirement plan. Consider factors like desired retirement age, anticipated expenses and potential sources of income—any survivor benefits and decisions made in retirement exceptionally impact retirement and future benefits. Factors to consider are your retirement planning, with or without a survivor, life insurance and other benefits.
  • Survivor benefits and retirement: Protect your loved ones by designating beneficiaries for your TSP and life insurance policies. If you retire under FERS, the maximum survivor benefit payable is 50 percent of your unreduced annual benefit.

Tips for Optimal Utilization of Federal and Retirement Benefits

Outside of the open season, when federal employees can change their benefit options, there are meaningful ways federal employees can optimize their utilization of federal and retirement benefits to improve their current situation.

One of the ways is to make changes to your benefits when applicable. For example, if you have any life change—including loss of coverage, adoption, birth, marriage, divorce, death or a move—you can change your benefits. This may trigger other updates like changing your insurance or beneficiaries. Also, it’s a good time to revisit your financial outlook so you can make any necessary updates based on your changes.

Another approach is to understand every component of retirement income and TSP options. This includes maxing out your TSP contributions, especially if you’re eligible for agency matching contributions. This significantly increases your retirement savings. Finding the solution that best meets your needs should be customized to fit your specific goals.

Finally, keeping updatedabout your benefits and retirement options is crucial for financial security and planning for your future. Understanding key information and actively managing your benefits and retirement plans can ensure a comfortable and secure future after your government service.

Financial Planning and Career Development Resources

FEW offers various programs and resources focused on career development and leadership training. The organization also provides workshops, webinars and conferences on topics like financial planning, work-life balance and stress management. Premiere training on the national, regional and chapter levels are just some of the paybacks of FEW membership. 

Get in touch to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.

Nicole Sherwood is a licensed health and life insurance agent with United Benefits, which works alongside federal employees to provide and design solutions that fit an individual or family’s needs. Sherwood specializes in Medicare, benefits, and retirement for federal employees and retirees. Before working in insurance, she worked in finance for one of the top 25 children’s hospitals and several Fortune 500 companies.

Exceeding Expectations: How FEW’s National Training Program Helped Tiffany Groves Reconnect with Dormant Skills

When I attended my second FEW National Training Program (NTP) during the summer of 2023, I did not anticipate connecting with a community of professional women who would be genuinely interested in uplifting me as I sought to further my career. I have enjoyed several conferences in the past hosted by various organizations, however I never felt impacted by my attendance. I typically walked away with great refreshers of information that were not new to me, or best practices that did not necessarily fit my organization’s way of doing business.

As the Acting Senior Advisor of Recruitment and outreach at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Digital Transformation, one of my responsibilities is to attract new staff members and foster diversity. I attended FEW’s NTP to network, learn more about the challenges women were facing in the federal government as well as explore the booths of other agencies that were recruiting for new hires.   

I met Stacey St. Holder, Special Assistant to the President for Mentoring, during a professional networking class. This led to an informational interview once we returned home to the Washington DC area. I discussed my current position at the FDA as well as my background in communications which includes a Master of Arts degree in Public Communication, experience in public relations at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, and providing communications services as a federal contractor. When I mentioned my interest in more fully leveraging my skillset, Ms. St. Holder offered to connect me with the National Communications Chair Ivana Miranda.

My conversation with Ms. Miranda blossomed into a beautiful and productive professional partnership. Together, we mapped out a shadowing process where I began developing weekly content for FEW’s social media pages. Ms. Miranda offered constructive feedback while I tailored the drafts. As the weeks went by, I have taken the initiative to develop even more content and offer creative recommendations. I also coordinated a guest interview and co-hosted an episode of the LEAP with FEW podcast. My experience volunteering as a marketing specialist for FEW has been very educational as I became more familiar with writing for social media platforms, staying abreast of FEW activities, and becoming better acquainted with the easily accessible resources that federal agencies produce to foster their various missions.       Ms. Miranda has proven to be a tremendous teacher and supporter.

One of the things that I hoped to gain by attending the NTP was making connections with women outside of the FDA, to gain a different perspective on navigating the professional federal landscape. That goal was achieved in spades. Now that I am a FEW member and active participant, I look forward to becoming more engaged with my local chapter.     

If you are looking for sign to join FEW – this is it! FEW lives up to its mission of helping women grow professionally in a real and meaningful way. For more information about FEW membership, contact membershipVP@few.org.

If you are interested in contributing to FEW’s communications efforts to deliver timely, clear, and engaging content to its members, please contact communications@few.org

Five Fun Facts about Tiffany:

  1. She’s a native New Orleanian and graduate of Louisiana State University.
  2. She enjoys volunteering and giving back, whether facilitating college success and career planning classes or mentoring a public-school student.
  3. Tiffany loves to travel abroad and seeks to learn about the history and local culture of the places she visits.  
  4. She’s a certified project manager and trained facilitator who loves strategizing and planning.
  5. An article she wrote for Urban Sentinel magazine about learning from difficult situations was published in the December 22/January 2023 issue. 

Senior Executive Service: 6 Tips for Preparing Your Package

With the upcoming surge of potential Senior Executive Service (SES) retirements, qualified federal employees will likely have more opportunities to advance to the SES. Recent statistics show that 62% of the senior executives on board in 2020 will be eligible to retire by 2025 and 79.8% by the end of fiscal 2030.

To make the SES more accessible to a broader selection of candidates, the federal government has implemented several initiatives, including SES Candidate Development Programs (CDP) and other development and mentorship programs. These initiatives can be inspiring for employees who may not yet see themselves as potential SES candidates. Although achieving an SES position requires dedication and hard work, attaining this career goal is within reach for qualified federal employees with the proper guidance and preparation.

In many cases, the application process for the SES has been streamlined, making it less overwhelming for potential candidates. To uncover tips for preparing your SES package, read on.

SES Selection Process

SES leaders possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective on government and a public service commitment grounded in the Constitution.

Members of the SES:

  • Serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees.
  • Are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal workforce.
  • Operate and oversee nearly every government activity.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) manages the overall Federal executive personnel program. It provides day-to-day oversight and assistance to agencies as they develop, select and manage their Federal executives. The SES process for selecting applicants consists of several steps that begin with the job posting. From there, a diverse panel of agency SES members, known as the Executive Review Board (ERB) reviews applications and rates candidates based on their qualifications and experience.

The ERB recommends a limited number to the selecting official. The selecting official decides which candidates to interview and makes a selection. Before a candidate is appointed as a career member of the SES, their Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) must be certified by an independent Office of Personnel Management led Qualifications Review Board (QRB).

Tips for Preparing Your SES Package

Nancy Segal shares insights on preparing your SES package to increase the chances of attaining SES.

Here are the six tips to keep in mind:

  1. Confirm you have SES qualifications: This means having specific accomplishments to document your leadership experience in each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) and any Technical Qualifications (TQ) required. Being qualified for the SES means having done more than just your job. Although there is no time-in-grade for the SES, most successful candidates are GS-15 or equivalent.
  2. Examine the job posting carefully: Many SES postings require a full set of ECQs, along with a SES resume and Technical Qualifications. Some postings only require a five-page resume (and perhaps separate TQs) to apply. However, if you’re selected, you’ll need to prepare ECQs.
  3. Include all the information the job posting requires: SES resumes should be five pages, include evidence of your executive accomplishments (related to the ECQs and TQs), and contain plenty of accomplishments to demonstrate your value and numbers to give your work context. The focus of your resume and all requisite experience used for your ECQ needs to be from the past 10 years. This guidance is from the OPM, and your experience should be from the requisite grades/ranks.
  4. Use the CCAR (Challenge, Context, Action, Result) rubric: When preparing your ECQs, refer back to these. Keep in mind to list your accomplishments, not duties. Also, showcase your leadership by demonstrating your executive-level experience and using leadership experience language.
  5. Make sure your Result proves you solved the Challenge: Ideally, your results need to show a clear before and after and include metrics.
  6. Remember your audience: Your ultimate audience for your ECQs is someone other than your supervisor or even anyone in your agency. Before you can be appointed to the SES, your ECQs must be approved by a QRB. No one on the Board may be from your agency or know you. This means that your ECQs need to convey your executive leadership experience in an understandable way to people who do not know you and may need help to understand your work. Don’t use technical language or acronyms.

Additional Career and Leadership Training Resources

The benefits of Federally Employed Women (FEW) membership include premiere training on the national, regional and chapter levels and provides members with knowledge about:

  • The federal system
  • Career development and planning techniques
  • Personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issues that impact women

The focus of FEW’s training is to improve professional and leadership skills while advancing workplace marketability through the following core areas:

Get in touch to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.

Nancy Segal is a sought-after instructor, facilitator and speaker for government agencies. She has over 30 years of government experience, including leading or managing various federal human resources programs and developing and implementing strategies and policies in major functional areas. This includes performance management, employee relations, staffing and recruitment, training, and strategic planning, among others.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director, Kathi Vidal: You owe it to yourself and others to be authentic

The day I learned that the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) – arguably the most impactful patent legislation since the 1950s – had been published online as a draft bill by Congress, I was on a plane from San Francisco to San Diego. Coincidentally, I was prepping to speak at a conference on the potential impact of the legislation and the various interests involved. I quickly digested the draft bill and adjusted my notes, cognizant that many in the room had a vested interest in the legislation and some had lobbied Congress for change. 

After we finished our talk, a senior leader came up to me and said, “Wow! I’ve heard you speak a lot. But, I’ve never seen you so passionate and excited.  You looked like you were having so much fun up there.” 

Was it the topic?  Was there something about the AIA that was just so much more exciting to me than patent prosecution, prosecution laches, patent litigation or moderating judges’ panels?  

With all due respect to the bill, no.

What was different about that discussion was that I was presenting at a women’s conference that a few of my colleagues and I conceived of and planned. This was before women’s conferences were a “thing,” so it was also the first women’s conference at which I spoke. The audience was all women. The space, food, and drinks were tailored to the audience. Dark suits were replaced with resort wear. Stale bagels with specialty chocolates. 

For me, this was an “aha” moment! As someone who started in mathematical physics, graduated with  bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, was doing early research in artificial intelligence at GE Aerospace and led design and manufacturing teams, the usual way I bonded with my colleagues was by taking up their sports (windsurfing for quite a few years and softball) and watching Monday Night Football. Though I didn’t take to heart when I was told early on that nobody would take me seriously because I smiled and laughed too much, I did – perhaps subconsciously – adapt to the world around me.  I processed the data of what “success” and “leadership” looked like and slowly adapted my behavior.  When I spoke on stage, I looked and sounded like my colleagues and the bulk of the others who spoke.  Nobody asked me to do that or applauded me for doing it. It was just how I naturally acclimated to the world around me.

It was on that day, and because of that comment, that I realized the power and joy in being me. In being authentic.

Since that time, I have spoken more times than I can remember of the power of being authentic and how to achieve success as your own authentic self. Here are two key lessons I want to share:

First, figure out what you want and ask for it. Studies show that there is, what I have come to define as, an “ask bias.”  Women do not tend to ask as much as men. Asking can seem selfish or brash and the fear of getting a “no” can seem daunting. If you don’t ask, you will get behind both in work and in life. You will let perceptions of what you want, or what others expect of you, control your actions.

The key is finding a way to ask in your own authentic way that doesn’t make you feel like anyone other than yourself. Linda Babcock has some great writing in this area to which I often refer women. In a Harvard Business Review article she wrote: “[W]e’ve discovered another, subtler source of inequality: Women often don’t get what they want and deserve because they don’t ask for it.” She noted that “[w]omen tend to assume that they will be recognized and rewarded for working hard and doing a good job. Unlike men, they haven’t been taught that they can ask for more.” 

Babcock makes it clear that this is not just an issue of socialization. Managers also bear responsibility and “should drive larger scale cultural change.” 

As to the latter, Babcock suggests an algorithm I employed immediately after joining the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She remarks that,  “[w]hen a man asks for a raise [or opportunity and a woman doing comparable work does not], a good manager should consider giving both, or neither, of them raises.” At the USPTO, I’ve encouraged leadership to consider for positions and opportunities not just those who first come to mind, but anyone else who would have the same predicted success in the role. I encourage them to consider those who ask and anyone else similarly situated who did not ask. I’ve also been working to bring into the agency training on “how to ask” as your own authentic self. 

The key for me, personally, is asking politely and on behalf of others or a greater cause. 

Let me give you some examples. Years ago, I had a case in the Northern District of California and I asked a junior lawyer – let’s call her Tanya – to argue a motion so I could give her that opportunity.  Tanya and I had prepared thoroughly on the merits.  But, what I hadn’t prepared her on was how to ask.

Tanya did a fantastic job in her argument.  The other lawyer – let’s call him John — argued.  Then, the Judge started giving some views.  John, a seasoned, aggressive male litigator, interrupted the Judge numerous times saying, “But, but” and making his arguments. Tanya waited for the Judge to ask her for her response.  She waited to be called on.  The Judge never did.  When I saw John getting some traction, I stood up to be recognized to help complete the argument.  That was not Tanya’s failure, it was mine.

What I should have taught Tanya was how to ask. For me, I don’t say “But, but.” I don’t interrupt the judge. Instead I politely ask, “Your honor, may I be heard?”  Or, “Your honor, may I make a suggestion?”  Or, “Your honor, may I respond?”  I’ve never received a “no.”  And, the ask carves out time to make my argument. 

This year I mentored a successful woman leader through JOURNEY, a one-year program to give women access to higher-level connections and enable them to build lifelong networks of support. She – let’s call her Sylvia – said that her title and compensation was lower than those of her male counterparts.  Sylvia was going into a performance review and sought advice.

I suggested to her that she tee the issue up in advance so her supervisor was not surprised.  I also suggested that she not make it about her and that she not presume her supervisor knew of the disparity.  She did exactly that. She explained in advance all the ways in which she could better serve the organization and why it was important to the organization that she be at the same title and salary as her counterparts. 

When it comes to job or opportunities, I never focus on what it means to me. Instead, I provide my thoughts on how the position could be used to further the organization’s goals and mission. Or, on how I could be more effective at serving the institution’s goals in the position. It is different for everyone.  The key is to find your own authentic way to ask. 

And, as my negotiations professor at the University of Pennsylvania would say, “practice every day!”  It then becomes innate. My professor would have us practice and ask and would always say you have to give a reason. Data shows that even if the reason is not compelling, just hearing a reason incentivizes the person you ask to say yes.  Think about that the next time you are standing in the security line at the airport. If someone asked if they could cut ahead of you, would you be as likely to say yes than if they even gave a simple reason like, “I need to get home”? Probably not.  

As for asks or negotiations, you can practice daily. One of the simpler ones I participated in was at a corner store in downtown Philadelphia.  I was planning to eat a hot and sour soup for dinner and the recipe called for two eggs. The corner store sold eggs by the dozen, but instead of buying a dozen, I asked if I could buy only two.  My “why” was that I only needed two and didn’t want to waste the others.  Though I initially got a “no,” I persisted and noted that the place sold breakfast sandwiches and could sell me two of those eggs as opposed to two out of a dozen. I came home with two eggs and the soup was even more tasty for it!

Second, in addition to asking authentically, you owe it to yourself and others to be authentic. To lead with your heart, not just your head. In today’s world with social and physical separation in our work places and even with family and friends, we must do more to connect. Whether you are leading a group or leading up, by being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others to experience the real you – you not only improve your own well-being and joy, you do that for others.  You also create the space for them to do the same. 

My favorite researcher and speaker on this topic is Brené Brown, a professor at the University of Houston.  Many of her talks are available for free online.  Brown notes that one of the keys to vulnerability is giving yourself permission to be imperfect.  She writes, “[f]or me, that means writing permission slips—to myself.”  She continues:

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect—and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity. Even when it’s hard, and even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. It’s these moments in life that demand we show up—that we let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we really are.”

I try to lead with authenticity. I don’t recall a meeting – whether it was one of my many internal or external listening sessions, meetings at the White House, or meetings discussing cases or key decisions internally – where I didn’t laugh with others. When I first started at the USPTO, I asked for a town hall immediately and opened myself up to questions. As part of that, I admitted that I’m a right-brained introvert who has been doing a left-brained extrovert job. I love what I do. I love people. But, I need my down time (even if that is writing this article on my computer, taking a walk in nature, or practicing my photography hobby). And, if I respect my own needs first, I am a better professional, and person, for it. I hope you all find your authentic voice, and use it.

Priscilla Moultrie Adds Flair to FEW’s NTP & More

Priscilla Moultrie is a magnetic force of energy and she is harnessing her professional superpowers to bring swag and flair to Federally Employed Women’s (FEW’s) National Training Program (NTP) events and networking operations.

As the 2022 FEW Awards Chair, Priscilla revamped the annual awards ceremony, giving the audience a jolt of excitement. She ingeniously staged her own rendition of a popular television variety show, which introduced the country to “The Robot” and a unique take on “line” dancing. For one special evening in 2022, FEW’s premiere event—the NTP—and its National Awards Program were the “hippest trip in America.”

That’s how Priscilla likes to get things done. She is motivated by an inspirational bit from comedian Steve Harvey, who says every successful person (at some point) must risk their comfort zones and “jump,” if they want to “live-out” the full potential of their talents and gifts. “You will never know what can become of your hard work, unless you take the leap to develop yourself. Continue to level up as you soar,” she says.

In 2023, Priscilla is already bringing creativity to her new role as the Special Assistant to the President for Sponsors and Partnerships. With a fresh eye for building synergies, she has identified potential partners and sponsors from different business sectors and other organizations with whom FEW may not have previously worked. While she cannot yet reveal all her secret plans for this year’s NTP and beyond, anyone who knows Priscilla knows she likes to create a big “splash.” Her fellow board members and NTP guests are anticipating her hands in helping to bring sponsors and partners together at what will be a grand and celebratory event on July 10-14, 2023, at the Hilton Columbus Downtown in Ohio.

This year’s NTP theme, “Leveling Up For Success: Ready, Set, Grow!”—is perfect for Priscilla to brainstorm and cultivate new “win-win” professional relationships among other like-minded organizations. In addition to providing premier training to Government workers, FEW is committed to raising awareness about issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. FEW provides equal access to membership, programs, activities and opportunities to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Prospective business partners and sponsors may expect personalized “Meet & Greet” sessions with FEW leadership, including Priscilla, who has been key in helping to identify fresh new faces to team up with FEW.

FEW’s National Training Program is an important annual event for its membership and guest participants. The electric five-day experience provides a lineup of more than 100 specialized courses on various topics, including Human Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, Information Technology, Project Management, and Leadership. All courses align with the Office of Personnel Management’s Executive Core Competencies (i.e., Leading People, Leading Change, Business Acumen, Result Driven and Building Coalitions). In addition, FEW will host “After-Hours” networking events for participants to build relationships and celebrate member achievements.

Attending an NTP event is invaluable. Volunteering at an NTP is exponentially beneficial. When members “help out” with a particular session or event, they increase their existing management and leadership skills. For example, servant leaders can heighten their customer service abilities by assisting with registration or hospitality; program and project managers may choose to expand their abilities with logistics; others may choose to improve their people skills by helping in the Exhibitor’s Hall. Everyone who works behind the scenes to make the NTP a success develops professional skills and builds their resume.  

That kind of involvement has worked for Priscilla.

“Working on previous National Training Program events has helped me grow and develop professionally. Delving into leadership with the awards process opened my eyes to the importance of recognition and friendly competition among chapters,” she says. Priscilla says the role of Awards Chair broadened her “horizons with strategies related to awards and event processes, planning streams for the rollout of an exciting awards program, protocols involved with the overall make-up of the awards, and the integration of different perspectives required to execute such a major event.” This was particularly challenging in a virtual atmosphere, where contending with a global pandemic was a new and ongoing reality. “Working alongside other FEW professionals afforded her first-hand access to experts offering their cutting-edge expertise to make each National Training Program unique.” This year’s in-person celebration will bring a new set of challenges and excitement, as participants navigate returning to a live training event.

“The passion I have witnessed from board colleagues, chapters, and those who have a heart for FEW shows the love for the organization,” she says. “This is another way I have grown professionally and developed crisper skills. I have access to rooms and people I would not have, without being genuinely involved.”

Priscilla says being a FEW member taught her three things:

  1. Wise counsel and “golden nuggets” that are offered are keys to being successful. Be a sponge and absorb the continuous feed of knowledge you receive because you will use it in many facets of your journey from being a mentee to being a mentor or coach.
  2. Ask questions. Do not be afraid to inquire. This is how you gain experience and work smarter—not harder.
  3. Allow trials and errors to work for you. You will benefit from the learning and make improvements toward becoming successful.

Priscilla says FEW membership is one of the best opportunities for development, helping federal employees and contractors gain experience, grow professionally and personally while networking with people from diverse backgrounds and career levels. “Your FEW membership could lead you to other doors you have yet to open that will leave you in awe,” she says. “FEW is an incredible organization filled with countless windows of opportunities where you will find yourself taking a leap. You will land in an exciting new place! FEW is all about “Leveling Up For Success!”

FEW Members Grow Professionally with Mentoring Program

As a federal employee, Deana Mastin continually looks for growth and leadership opportunities.

So, she joined Federally Employed Women (FEW) and continues to leverage the organization as a tool to build her career.

She recently graduated from FEW’s Mentoring Program, which taught her teamwork, leadership, and decision-making skills.

“It was a valuable experience,” said Mastin, who is a Program Specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “I was able to work with women from several different FEW chapters throughout the U.S., at various career levels, and work with FEW National Board executives. It provided a safe space and dynamic learning experience.”

FEW’s Mentoring Program is a competitively selective mentor and mentee training opportunity for members who aspire to become effective leaders within the organization or at work and build their professional network for career advancement in the Government. The one-year program pairs applicants with a senior leader in the Federal Government.

There are focused area requirements and learning objectives that must be completed to obtain the full benefit of the program. Participants receive additional development through webinars, guest speakers, and completion of a team project.

“I would recommend FEW’s Mentoring Program to others, as I have in the past,” Mastin said. “I recommended it to our former Chapter President who is now currently enrolled. I would motivate members to participate by encouraging them and explaining that this is a leadership program offering personal career building skills (e.g., interviewing, resume-writing, and creating individual development plans ) and a variety of leadership activities (i.e., presentations, public speaking, team-building, leading change).

According to a recent survey, 63% of women report that they’ve never had a formal mentor in their career. Fortunately for FEW members, mentoring is only one of the benefits the organization offers to help members advance their career goals.

FEW provides training with knowledge about the federal system, career development and planning techniques, personal effectiveness, and awareness of the broader issues that impact women. In addition to mentoring, FEW provides member opportunities to network and develop mutually beneficial, professional relationships that help build careers. Members can also benefit from community outreach at the chapter and regional levels, giving back to communities, and sparking fellowship among members.

“FEW has provided me with the opportunity to gain skills that my regular job did not through participating in projects, teams, public speaking, developing presentations, leading people, building coalitions and planning,” Mastin said. “By providing these opportunities in a safe and dynamic learning space, I have been more motivated to take risks and challenges when others were not willing; to encourage others to take a chance and ‘do it afraid’ while standing beside them.”

As President-elect and former Vice President of FEW’s Seas and Skies Chapter at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Mastin said she has learned some very important lessons about her career: “ ‘It’ starts with me. How I show up, step up, and pull up others. No one can do it alone. You have to be vulnerable and humble enough to ask for help when you need it. You have to recognize the strengths others have and encourage them to use those strengths, know their value, and be willing to ‘take a seat at the table.’”

If you could use a professional boost or assistance in developing more focused career goals, join our community today. We can do more together. The new cohort for the 2023 Mentorship Program will begin later this year. Look for an email from FEW about the open application process, coming soon. If you have questions about FEW’s Mentoring Program, contact mentoring@few.org.

Getting More With FEW

FEW helps more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce become strategic leaders with its four-pillar program: training, legislation, diversity and compliance. Since 1968, the nonprofit has advocated for equity and diversity for women. FEW works for the advancement of women in the Government with cutting-edge training, nationwide networking and invaluable insight.

The non-profit advocacy group offers a legislative benefit by representing federal employees’ concerns before legislative and judicial bodies. FEW also recognizes congressional members who support our agenda.

In addition, FEW develops strategies to identify and eliminate barriers, while increasing diversity by examining demographics of the workforce. The organization also works with federal agencies to help deliver a more equitable and diverse workforce. FEW’s compliance efforts allow it to monitor the progress made by the Federal Government.

Military Veteran Highly Recommends FEW’s Mentoring Program

As a retired United States Air Force veteran, Lametrice S. Sims understood the importance of continuous professional development beyond her military career, which led to her joining Federally Employed Women (FEW).

FEW helps more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce become strategic leaders with its four-pillar program: training, legislation, diversity, and compliance. Since 1968, the nonprofit has advocated for equity and diversity for women. FEW works for the advancement of women in the Government with cutting-edge training, nationwide networking, and invaluable insight.

As a graduate of FEW’s first Mentoring Program, Ms. Sims highly recommends FEW membership to others so they can invest in their future by applying for and participating in this life-enriching program. Although, we live in a digital world where most things are one click away, Sims expressed, “The most valuable knowledge can only be gained through one’s shared personal experiences.” FEW uses resumes to match senior-level mentors with complementary mentees, aligning interests, backgrounds, or goals. The mentees receive a copy of their assigned mentor’s career bio and the pair then follow up with an initial meeting via Zoom.

“This six-month collaboration definitely supported FEW’s commitment to assisting the advancement of women in the Federal Government,” Sims said. “As a retired Air Force veteran and a 14-year federal civil service employee, I can attest to the growth of my professional network from the relationships established with other mentees and my assigned mentor, who agreed to continue our mentor-mentee relationship beyond graduation.”

Today, Sims is a Senior Contract Specialist with the United States Department of the Navy-Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. When asked, what were the three things she learned from being a part of the FEW Mentoring Program, Sims replied, “Participation in FEW’s inaugural Mentoring Program provided me refresher training in the subject areas of (1) goal setting/career planning, (2) continuous skills development, and (3) networking. As a professional development facilitator, it is imperative that I continue to build on what I already know. I want to be open to engaging new ideas and perspectives through collaboration with others while pursuing lifelong learning that will result in my continued growth and development,” she said.

In addition to the mentoring program, FEW has helped Sims supplement her military training in different leadership roles within the organization at the local, regional and national levels. To date, she has held the following leadership positions: FEW’s Southeast Region Newsletter Editor, first-ever North Alabama Chapter Newsletter Editor, two-term Chapter-Vice President, Training Chair, Diversity Chair, Steering Committee Member, and Chapter/Regional Training Facilitator.

As the Vice-President/Diversity Chair for FEW’s North Alabama Chapter, Sims has been afforded the rewarding opportunity to network with other professionals who have contributed to the enhancement of her interpersonal skills. She has gained insights to the professional needs and interests of others, allowing her to support their advancement beyond the roadblocks, whether seen or unforeseen.

As a facilitator of past FEW local/regional training workshops and programs, she fulfilled her passion for helping others, providing innovative and interactive training on a variety of subjects designed to offer all attendees a clear understanding of the learning objectives and training goals. Sims’ leadership style encourages healthy conversations and decisions, while helping workshop participants stay on track toward achieving their desired goals.

Sims strongly encourages military veterans (women and men) to join FEW for the advancement of their continued military/civilian careers. “The FEW experiences are wonderful,” Sims said. “Consider applying for FEW’s Mentoring Program – it’s a great start! As an ambassador and recent graduate of FEW’s Mentoring Program, I can testify to the endless benefits of participating.”

About FEW

FEW members experience a comprehensive program that positions them for professional development and a fulfilling career in the federal workforce. Consider how the association’s experience helps advance its members:

  • Training: FEW provides members with knowledge about 1) the federal system, 2) career development and planning techniques, and 3) personal effectiveness and awareness of the broader issues that impact women. The nonprofit produces premiere training on the national, regional, and chapter levels.
  • Mentoring: FEW offers mentoring opportunities to advance professional development and senior-level leadership skills through the year.
  • Networking: FEW delivers opportunities for members to network and develop mutually beneficial, professional relationships that will help them advance in their careers.
  • Community Outreach: FEW provides countless community outreach opportunities on the chapter level that give back to communities, sparking fellowship among members.
  • Legislation: FEW represents federal employees’ concerns and interests before legislative and judicial bodies. We also produce a “scorecard” that recognizes congressional members who support our non-partisan agenda.
  • Diversity: FEW develops strategies to identify and eliminate barriers and increase diversity by examining the demographics of the workforce, including socioeconomic status, communication, thinking styles, and family composition.
  • Compliance: FEW works with Federal agencies to help deliver a more equitable and diverse workforce. We monitor the progress made by the Federal Government in achieving equal employment opportunities evidenced by adherence to statutory civil rights protections.
  • Member benefits: FEW offers various member benefits including congressional advocacy, legal consultations, career tips and a job bank, member spotlights, financial services, a nationally distributed newsletter, scholarships, awards, and discounts on education and training.

If you are a veteran who is thinking about your next career move, join our community today. Leverage FEW as a tool to build a better path with long-term career goals.