How Leadership Excellence Helped Carla Hamilton Swiftly Climb the Ladder

Carla Hamilton believes in Federally Employed Women (FEW).

In fact, she uses the association every day to build her career and do her part to diversify the upper ranks in government.

Thanks to her contributions, Hamilton recently won FEW’s prestigious Allie Latimer Award. This overall achievement award recognizes an extraordinary grassroots effort working to achieve FEW’s mission. Latimer was the first woman and the first African American to serve as general counsel of a major U.S. federal agency. To bring federal government into compliance with the Civil Rights Act, she founded FEW.

Since joining FEW and leveraging its training, mentoring and networking opportunities, Hamilton has been promoted through three transitions at the federal level, going from a GS-4 to the equivalent of a GS-14/15. “By participating with FEW,” she says, “you can translate the knowledge, skills and abilities into career assets.”

So, how did FEW help her climb the ladder?

Well, FEW gave her leadership opportunities to grow professionally and personally.

For starters, she served as the Chapter President for the North Alabama Chapter from 2019-2022. At least 25% of her chapter members have received promotions or firm job offers under Hamilton’s leadership excellence.

Hamilton piloted the revitalization of the 50-year-old chapter during a national pandemic by nearly doubling its membership significantly in size and retention rate of 100%. She used grassroots organization skills during one of America’s most challenging times in history to create a chapter brochure, which received approval from FEW’s National Publications Committee and National President, to engage with prospective new members about the benefits of joining FEW. She also and motivated her Chapter to host a virtual membership drive called “How FEW Can Help You Pace Through a Pandemic!”

In 2021, Hamilton added another title to her resume: Assistant Regional Manager for FEW’s Southeast Region. She quickly established a quarterly initiative where regional Chapter Presidents could pair with other Chapter Presidents to support and learn from each other. This effort also enhanced the networking and relationships between the Chapters. Ultimately, this led to more Chapter Presidents attending the Southeast Region activities and more members within the region seeking training and learning opportunities. 

Hamilton said servant leadership, which is a big part of her leadership style, helped her win team members and achieve impressive accomplishments. “Servant leadership is being right there with members, letting them know you have their back,” she says. “I believe in being in the trenches with your members.”

Hamilton’s strategic leadership spearheaded a recruitment competition on the regional level called “The FEW Pursuit!” The goal was to create some fun and friendly recruitment competition during the month of April, which is FEW Membership Month The winning chapter received two free 2021 Southeast RTP registrations.

In her training and mentoring work, Hamilton relies heavily on the Time Management Matrix (Covey, Merrill, and Merrill, 1994), which sorts activities into four quadrants: urgent, not urgent, important and not important. In fact, she prints out the spreadsheet and puts it on her desk so she can prioritize her day and week. “This is probably how I was able to do so much for the last two years,” she says. “Also don’t forget to manage timewasters and set boundaries for digital wellness.”

She believes her biggest accomplishment to date, however, was playing an integral role with launching a very successful inaugural FEW Mentoring Program. The program is a 12-month training opportunity for members who aspire to become effective leaders within FEW and to build their network in the government. Hamilton started as a committee member but stepped up and became the key leader of  FEW’s Mentoring Program when the Special Assistant to the President for Mentoring gave notice due to an unexpected circumstance. Within the final three months, several practice sessions had to occur in preparation for cohort #1’s graduation and final presentations had to be delivered to the FEW National Board of Directors.

Hamilton also believes in the power of mentoring. When she recruits mentors, she asks for 30-60 minutes of their time. Then, she prepares for their sessions  well in advance to send the message that they won’t be wasting their time. “Mentors don’t have a lot of time,” she says. “I let them know that this person is serious.”

Like any serious person looking to move forward, she also has an elevator pitch to encourage other federally employed women to advance their careers.

“If your future is not becoming,” Hamilton says, “you should be coming to FEW!”

How to Pick the Best College Courses to Advance Your Federal Career

Looking for reasons to go back to school and advance your career in the federal workforce?

Here’s one: Education pays.

Workers with a bachelor’s degree make, on average, $15,000 more than those with an associate degree. Federal workers with a master’s degree or higher do even better, federal statistics show.

There’s more.

Beyond a salary boost, an advanced degree is an effective bargaining chip. Hiring managers in the federal workforce traditionally make higher offers and grant more promotion opportunities to those with more education. Also, many federal positions, including those in law, medicine or the military, require constant recertification and retraining.

FEW knows this well.

We have helped more than one million women in the military and civilian workforce become strategic leaders with a four-pillar program that emphasizes the importance of continuing education. Our Virtual Leadership Summit is our showcase event underscoring our commitment to leadership training.

And this is just one of many scholastic options at your immediate disposal. Here’s another: Continuing your education at an award-winning university.

Here are some proven tips to get your started. 

Utilize Your Career Services Office

While it’s important to study a subject you enjoy, the main reason you’re back to hitting the books and racing to make it to class is because of your career progression.

You want to take it someplace it hasn’t been yet: higher.

The best colleges and universities offer a range of subjects and courses to help you reach new career heights, so it’s essential to research what’s right for you.

And you don’t have to go at it alone.

Career services at colleges and universities help students align their coursework with the specific job positions that match their career direction. These services also help you:

  • Make connections with industry leaders that can be more difficult to make on your own.
  • Find mentors who can offer guidance about a chosen career field.
  • Speak with an executive employed by a business in your desired industry.

Career services let you know the specific skills hiring managers want from job candidates like you.

Think About the Topics You Need to Study

It’s important to enroll in classes that touch on the topics you need to master to work in the federal department you desire.

For instance, for public administration positions in the federal workforce, enroll in classes that teach public budgeting, financial administration, public policy and community analysis, experts advise.

Alternatively, if you want to extend your career in public health (one of the fastest-growing areas for employment in the federal government following the pandemic), you should enroll in specialized classes that discuss occupational health and safety. Examples include courses in comparative healthcare systems, environmental health and epidemiology.

Consult your career services office to get detailed insight into the specific course curriculum you need to take.

Research Converting Work Experience into College Credit

Many colleges and universities offer nontraditional students, such as working federal employees, class credit for vocational experience.

There’s often a credit cap limit, which varies by school. But, the benefits of converting your work experience into much-needed college credit cannot be beaten. You can skip unnecessary courses, graduate faster than your peers and often pay less than they do.

And, credit might not just be limited to how many years you’ve been on the federal payroll. You can also reportedly receive credit for specific career accomplishments, professional certifications, military training and even volunteer work, depending on the college or university.

Incoming and current adult students can start this process by speaking with an academic advisor, visiting the career services office or researching their school’s website. 

It’s a bonus if your school offers such an advantage.

Consider Whether to Attend College Online or Onsite

How do you best learn and work: onsite or online?

And which learning method can your job and personal life best accommodate?

You will need answers to these questions before enrolling – in college to earn your degree, certificate or professional credential.

Some federal employees who return to class learn best in a traditional, on-campus, in-person setting. There are fewer distractions, they say. Stronger focus. And all the tools and space they need to create a tightly focused, hands-on learning experience are front and center.

No kids or barking dogs. No ringing cell phones.

However, with the right online college or university, federal employees returning to school have greater control over their class schedule and work time. Should work responsibilities fluctuate—and for federal employees, they always do—so can study time. Commutes to school are eliminated, saving time and fuel costs. Even your networking opportunities can increase through FEW and the proper college course selection.

It’s all about what works best for you and where you want to take your career in the federal workforce next.

Look Into Ways to Make College More Affordable

For many federal employees, tuition costs determine whether returning to school is right for them. It’s an investment in their budget and time.

There are ways to lighten the financial load. For example, scholarships and grants can be fantastic options to help you pay for tuition and other college-related expenses.

The right online college or university will offer federal employees the academic tools they need to excel professionally in the federal workforce. They will also provide cost-effective tuition rates and plenty of scholarship and federal grant options to help them foot the bill.

For instance, at the University of Arkansas Grantham, military workers, such as members of the Air Force returning to school, can apply for the Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. Resilience Scholarship. In addition, the university offers similar scholarships for federal employees attending courses in criminal justice and several other majors.

Contact your school to learn about the financial aid packages available to you. Your career services department can offer a guiding eye.Federally employed women interested in returning to school and getting the degree, certification and training they need to kick their federal workplace career to the next stage can begin by registering for FEW’s Virtual Leadership Summit III or joining FEW. Contact us today to learn more.

9 Low-Carb Snacks Proven to Fight Office Weight Gain

What foods help combat type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart disease, as well as potentially certain cancers, including breast cancer?

Many of which, according to Northwestern Medicine, rank among the most prevalent health concerns for women.

The answer might surprise you: low-carb snacks.

You love oven-warm bread. So do we. But there’s a reason everyone (and lots of scientific research) says low-carb snacks and diets are so popular.

When followed closely, the best low-carb snacks are all highly effective in reducing the intake of carbs, such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables and fruit.

A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with adequate protein is also successful at:

  • Suppressing your appetite.
  • Reducing blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels.
  • Lowering blood pressure.

However, no benefit is as prevalent or as sought after as weight loss, the No. 1 reason why millions of Americans give the low-carb concept a futile try.

Why do many fail? Because coming up with tasty low-carb snacks can be incredibly challenging.

But help is on the way. Below are nine of the best low-carb snack ideas that you can happily nosh on between meals with confidence and no guilt.

Apples with Peanut Butter

The how-to here is almost self-explanatory: Slice up an apple, then spread two teaspoons’ worth of peanut butter across them.

The combo is high in protein and fiber plus highly effective at reducing hunger without interrupting a good night’s sleep. The snack tallies just 166 calories and about 22 grams of carbohydrates.

One thing to keep in mind: Buy natural peanut butter. The alternatives are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and oils. None are healthy for you, and all are drastically higher in carbs and calories.

2. Baby Carrots

Some root vegetables are what they called “tubers.” These kinds of root vegetables act as storage sites for a plant’s natural sugar. Potatoes are perhaps the most common type of “tubers.”

Thankfully, carrots are not.

Carrots are the root of carrot plants, so they’re far lower in sugar and carbs than potatoes and other “tuber” vegetables. One medium raw carrot provides 4 grams of net carbs, and a cup provides 9 grams of net carbs.

Carrots are not as low in carbs as leafy green vegetables, but they’re superior to their “tuber” relatives.

Note: We’re talking about carrots alone here, not those doused in a dip, dressing or hummus, which adds calories and carbs. Cold baby carrots can do wonders all by themselves. Give them a try, especially if you get the munchies before bedtime.

3. Air-Popped Popcorn

What is a low-carb snack that will fill you up and has just the right amount of fiber and protein with a slight dusting of carbs?

The answer is popcorn, but not any old popcorn, and not at any amount.

In this instance, the solution is air-popped popcorn, which has just 6 grams of carbs per cup. Like the baby carrots idea above, the idea is to keep the ingredients as natural as possible. That means few boxed or bagged popcorn products, like the classic movie-style popcorn you see on grocery shelves.

With natural, air-popped popcorn, a slight sprinkle of cheese is OK to ensure it remains a low-carb treat. So is adding a small amount of butter or seasoning—light, exceptionally light.

But adding sugar, caramel and chocolate are strict no-nos for high-protein, low-carb snacks. So is adding salt or oil, the latter of which can double the caloric makeup of popcorn.

4. Greek Yogurt

Once a harder-to-find commodity, Greek yogurt has exploded into mainstream popularity and is now available at your everyday corner convenience store, coffeehouse, restaurant—even airports.

That’s good news for low-carb snack enthusiasts.

Every serving of Greek yogurt is packed with protein. It’ll also keep you full longer without spiking your blood sugar like most sweetened yogurts do. Per a BMJ Open journal study of 900 yogurts, natural and Greek yogurts had significantly lower sugar content than yogurts in all the other categories.

Even low-fat or low-calorie yogurts are masquerading as a reliable health food. In these instances, salt or sugar is added to improve the taste. Always make sure to check the label.

Or save yourself the time and stick to proven Greek yogurt instead.

5. Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries

When it comes to sweet low-carb snacks, the best fruits tend to be those in the berries category, particularly blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

A half-cup of raspberries, for instance, reportedly yields three grams of carbs. Blackberries eaten in the same amount have four grams of carbs, and strawberries have six grams in the same serving.

We know: Berries are fruits that taste sweet because they contain a fair amount of natural sugar and carbohydrates. There is a reason they’re called nature’s candy.

But the facts don’t lie: Berries are low-calorie friendly in small servings.

Again, it’s all about moderation.

6. Guacamole and Sliced Veggies

Guacamole gets a green light from low-carb diets because its main ingredient, avocado, is low in carbs and high in an assortment of key nutrients, including potassium, magnesium and monounsaturated fats.

This nutritional lineup makes guacamole an easy low-carb snack to buy when served with two options: low-carb, keto-friendly chips or, even better, raw veggies, which are easier to find and never lack taste.

The most common veggies to eat with low-carb guacamole include sliced bell peppers, celery sticks, broccoli, cucumbers and cauliflower.

7. Seed Mix

Do you like trail mix? Many do. It’s easy to see why: It’s filling, flavorful and easy to make and carry around.

But trail mix is not always a healthy option, not when you sprinkle in candy, salt, chocolate and certain cereals—a trio that adds unneeded calories, sodium and sugar content, which causes weight gain and contributes to other health issues.

A better alternative? Seed mix.

Per Business Insider, 30 grams of pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seed mix equals just 175 calories, five grams of carbs and seven grams of protein. Seeds are also a reliable source of protein and healthy fats.

Other seeds you can mix in include sesame and flax seeds. Also, lightly roasting the seeds tends to enhance their flavor.

8. Cheese and Peppers

Most of the items listed are quick items you can pull from a fridge. But what if you have a few extra minutes and want to cook something low-carb and tasty on the stove?

One option: Ricotta cheese and peppers.

It’s a popular combination, but this suggestion comes with a twist: Instead of using whole-milk ricotta cheese, switch to part-skim. One ounce of part-skim ricotta cheese has about 39 calories, 1.5 grams of carbs and 3.2 grams of protein.

Using part-skim ricotta also boosts the calcium and protein intake of the low-carb snack without upping any saturated fats.

9. Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a convenient, easy-to-find and mess-free option for low-carb snacks. Protein-packed beef jerky is carb- and sugar-free and can be matched with a high-fat food item to make the ideal keto snack.

But like the Greek yogurt vs. sweetened yogurt comparison above, you need to read the nutrition label of your beef jerky package.

Does it have three or fewer grams of carbs and sugar? If so, it’s likely a winner, experts say.

If not, watch out. Many beef jerky brands can have as many as 10 grams of carbs per serving. Like low-fat or low-calorie sweetened yogurts, some beef jerky brands add sugar or sugar-based ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and honey to improve taste and production.

At FEW, women’s health is regularly advocated for and encouraged via various year-round activities. Here, we have resources to address several women’s health issues, including heart disease, cholesterol and breast cancer—all conditions that low-carb snacks can help alleviate.

To learn more about how you can improve your health, which is critically important to any born leader, send us a note. We’re here to help one delicious low-carb snack at a time.

Supercharged Productivity: Advanced Microsoft Tips & Tricks Set for July 18

Since the pandemic, employee productivity has been a hot topic.

With team members working from home full time or partially, your boss may be thinking about how the workflow could be more efficient.

And this is your opportunity to stand out among the rest.

Jamila Brown Hairston, a leader in delivering custom technology design solutions and custom training services, will present “Tips and Tricks with Microsoft Suite (Word, PowerPoint)” on Monday, July 18, 2002, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as part of the Federally Employed Women (FEW)’s Virtual Leadership Summit (VLS) III.

In this course, Hairston will cover advanced tips and tricks to help attendees increase their productivity and make collaboration more efficient. Attendees will also discover how to work smarter, not harder by leveraging easy-to-use shortcuts that can be used across multiple applications. The objective of the course is to help attendees enhance their skills, save time and become advanced power users.

In an article entitled “What Super Productive People Do Differently” in Harvard Business Review, avoiding your computer’s mouse can help you do more with less time. A Brainscape study found that people lose two seconds per minute of work by using their mouse instead of keyboard shortcuts—which comes out to eight days per year.

VLS III instructor Hairston is also co-founder of Cloud Tech Academy, a computer training school based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a distinctive woman of leadership in the technical industry with more than 15 years’ experience in delivering custom technology design solutions and custom training services. She has performed in various engineering, architecture and executive leadership roles, managing enterprise IT budgets for Fortune 10/100 companies. She founded her first IT consulting firm in 2004 where the core capabilities are represented by three divisions: Design & Delivery, Process Automation Services and Training.

Hairston’s key interest is to bring diversity awareness to technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems and a Master of Science Degree in Post-Secondary Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology. She is highly certified in the latest cloud certification platforms such as Microsoft, AWS, Google and Salesforce. She also holds various certifications in project management, web and mobile app design and additional supporting systems.

Hairston is a global innovation leader, entrepreneur and published author of her first book Master Your Destiny, which prepares readers with the step-by-step daily principles needed to obtain a full, successful life. Hairston has received several technology awards and has been recently recognized as a finalist for Woman of the Year for her community and leadership efforts in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community.

Hairston pioneers in enterprise planning services, data migration, implementations, system architecture, training and consulting services. She also holds positions on various nonprofit boards, along with avidly serving as an ambassador to foster new STEM community developments.

As co-founder of Cloud Tech Academy, Hairston helps close the economic gap for underrepresented talent around the globe. The academy prepares students for lucrative high-valued careers in today’s digital economy and has helped to gross close to $50 million in annual salaries for her community to-date. 

About VLS III

FEW will host its third year of virtual training July 18 – 22, 2022, with no per diem or lodging cost required. This training program will help attendees elevate their purpose and passion for leadership and take their career to the next level. At the VLS III, FEW will provide a catalog of courses (100+ specialized courses) on various topics, including Human Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, Information Technology, Project Management, Management and Leadership. All courses align with the Office of Personnel Management Executive Core Competencies (Leading People, Leading Change, Business Acumen, Result Driven and Building Coalitions). 

In addition, FEW will hold several after-hour networking events for attendees to share their thoughts and openly celebrate the many successful activities happening within FEW. The VLS III is the connection attendees need to develop their leadership skills, expand their knowledge of the greatness that diversity and inclusion bring and build a stronger partnership for a brighter future. 

The VLS III sessions were designed to target entry-level employees up to senior executive decision-makers and policymakers for both civilian and military employees. Prosperity is the goal as FEW helps attendees reach their fullest potential.   

Register today.

2022 VLS Training: How to Break Bias in the Workplace

Disengaged employees, hindered by unconscious bias in the workplace, costs U.S. businesses nearly $550 million each year.

And that’s only accounting for loss of productivity.

So, how do we make it stop?

Tony Chatman, a corporate relationship expert, will present “Breaking Bias in the Workplace: Overcoming Unconscious Decisions that Lead to Unexpected Consequences” on July 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. as part of the Federally Employed Women’s Virtual Leadership Summit III.

Chatman says awareness is the first step to fight our unconscious biases. He likens bias to a recipe that we have baked inside all of us. “In our minds, we have recipes for what things should be,” says the author of The Force Multiplier: How to Lead Teams Where Everyone Wins.“We have a recipe for what ‘smart’ looks like, for what ‘safe’ looks like, what ‘trustworthy’ looks like.” We don’t always realize that these things happen, and that they are impacting our decision-making. Based on science, 90% of our decisions originate out of our subconscious. We are not consciously making these decisions. Our brain is doing it for us before we realize it.”

He also works hard to remove the stigma from personal bias, which makes the topic easier to discuss.

“Unconscious bias is not a barometer for morality,” he says. “Unconscious bias is a function of how you were raised, your experiences, your education, exposure to television programming, etc. You are not a good or bad person based on your unconscious bias. I’m saying you’re a person. These are the flaws that keep people from making good decisions. Although it’s a method of diversity, inclusion and equity, what we are really doing by being aware is making better decisions.”

Unconscious bias, which can lead to discrimination, takes many forms, ranging from ethnicity, gender, disabilities and weight.

Consider the research:

  • Resumes that included photos of female job candidates before they had weight loss surgery scored far lower on leadership potential and starting salary. Thinner women earn $19,000 more annually.
  • Candidates who disclosed disabilities were 26% less likely to get responses.
  • Resumes with white-sounding names received 50% more calls for interviews than identical resumes with black-sounding names.
  • A study of identical resumes found that 79% of applicants with a man’s name versus 49% of those with a woman’s name were “worthy of hire.”

There are several tactics that managers can employ to keep their own biases in check.

Chatman says managers must make themselves aware that bias can impact their own decisions. “Being aware will put you on alert,” he says. “It will make you trust your gut less—that’s critical. Your gut houses all your biases.”

The president of Chatman Enterprises advises managers to volunteer, which will put them in the position to meet different people. To take that thought to the next step, managers could also offer to serve as a mentor to team members at the company. “The bigger your circle, the less likely that you will be influenced by biases,” he says. “It’s huge.”

Removing applicant details also can help hiring managers curb their biases. In other words, no names, photos, zip codes or educational institutions—just skills and experience.

“We have a pre-made suit in our mind. We assess people, not based on their talent, but on whether they fit in the suit,” Chatman says. “Most hiring managers hire people like themselves. That’s who makes them most comfortable. That means the people at the top hire ‘themselves’ and then promote ‘themselves’ so you end up with groupthink. You can’t have diversity of thought if everyone is the same.”

Introducing accountability to the mix is a must. And by adding “accountability,” Chatman isn’t talking about quotas. He suggests that hiring managers should 1) develop a predetermined process, 2) make it transparent and 3) review to see if the process was followed.

For employees who need to build connections with a supervisor who may be biased, Chatman has a few suggestions. First, focus on your first impression, especially your appearance and vernacular. “The first impression is an anchor. It reframes everything people do around you,” he says.

At that point, employees should move out of their own comfort zone to put others at ease.

“Make sure you attend company events because you will need social time with decision-makers so they can become more comfortable with you,” Chatman says. “And when the time is right, ask for a mentor. Networking and mentoring are your two greatest resources to fight bias in the workplace.”

Chatman has worked with hundreds of corporations and government agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, The Department of Homeland Security, Chase Bank, Estee Lauder, NASA and Jefferson Health to help people reach new heights of effectiveness by understanding themselves and others better. As a leadership keynote speaker, his passion is contagious, and his messages provide practical, usable knowledge that people implement immediately for business and personal success.

To learn more about all the courses offered at FEW’s Virtual Leadership Summit III, please click here to develop your career.

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.