Happy Anniversary, FEW.

Federally Employed Women is extremely proud to be marking our 54th anniversary – a significant milestone that few companies achieve.  May the journey of our success continue throughout the upcoming year.  Here’s to wishing all of us a Happy 54th Anniversary!

It is particularly gratifying to celebrate this anniversary as the future forest of our organization looks so bright. We have made it through a turbulent time in our history and have sustained our momentum for FEW’s mission, vision, and purpose.  We continued to grow and build on our illustrious reputation and marked new territory for growth.  FEW is an organization that helps level the pool of candidates to include women and provides the personal and professional development needed through leadership. I am proud to say the dynamic work of FEW continues on. 

Reflecting on the long history of this organization, I’d like to acknowledge each Past President and their National Board of Directors members. Their leadership built this organization from one small group in Washington D.C to a nationwide organization strong and respected worldwide for representing women in federal service ensuring equity for everyone.

To all our members, sponsors, supporters, and friends – I thank you for your continued commitment to FEW. We hope to be able to share the celebration of our 54th Anniversary.  Not many organizations can say that they lasted this long.

Here’s to another fantastic year.

Providing Healing, Promoting Hope – It’s Our History!

There has never been a more befitting time than now to unite around the 2022 theme for Women’s History Month, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.”  We are hopeful as we do our part to spread knowledge and healing.   For over half a century, FEW has been on the frontlines to help and provide hope for the millions of people serving in the federal sector.  Now we are even more enthusiastic and determined to work for the advancement of women.  As we go forth and recognize the many achievements of some amazing women this month, I can promise you that in our pursuit for a more equitable, diversified, and inclusive working environment for women in the government, there is hope.  

FEW is honored to have so many amazing women among the ranks.  At FEW, we celebrate women’s empowerment as active contributors to the federal government and recognize the achievements women have made throughout American history in strengthening the foundation of our American democratic republic.  As members of the civilian or military workforce, the very nature of our job is to provide healing and hope to the American people.  We understand the impact of coming together to protect and service our nation and ensure our sustainability is its strength.  In FEW, our vision is to “Soar to New Heights,” and develop new and emerging women leaders and expand the concept of women’s empowerment to address the need for gender equality in careers.  Again, there is hope.

And, to all of us fabulous women as FEW celebrate Women’s History Month, let us remember the words of the great poet Maya Angelou:

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   

I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   

I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.  
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.

I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Happy National Women’s Month!

Leadership Next Level: People, Purpose and Passion

In light of the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic and the many variants, the National Board of Directors has decided that the only responsible path forward is to hold another year of remote training.  Being a part of the solution is not easy; yet, with the increasing number of variants and COVID-19 cases of death, FEW will continue to make the safety of our members, attendees, volunteers, and staff our top priority. And, due to the current status of the pandemic, many employees and agencies are re-instituting or maintaining limits on travel.

Thus, we have heard your concerns, and it is with great comfort that FEW announces the Virtually Leadership Summit III (VLS III) on July 18 – 22, 2022. This year’s theme is “Leadership Next Level: People, Purpose and Passion,” which exemplifies your ability to explore your passion and purpose and take leadership over your life and career to the next level.  It will be hosted on a completely interactive training platform that will engage and demonstrate leadership at the next level.

The VLS III planning committee is at work developing a prominent training catalog.  We are excited at this opportunity to reinvent our training program and bring you an extraordinary virtual training experience. Now more than ever, it is essential that you sharpen your knowledge and skills to meet the challenges we face in the ever-changing work environment.  The VLS III is targeted at entry-level employees and senior decision-makers and policymakers for both civilian and military employees. We will meet you at the VLS III, where countless specialized courses on topics such as EEO, HR, IT and, Project Management and Leadership will be held for your learning experience.  The benefit of training with FEW are enormous.  All sessions align with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Executive Core Competencies (Leadership Change, Business Acumen, Results Driven, and Building Coalitions). We anticipate that the VLS III will eliminate some of the access barriers for attending an in-person event.

So, visit the VLS III website page often for current information and remember to register early. FEW will be thoughtful and prudent in keeping you abreast of all VLS III activities.  Registration will open soon. After 53 years of offering a premier training program, we don’t want to miss this invigoration experience. 

We look forward to seeing you “online” at the VLS III!

MLK Day – Join FEW for “A Day of Service”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s federal holiday reminds me of what is good about our nation and the federal workforce that serves the American people each day.   FEW is an organization proud to add to the legacy of “A Day of Service.”  As our nation deals with the impact of so much unrest, we still are on the front lines helping our fellow man create a unified, inclusive, fair environment for all people.   Our goals are unwavering in bringing civility for humans and serving each other to get the job done.  So, I humbly invite you to join FEW in ensuring MLK Day 2022 is – Not a day off but a day on.  In recognition of the global work and achievement of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we will be monetarily donating to the Gleaners Food Bank.  All donations are tax-deductible, and with Gleaners’ bulk purchasing power and efficient distribution network, they can provide 3 meals for every dollar donated to help reach children, seniors, veterans, and other neighbors in need. 

Please join FEW in giving a monetary donation to Gleaners Food Bank.  I am asking each person who is able to give a $20 donation.  All donations are appreciated, and I would like to recognize you for your gift. So, send me an email too. Let’s help out a community and people in need with you service especially since so many have been impacted by this pandemic that is still going on. Donations can be made by clicking this link.   Help us feed our hungry neighbors! – Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (gcfb.org)

Welcome, 2022! Happy New Year.

This is always a hopeful time, as we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. And while 2021 was difficult for many of us, we must also look back on this year with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us – that although our challenges are significant, each of us has the courage and determination to rise above and meet them as we have done so many times before.  My hope for all of us is that 2022 be a year of balance and of profound resilience in all aspects of our lives.   FEW is an organization that thrives as the pressure rises. We teach leadership principles that create opportunities for advancement for pay and career equity for all people. 

As we usher in the new year, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.  There is one thing I know for sure—that our future is bigger and brighter because of all of you.   In the new year, we will face the continuation of a global pandemic, uncertainty of government regulations, holding FEW national elections, and transition of elected officers, yet, all of us will remain steadfast and unmovable as we continue “Soaring to New Heights.”

It is that spirit that FEW will progress forward and build generations of strong leaders and that spirit will drive us to be more inclusive and keep FEW alive for generations to come. Happy New Year.

Happy Thanksgiving from FEW

Thanksgiving is a special holiday when we show gratitude for the things that we hold dear.

As we continue our march forward for equity and equality in the workforce, we must not forget our blessings from 2021.

In January, President Biden issued an executive order that revoked barriers to federal employees’ due process rights. Schedule F was a new classification of federal employees who would not been allowed to engage in collective bargaining or any sort of due process when facing termination. It would have shifted the selection process to favor the whims of agency/presidential administrations, rather than the qualifications of candidates.

In June, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives voted to establish “Juneteenth National Independence Day,” a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery. Peaceful protest arising out of the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd fueled a conversation that become the new holiday. It’s the first federal holiday created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

In October, an all-female changing guard served the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery’s most iconic memorial—for the first time. Army soldiers have performed a 24-hour changing of the guard ceremony for 84 years, but this time all three soldiers were women. Women were not allowed to volunteer for the Tomb Guard Platoon until 1994.

And yet our mission continues. Our national theme for Women’s History Month still rings true: Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced. Women are still underrepresented on the federal and state level.

Our struggle may be long and hard, but we are grateful that we continue together.

Thank you for being an invaluable member.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

As another year draws to a close most of you will be in the midst of preparations for this festive season. This is a very special time of the year and I want to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous Holiday Season and Happy New Year.

This is the time of celebration and reflection of a year of ups and downs.  As volunteers and great leaders withing this organization, I know hard it has been to cultivate real relationships and network with other like-minded people who believe in making a difference.  

That’s why I want to invite you to the first ever joint holiday celebration of federal service organizations.  “In the name of Unity” will be a virtual event full of live music, prizes and fun.  We have invited a host of volunteer federal service organization together to strengthen our bonds and recognize how we support employees in the government.  The virtual celebration will be on December 16, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  

To the National Board members, I want to thank them for their dedication to the success of FEW and for their tremendous input to the proper governance of our organization. I also wish to acknowledge the participation of our Regional and Chapter Board members. They commit endless hours of volunteer time to make sure our members are provided with opportunities to continue learning, to network and socialize with other dynamic professionals.

Lastly, to you the members, my sincere appreciation for your support of FEW and the pride you demonstrate at being members of an elite community. You are the source of the strength of the work we do to advance women along their path. I urge you to stay in contact and communicate with us, in person, online and via social media.

On behalf of my family and the National Board of Directors, we hope this holiday season is an exceptionally good and safe one and that the New Year brings you much health, happiness and prosperity.

Happy Holidays,
Karen Rainey, National President

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

FEW joins in the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 – October 15.  We honor those of American decent whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.   The 2021 theme “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and hope” reflects the values we all cherish as we recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover the 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Happy Labor Day

Today, we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workforce and is trajectory of labor movement from the 19th century. For the millions of employees in the United States, we thank you for your service and we wish you a peaceful and relaxing Labor Day. 

FEW is proud to have dedicated and competent members that serve our nation.  We celebrate your achievements from this past year and look forward with excitement to what we can do together in the coming year! Our accomplishments over this past year have been tremendous because we, collectively, have stood side-by-side each other to make them happen. I thank each of you for being “all in.” On this day when we celebrate Labor Day and we celebrate you. May you have a peaceful and relaxing Happy Labor Day!

It matters, Women’s Equality Day!

Today, we honor the pioneers of women’s equality by doing our part to realize their struggle and living their dream of voting.  Women’s Equality Day, August 26th, commemorates the struggles of women to be heard, as fierce advocates who gained the statutory right to vote. FEW ask you to join us as we remember their spirit of never giving up fighting for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion of a woman’s voice through their vote.   

But it wasn’t over with the passage of the 19th Amendment for all women.  While women in some states could already vote before 1920, women in some states—particularly those of color—were blocked from voting after ratification. It wasn’t until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, that African American women were granted the right to vote.  Additionally, the voting rights of Native American women were not recognized until 1924. For Chinese American women, it was 1943, and for Japanese and other Asian American women it was 1952.  And even today, there is conversation and legislation introduce on the right to vote.

As we commemorate Women’s Equality Day, let’s remember that empowered women, empower other women and with great respect, power, success comes great responsibility. It is our responsibility to vote. Women in public service and government have long served this nation by working to clear barriers, enforce laws, implement new ideas, and change people’s attitudes. FEW members are there to lead and we continue the work of the suffragist and ensuring our voice be heard through our vote.