Women's event offers career training, celebrates history
March 21, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - More than 150 Aberdeen Proving Ground employees attended the 23rd Annual Federal Women's Program training conference March 13 at the Mallette Training Center Auditorium on the C4ISR campus.
The FWP promotes the advancement of federally employed women in the workplace. The conference is an annual opportunity to address employment concerns. This year's theme was "Women inspiring innovation through imagination: celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."
"This theme honors generations of women who throughout American history have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder, and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to the STEM fields," said Rosa Garris-Turner, from the APG Garrison Equal Employment Opportunity Office who opened the conference. "Women's history is our nation's story. It is the story of how notable and ordinary women have changed America and how we will continue to do so."
The guest speaker of the women's history observance was retired Brig. Gen. Belinda Pinckney, vice president of business development for Owen Software Ltd., a company whose focus is growing future leaders in STEM careers.
Pinckney said positive influences gave her the confidence to become an Army leader. She said a female math teacher inspired her to become a finance specialist in the Army, and when she was an enlisted Soldier, noncommissioned officers encouraged her to take her career further by going to Officer Candidate School.
"Mentoring is very important, whether you get it from your superiors, whether you get it from your peers or whether you get it from your subordinates, you get it at all levels," she said. "To a certain extent, everyone is a leader."
Pinckney added that diversity can create success in the workplace.
"I like differences; I like when people with different thinking come to the table, because I know that gives me a wider variety of solution sets to choose from," she said. "My approach was always, let's look at the good people bring to the table. It's the leader's responsibility to position people for success."
The program included educational performances. ATEC/AEC employees recited "Phenomenal Women" by Maya Angelou; Rachel Acevedo, from CHRA, sang "I am Woman (Hear me Roar)," by Helen Reddy and Renesha Robinson from CECOM sang "I'm Every Woman," by Whitney Houston.
The daylong event included workshops on interviewing, mentoring, and Army acquisition career pathways. During lunch, attendees visited vendors and participated in giveaways.
First time attendee LaVern Dowdy, from the CBRNE Analytical Remediation Activity Lab, brought her granddaughter and niece, both high school juniors, to the conference so they could learn more about government careers. She said that they enjoyed networking with other women who work on post.
"The women that I met were very supportive. I am refreshed and enlightened that I have forces that stand up and support me as a federal employee," she said. "I am more informed of what 'sisterhood' really feels like and what I have been missing!"
Marcia Sommers and Karen Pitts from CECOM said that they thought the information, such as how to prepare for an interview, was helpful.
"The information presented was relevant to today's current situation and circumstances," said Pitts, referring to budget freezes and possible furloughs. "I felt encouraged talking to others. Events like these help keep morale up."
The FWP committee is seeking members from APG organizations and units. For more information call 410-436-5501.