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Senior Professional Women's Association
Updated: 18 min 15 sec ago

American Heart Association Walk – First SPWA “Networking for a Cause” Event

Thursday 8th of November 2018 01:24:01 PM

Our first SPWA “Networking for a Cause” Heart Walk was a success because of you.  Twelve SPWA members and friends participated in the Heart Walk on November 3rd.  We exceeded our goal and raised $420 for
the American Heart Association.  Thank you for your support!!

2018 Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:57:27 AM

Please visit our awards page to learn more about our award winners and read the full-length winning essays:

Meritorious Essay – Mrs. Carrie Limo

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:50:27 AM

Mrs. Limo was selected for the Meritorious Essay Award.

Mrs. Carrie Limo is a Logistics Management Specialist for the Logistics Panel, Directorate of Resource Integration, DCS/Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection (HQ USAF/A4).  She has worked for DoD for the last 16 years and currently serves as the Lead Logistics Analyst for Air Force planning and programming in support of the $23B logistics portfolio. Mrs. Limo is responsible for the advocacy of logistics resource requirements through the Air Force’s Corporate Structure. Most importantly, Mrs. Limo is a wife and mom to three beautiful girls.

The meritorious essay is published here:

In the Fall 2001, it was my senior year and I went to a job fair hosted by my university. There, I was recruited for what was then known as the Department of Army’s Transportation Career Intern Program. The recruiter told me that this program was a Federal Intern Program, which would make me a Federal employee. The recruiter also explained that interns in this program were brought in as GS-07s, and that by the end of the program were promoted to GS-11. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t know anything about transportation, logistics, the GS pay scale, or how federal internships differed from any other intern program. I knew I needed a job after graduation, and I gave the recruiter my resume.

During the interview process, I learned that federal intern programs were highly competitive programs typically for recent college graduates. These programs were designed to train, develop and grow the best and the brightest for careers in federal service. Federal intern programs were typically two years of intense and focused training in a specific career fields. This training was a combination of functional and leadership courses.

I got the job as an Army intern. Within my first month on the job, I learned about the Army’s Logistics Career Pyramid. At the base of this pyramid were Wage Grade employees, along with GS-01s through GS-05s. In the middle were the GS-07s to GS-13s. At the top of the pyramid sat GS-14s through the Senior Executive Service. I knew immediately that I wanted to see the very top of that pyramid, and later learned that my intern program was the first step in my professional development.

The Army spent about 2 years and approximately $250K to train, develop, and grow me and 20 other interns. They sent me to military training courses, transportation courses, leadership courses, and then to transportation offices and operations to apply what I’d learned. When I completed the intern program, their interest in my professional development didn’t end. I was then part of a career field that sent out a variety of course offerings to further my growth as a logistician and leader. The career field also funded advanced degrees and rotations at temporary long-term training assignments. Most importantly, the career field could connect you with mentors; those that could help you navigate your career path because they had walked it before you.

As I advanced in my career, I crossed paths with fellow logisticians that had never heard of a federal intern program. Some of these logisticians had spent a decade or more in logistics and had no idea who their career field manager was or what professional development opportunities were available to them. These fellow logisticians had tremendous potential and a proven track record of success; however, they were stagnant in their jobs. The only difference between us was the way we entered Federal Service. It was at this critical point in my career that I finally understood the importance of professional development, and the importance of inspiring others to pursue continual professional development.

Through it all, I’ve learned that professional development is the difference between a career and a job. For this reason, it is so very important take advantage of professional development opportunities and to inspire others to do the same. To do this effectively, I’ve found that a more informal approach works best. It only takes a few seconds to forward an article, an announcement for tuition assistance, an announcement for a course offering, or even a membership opportunity for a professional organization. A 10-minute coffee run or a 5-minute phone call can be a mentoring session. Inviting a colleague to a professional organization’s sponsored event or out to lunch can build lasting relationships and create networks. Through these efforts, I’ve been fortunate enough to see people obtain advanced degrees that were thought to be out of reach. I’ve been able to connect people to opportunities that would broaden their skills and expertise. However, the most rewarding experience is seeing someone get a well-deserved promotion after taking deliberate steps towards their professional development.

Because of the career path I was fortunate enough to stumble on, I was groomed to seek out professional development opportunities and pursue them. Subsequently, I was able to build a resume that enabled me to successfully compete for bigger and better opportunities. These opportunities and my experiences taught me the importance professional development. I also learned the importance of sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for others to learn, grow, and develop. For those of us fortunate to have come into Federal Service on a well-defined career path, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to invest in our professional development and to inspire those around us to pursue their own professional development.

Distinguished Essay – Col Naomi Mercer

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:44:46 AM

Lieutenant Colonel Naomi Mercer was selected for the Distinguished Essay Award. 

Lieutenant Colonel Naomi Mercer is the Chief of Command Policy in the Directorate of Military Personnel Management, for the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, Department of the Army.  Her portfolio includes: the Soldier 2020 (Gender Integration) and the religious accommodation programs.  She earned a doctorate in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of the 2015 book, Toward Utopia, which explores feminist science fiction writers’ responses to religious fundamentalism, and the TedEd script for “The Handmaid’s Tale” animated short.  She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, teenage daughter, and two demanding cats.

The winning essay, “Make the Ask,” is published here:

Research shows that women do not consider running for political office until someone asks them to do it. Women do not consider pursuing a promotion until someone tells them they should put their name in. Women do not think they can fill a more challenging leadership role at work or in their community until another leader asks them. Women do not ask each other for business deals because they are afraid of ruining their friendships. Rather, women frequently take on behind the scenes roles of their own initiative and develop themselves quietly. Unlike men, who publicly put themselves forward and fail upward with regularity, women need to be asked.

If that’s the case, then we as professional women must make “the ask.” We are not obligated to say yes when someone asks us to take on a task for which we are not suited or no one else is willing to do. However, if we don’t ask other women to take on the stretch roles, to lead the committees, to run for office, how much potential is then left untapped?

I have lately cultivated a habit of asking women who are more senior to me what their next challenge will be and not if they plan to pursue it, but when. I have frequently responded to former students in the affirmative that I would write a recommendation for their fellowships and graduate programs. But, like many other women, I find asking others for help or support on my own behalf more difficult. I’m fairly certain that other women have hesitated to ask me for some small favor that I could easily provide.

When we make the ask, we may be asking other women to put themselves forward in ways that are scary and outside their comfort zones. Yet in these challenges women can grow and can affect great change for themselves, their families, and their communities. We owe it to ourselves to make the ask on our own behalf, despite our discomfort. We owe it to other women to plant the seed that they can and should step out of their comfort zones.

When I recently asked a retiring colonel if she planned to run for office: she said yes. After hearing a new master’s degree graduate’s passion for an inner city project, I asked if she would pursue it for a doctorate she had not completely decided upon: she said yes. A protégé asked me if I would write a letter of recommendation for her: I said yes. An organization I joined less than two years before asked me to join their board of directors: I said yes. I asked a senior executive service woman in my organization if she would look over my 13-page specialized qualifications resume: she said yes. Make the ask.

Excellence in Community Outreach – Dr Pam Clay

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:36:07 AM

Dr. Pamela Clay is dedicated to service to the DoD and the northern Virginia community.  In 2016, she because a Master Food Volunteer for the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Using nearly one week of annual leave to take required training, she passed a readiness test and began volunteering.  She has volunteered for 13 events over 18 months that range from assisting with school nutrition programs to providing food demos at the Arlington Food Assistance Center.  With a strong desire to serve in mind, she proposed to the SPWA Board the addition of a new Vice President position for Community Outreach.  The Board unanimously agreed and elected her as the first VP of Community Outreach.  Dr. Clay established a partnership with Suited for Change, an organization that provides head-to-toe professional attire to local women in need who are entering the job market or to those recently employed.  Through Dr. Clay’s advocacy, SPWA members have donated hundreds of pieces of professional attire and crafted professional development seminars to women in need entering the job marked.   Committed to growing tomorrow’s citizens, Dr. Clay volunteers with the Higher Achievement Program (HAP) which is a formal academic after-school and summer program for middle school children.  Since 2016, she has volunteered hundreds of tutoring and mentoring hours.

Dr. Pamela Clay is a Senior Financial Management (FM) Workforce Development Specialist in the Financial Workforce Management Division of the Human Capital and Resource Management Directorate, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller).  She supports DoD FM human capital planning and workforce development initiatives.  Dr. Clay has over 30 years of civilian service in financial management, human capital, and workforce development and has held various positions in several agencies in the federal government, mostly within DoD.  She is a learner, teacher, and mentor.

Excellence in Mentorship – Ms. Melissa Blakesly

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:33:19 AM

Ms. Melissa Blakesly has a genuine love of mentoring and steps in when she sees a gap in mentorship.  In addition to mentoring 38 women, she has mentored 21 male participants.  Ms. Blakesly is very active in the Acquisition Shadow Program which involves numerous individuals from the acquisition FM community who visit the DC area for mentoring and shadowing.   For female mentees, she drives home the Forbes statistic:  “men apply for a job if they have 60% of the skills required, women apply only if they have 100% of the skills required.  Sharing this stat has been eye opening and encouraging for female mentees to have the courage to apply for opportunities.  Melissa leads by example serving as a role model to her peers and as an inspiration to those early in career development.  She has identified road blocks such as a policy issue that block excepted service (ES) employees from pursuing professional military education which is largely required in Air Force to be promoted.   She sought out and collaborated with the AF manpower policy and the AF Barrier Analysis Working Group to change the policy.   As a result of her leadership and determination, military spouses in excepted service positions have an improved glide path for career progression.

Melissa D. Blakesly serves as the Deputy Director, Air Force Congressional Budget and Appropriations Liaison, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, Pentagon Washington, D.C.  She is responsible for liaison service to the Budget and Appropriations Committees, particularly the Defense and Military Construction-VA Subcommittees of the House and U.S. Senate.  Ms. Blakesly began her career in private industry and entered federal civil service in 2008. Her career has been mainly focused on financial management and acquisition. Her most recent position was the Director of the Commander’s Action Group for the Auditor General of the Air Force (2016) through the AF Civilian Strategic Leadership Program. Prior to that, she held positions as the Workforce Development lead for the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cost and Economics and in the Joint Strike Fighter Program office in Arlington, VA, She also worked on the F-22 Program as a financial manager and cost estimator and on the AF Lifecycle Management Center’s cost staff.

Excellence in Leadership – Ms. Che Glover

Monday 29th of October 2018 01:30:44 AM

Ms. Che Glover is a role model for women in a historically white male dominated field.  As a difference maker, she generously gives of her time to work closely with employees, especially females for the betterment of the organization and all employees.  As a result of a work group she led, a new office in NCIS was established:  the Diversity & Inclusion Program Office along with the first-ever NCIS Chief Diversity Officer hired in July.  The innovative and strategic program effectively assists NCIS leaders to fully incorporate diversity in management and operational decisions and model equal opportunity to foster a culture of diversity & inclusion.

Ché Glover is currently assigned as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Senior Representative to the Secretariat where she manages agents and analysts embedded in key commands within the Pentagon.  Special Agent Glover graduated Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College and completed a Master of Arts Degree from Memphis State University.  Securing employment through the Outstanding Scholar’s Program, she began her federal government career in 1992 with the U.S. Customs Service.  Over her 26 years in federal law enforcement, she has had the pleasure of working for a variety of agencies all over the world.  She has spent the last 17 years dedicated to NCIS. In September 2009, she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Global War on Terrorism for her force protection deployment efforts in support of DoN activities in the Middle East. She is married to Special Agent David Glover, NCIS Senior Representative to the Joint Staff, J2X, Pentagon.  They have two children, Gabrielle (13) and Brandon (10).

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