Women’s Program workshop drives participants to action

By Mislin A. Hampton DLA Columbus EEO Public Affairs Liaison

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As part of the National Women’s History Month celebration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Federal Women’s Program hosted a workshop for GS-12’s and above titled “Moving Strategy into Action” focusing on women in the workplace. This event took place Mar. 22 at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) Installation. Twenty-five employees from the federal community participated in this workshop.

Deborah P. Haven, deputy director of Maritime Customer Operations at Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime conducted the workshop. Haven is also a rear admiral in the navy reserve and director of the DLA Joint Reserve Force (J9). A native of Philadelphia, Haven graduated from the University of Maryland and has a Master of Business Administration in Management Science from La Salle University in Philadelphia.

The workshop focused on three major topics: 1) Haven’s professional and military backstory, 2) leadership philosophy, and 3) the audience’s story. During her introduction, Haven said, “There's no problem being a woman. That’s the other folk’s problem. You need to be self-aware. Know your story. Never give up.”

Haven is the youngest of four siblings who grew up in a patriotic and humble environment. There were no barriers or limitations based on sex. Her family treated her with respect and truly believed in her potential as woman. While growing up she had the opportunity to be in Morocco, Africa and saw firsthand how extreme the poverty was in that country. This experience was life changing and helped her learn to embrace diversity. She said she became more culturally aware, experienced and valued different backgrounds, and became more open-minded. While sharing her story, Haven reminded the participants of the importance of identifying and understanding what drives you. She said a person needs to know what really motivates them.

“No is the beginning of the conversation; It’s an opportunity. You need to know your strategy to move forward and be innovative,” Haven said. “Understand the law, rules, and what you need to get a yes.”

Haven recommended the following tips to be a more effective and successful leader, based on her leadership journey:

  1. Know how to control your amygdala – The amygdala plays a critical role in creating and storing your brain’s emotional reactions in response to frightening situations. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol flood our system, immediately preparing you to fight, or flight. If a person can’t control the amygdala, they may overreact. Every time someone feels the sensation that their brain will explode, they should take a deep breath and think about a picture, happy memory, or something that will help them to relax, or calm down. “Don’t make the situation worse,” Haven said. “Don’t bring drama to the workplace. Don’t gossip. Don’t overreact. Remember everyone is watching you.”
  2. Be coachable – This is one of life’s most important skills and attitudes. It means that you are ready to do what it takes to change, transform, improve, or excel as a leader. “You need to learn how to soften your approach. There is a way to frame information. You don’t have to prove that you’re the smartest person in the room,” Haven said. “Don’t be a perfectionist who can’t move forward every time there’s a conflict.”
  3. Help and energize others – People should always look for the good. Haven encouraged the audience to recognize and celebrate when coworkers and teams are doing something good. “Don’t be the mean girl. We need to open the doors for those behind us. Don’t blame others for your own failures. Always be polite, and professional,” she said.

For more information related to the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) activities please contact EEO FWP Chair at 614-692-5263 or EEO FWP Coordinator at 614-692-2434.