Distribution celebrates women’s history with panel discussion, unveils Distribution Hall of Fame

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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DLA Distribution celebrated the rich history of women during the DLA Distribution Multicultural Committee’s Women’s History Month event, which included a panel of trailblazing Distribution women on March 14.

This year’s Women’s History theme, “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” honors the generations of women who have courageously broken down barriers, shattered stereotypes, and changed our society.

The program began with Distribution employee, Natalie Morris’ seven year old daughter Gabrielle singing the national anthem.

The panel assembled for the talk show style question and answer session included former DLA Distribution commanding generals retired Army Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, retired Army Brig. Gen. Barbara Doornink, former DLA Distribution deputy commander Phyllis Campbell, SES and current deputy commander Twila Gonzales, SES. The session was moderated by deputy chief of staff Stacy Umstead.

The group of trendsetting women fielded questions ranging from the progress women have made in the military to civil rights of women today, as well as advice they had for women and men regarding the keys to success both personally and professionally.

Doornink served as the first female commander of DLA Distribution from July 1998 to August 2000. Gainey served as commander from August 2002 to August 2004. Campbell was deputy commander under both, serving from July 1998 to March 2007. Gonzales, the current deputy commander, also served as the director of DLA Disposition Services.

During Campbell’s tenure at Distribution the organization greatly evolved and was able to move closer to the Warfighter, finding ways to become more efficient.

“The key to success is shared values for the organization,” explained Campbell. “The Warfighter knew we were capable of being more than we were.”

As times have changed, women are finding more opportunities to use their voice in order to become more involved and to progress their professional lives. Gonzales explained that it is important for young women to get involved with school, church, and the community. “Real change comes by being relentless.”

The entire panel and their combined years of professional experience allowed them to work with many different leadership types. They unanimously agreed that an inclusive leadership style is the most conducive to an effective organization.

“The best leaders have always been the best listeners,” said Doornink.

In agreement with Doornink, Gainey explains “an inclusive leadership style will pay a lot more in dividends. A good leader should give their comments last.”

Following the Women’s History event, was the unveiling of the DLA Distribution Hall of Fame. Gainey, Doornink and Campbell were honored by being the first three former Distribution employees to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Each were honored with a specially designed bust.

All Distribution employees who have been inducted into the DLA Hall of Fame will be inducted into the Distribution Hall of Fame.