COLUMBUS, Ohio –
A March 28 leadership summit at the Defense Supply Center Columbus honored contributions of women in central Ohio and highlighted their journeys of persistence and resiliency.
The Equal Employment Opportunity office’s Federal Women’s Program hosted leading women from the fields of business, politics, government and military as part of its recognition of Women’s History Month.
Following a networking breakfast, the general session opened with remarks by Don Schulze, deputy chief of staff for Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime.
“Women’s history is the history of our nation. It’s all of our history,” Schulze said. “Let’s spend today honoring our national promise of equality and continuing to highlight the achievements of women that lead this endeavor.”
A guest panel spoke to a crowd of more than 200 members of the Defense Federal Community inside DSCC’s Armed Forces Reserve Center. The four women shared their stories and discussed their personal interpretation of the month’s theme – “Nevertheless She Persisted.”
The panel included Lori Tyack, Franklin County clerk of courts; Cheryl Brooks Sullivan, Franklin County treasurer; McQueta Williams, CEO of Envision Proven Success and Elfi Di Bella, executive vice president of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.
“I have three things that I tell people,” Tyack told the audience. “First, know yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses and your talents. Second, promote your ideas. And third – never miss an opportunity. It may never come again.”
The women spoke about overcoming personal and professional challenges and how they credited perseverance with their success.
As the first African American elected to the position of treasurer in Franklin County, Sullivan said she’s received judgements and criticisms during her political career. She said she maintains her confidence by allowing only one person to create her narrative – herself.
The panel took questions from the audience and offered advice for other women who may want to pursue similar career paths. They all agreed on the value of persistence in the face of adversity and learning from life’s challenges.
Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams provided a keynote speech about leadership during the Woman of the Year awards luncheon. She said becoming a leader requires an evolution of self-image that is just as important as the way one is perceived by others.
Each year at the summit an award is presented to one member of the military and one civilian employee who exemplifies the values of the Defense Federal Community. This year, nine civilians and three service members received nominations.
Amy Rich, an acquisition specialist at DLA Land and Maritime, received the Woman of the Year award in the civilian category. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dessie Rodriguez, an industrial customer account specialist at DLA Land and Maritime received the award in the military category.
The luncheon also honored the winner of Broadleigh Elementary School’s essay contest. Makayla Gilliam won first place with her essay about civil rights icon Shirley Chisholm. After reading her essay, Gilliam received a standing ovation from the audience.
A series of afternoon workshops focused on topics including unconscious bias, interviewing techniques and wellness matters.
For information about future Federal Women’s Program activities, contact EEO FWP Chair, Debra Hobbs, at Debra.Hobbs@dla.mil or EEO FWP Coordinator, Foronda Hall, at Foronda.Hall@dla.mil.