COLUMBUS, Ohio –
A March 27 women’s 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 Air Force Col. Janette Ketchum, chief of staff for Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime.
“The agenda for today’s summit is packed with a variety of activities and I’m sure every one of you here will leave today with something that uplifts and stimulates you,” Ketchum said.
A guest panel spoke to a crowd of more than 150 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 – “Visionary Women: Making a Positive Difference Through Social Change.”
The panel included: Claudia Y. De Leon, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus; Adrienne Ruff, founder of She is Visionary; Marlene Carson, Ph.D., founder and CEO of The Switch Anti-Trafficking Network and Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Angela J. Beltz, chair, Ohio Women Veterans Advisory Committee. The women spoke about overcoming personal and professional challenges and credited perseverance with their success.
At the end of the discussion panel members took questions from the audience and offered advice to other women who may want to pursue similar career paths. The majority of the questions centered on Carson’s work in the human trafficking area and involved strengthening recognition and assistance capabilities.
All of the women agreed on the value of persistence in the face of adversity and learning from life’s challenges.
CEO of the South Western Ohio Council on Higher Education Cassie B. Barlow, Ph.D., provided keynote remarks about the program’s theme “Visionary Women” during the Woman of the Year awards luncheon. She talked about taking risks and how that action related to a person’s professional success.
Barlow referenced a study that offered advice from successful women and how risks played a vital role in their career success. She detailed seven separate risks assessments practiced by these successful women.
“Taking a risk doesn’t mean doing it hap hazardously, it means doing it smartly,” Barlow recounted as she shared risk assessment number seven.
Barlow shared the stories and challenges in the lives of three committed risk takers who were driven to succeed. Her most inspiring story was about a women physical education coach who was relentless in her devotion to introducing sports to school aged girls. Her efforts helped inspire the passage of Title 9 in 1972, which prohibited the discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that’s federally funded.
“This young woman who risked her life and her job for the future of young women was my mother, who turned 90 years old this year,” Barlow said.
Each year at the summit an award is presented to one member of the military and one federal civilian employee who exemplifies the values of the Defense Federal Community. This year, six civilians and one service member received nominations.
Marlene Packer, a contracting specialist at DLA Land and Maritime, received the Woman of the Year award in the civilian category. Air Force Master 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. Sa’niya Walker won first place with her essay about her fifth grade teacher Tracy Collier. After Walker read her essay, she received a standing ovation from the audience.
A series of afternoon workshops focused on topics including resume building, high performance in the workplace 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.