Acquisition specialists across Defense Logistics Agency Energy recognized Women’s History Month in an inaugural event featuring speeches, videos and a senior leadership female-led panel March 24.
“The Women's History Month Program is meant to celebrate women’s history, achievements, and contributions,” said Gabby Earhardt, DLA Energy’s Head of the Contracting Activity. “The goal is to not only bring awareness to issues that affect women, but to effect change by challenging the status quo and committing to action.”
The call for action and integration in the workplace for women is an ongoing goal. Women make up 32% of the DLA Energy population according to Ahmad Burse, DLA Energy Equal Employment Opportunity Diversity & Inclusion Director. The National Civilian Labor goal for females in the workplace is 47%.
The event was organized and hosted by DLA Energy’s Acquisition Workforce Development Team led by Ditu Kasuyi and Laceenis Fordham. More than 175 employees across DLA Energy participated in the event. The keynote speaker was Regina Gray, Director of DLA Energy Strategic Policy and Programs Directorate.
Gray is one of two African American female GS-15s in DLA Energy.
“The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization … this belongs to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” Gray said in her opening remarks.
The one-hour program featured the video “Empowering Women Benefits Everyone” by Dr. Jane Sojka. It was followed by a Women in Leadership panel discussion. The leadership panel featured female DLA Energy women in leadership positions including Martha Gray, Rozanna Cherry, Hamida Ahmadi, and Patricia Wilkins.
The panelists were asked to share their views on a range of topics including using their voices in predominantly male environments, communication tactics, applying for career advancements, and intersecting generations and cultures within the workplace.
Earhardt, also the director of DLA Energy Supplier Operations, spearheads all the DLA Energy buying units’ managing acquisition programs, exceeding $15 billion in annual sales. As DLA Energy’s senior female leader since Feb. 2013, Earhardt issued a call to action where attendees were encouraged to uphold efforts that advance women’s issues, and #choosetochallenge issues that disadvantage women.
Since 1987, March has been recognized as Women’s History Month. Originally initiated by Congress in 1981, the first Women’s History Week was first celebrated in 1982.