The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support observed Women’s History Month and honored employees during a virtual observation on March 10.
“Women’s History Month provides us with an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women who have built our nation,” said DLA Troop Support Deputy Commander Richard Ellis, who opened the event. “It’s a time for us to recommit ourselves to honoring the brave women who continue this work.”
This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is, “Providing healing and promoting hope.”
“I personally want to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions and leadership of women during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Ellis said. “From vaccine researchers, to public health officials, to the countless heroines on the frontlines, women have been working around the clock to defeat COVID-19. Today, we recognize their contributions in providing healing and hope.”
Jennifer Randolph, an author, advertising executive and consultant who specializes in diversity and inclusion, was the event’s keynote speaker.
She shared experiences from her early work in the fashion and television industries, where she said she faced challenges and obstacles throughout her career.
She worked at Court TV in New York for 13 years, where she worked to increase diversity both in front of and behind the cameras. She also created a diversity council and internships.
After some challenges with a difficult boss, she took a sabbatical to travel and think about what her next move would be.
“I had (learned) some hard lessons. I didn't understand why so few women and less so women of color moving through the ranks, why we would tear down instead of building up one another,” Randolph said. “Then I realized some people are just not built that way. This is the power of finding allies who get to know you and get to know your work.”
Randolph then moved into the world of advertising, where she was a senior vice president and the director of diversity for the Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Agency in New York. In this role, she guided the agency’s diversity efforts and developed programs to integrate diversity in outside businesses.
“I didn't understand how an industry built on helping companies expand their brand could not get (diversity) right,” she said. “I had to show them that great talent can come from many different places. We don't all have to have Harvard degrees to provide perspective or color to a project.”
She stayed at the agency until her boss resigned, and again found herself wondering what to do next.
“Resilience became my middle name,” Randolph said. “Things happen for a reason. And sometimes you have to go with the flow.”
She wrote the book, “Coach on Call: A Practical Guide for Getting and Keeping the Job You Want,” which led to coaching and other opportunities where she could use her expertise.
“I’ve pushed myself to do things that made me uncomfortable, but made me better,” Randolph said.
She is currently the “culture whisperer and talent champion” for leadership-building company Thinqshift, where her focus is on broadening the diversity of people, experiences, and ideas by breaking down barriers so teams can thrive in the digital era.
“Not every mentor looks like you,” Randolph said. “Every job has some degree of a circle of suck, but how you handle it makes all the difference. Feedback is a gift, and you should look at things from a place of positive intention.”
The winners of the DLA Troop Support Women’s History Month awards were also announced during the observation.
Tania Kennedy of the J 3/5 Future Operations Division received the Non-Supervisory award for employees in grades GS-11 and above.
John Fafara, the deputy director of the Procurement Process Support, as named Supervisor/Manager of the year.