Women’s history program highlights dreaming big

By Alex Siemiatkowski DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Everyone has to believe in themselves and in their dreams, the keynote speaker said during Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s annual Federal Women’s History Month awards program March 23.

“Women do so much in public service and in government and at home and everywhere,” said Sara Manzano-Diaz, who serves as the Mid-Atlantic Region administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration. “I would like to salute everyone here and what you do, because you support our troops.”

This year’s theme was “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.”

Manzano-Diaz’s parents and older siblings had immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico for a better life. She grew up advocating for her family with the welfare office, schools and housing office, since she was able to speak Spanish and English. Because of that experience, she grew up wanting to become a lawyer.

“I was growing up dreaming about something that I couldn’t see,” said Manzano-Diaz. “I couldn’t see it on television. I couldn’t see it in my neighborhood. But you know what; I believed that I could do it.”

Sara Manzano-Diaz was appointed to her current position with GSA in 2012 by President Barack Obama. She has spent her career in public service advocating on behalf of working class families, women and girls.

During his introductory remarks, DLA Troop Support Chief of Staff Robert Ratner gave examples of how women are opening doors to new opportunities in the military.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced Dec. 3 that all military occupations, including combat jobs, were open to women, without exception.

“This last week the Secretary of Defense also announced that Air Force General Lori Robinson was selected to lead Northern Command and become the first woman to head a U.S. combatant command. This is truly a historic transformation for our military,” said Ratner.

The DLA Troop Support Federal Women’s Program Woman of the Year award nominees were chosen for their hard work, dedication and demonstrated excellence in the workplace. The event is sponsored by the DLA Troop Support Equal Employment Opportunity Federal Women’s Program Committee and Federally Employed Women Philadelphia Chapter.

Of those nominated for awards, three were honored as Woman of the Year in the categories below:

Non-supervisory GS-9 and below – Tracy Hagan, Clothing and Textiles

Non-supervisory GS-11 and above – Sharon McIntosh-Mason, Industrial Hardware

Supervisor/Manager of the Year – Wanda Kinsey, Subsistence

The FEW Philadelphia Chapter Women’s History Month Award went to Alain Thevenot, from the Process Compliance Directorate.

Wanda Kinsey, from Subsistence, was awarded the Woman of the Year award in the category of Supervisor/Manager for her work in the community.

“It’s the work and it’s the need to help the community and society that you want to be a part of,” Kinsey said about why she works in the community. “To be awarded and rewarded for that work is just icing on the cake.”

Kinsey’s advice to women is to do what you love and to not let anything get in the way, because there is nothing women can’t do.