Eleven ICSEW Members Receive Awards


OLYMPIA—The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, is pleased to announce this year’s annual award recipients.

Eleven ICSEW members were recognized during its annual celebration meeting July 20, 2021. The event was held via Zoom and streamed on Facebook Live.

The following is a list of ICSEW members who received awards, along with excerpts from their nominations:

Everlasting Award: Taja Blackhorn, Department of Labor and Industries

The recipient of the Everlasting Award has served at least two terms as representative for their state agency. The recipient remains calm under pressure and handles changes in leadership with resilience. This representative also retains and shares a wealth of historical information and always assists others.

Taja brings so much to our group. She has innovative ideas to help deliver professional development to our membership that really matters. She gives her time, energy and thoughtfulness in so many ways to ICSEW. She shares her thoughts with the group to ensure we deliver training that really matters to us. She is always willing to help and makes a pointe to take extra steps to ensure those around her are supported.

Visionary Award, Rachel Friederich, Department of Corrections

This award recognizes a committee member who helps see out future and helps us get there. The recipient demonstrates innovation and constantly implements new ideas.

Rachel has been with ICSEW for several years. Throughout this time, I have seen how much she cares about our mission and makes sure she fills it day in and day out. She chairs the communications subcommittee and this past year, led efforts to make sure our amazing new website is beautiful and easy to use. Rachel always has valuable input to offer in all that we do.

Lorrie Jo Brown Excellence in Service Award: Allison Spector, Office of Financial Management

This award honors someone who demonstrates innovative problem solving and excellence in public service. It is named after the late Lorrie Jo Brown. During her service with ICSEW, Lorrie Jo Brown played an instrumental role in the committee’s breastfeeding survey project and in mentoring others.

Allison is a wonderful ICSEW member. Wherever she shows up, she shows up authentically and is always willing to lend a hand when she can. As co-chair of the Partnerships Subcommittee, Allison is always at the forefront of public service, equity and is a champion for equity and inclusion for all Washington state employees. Data is Allison’s forte and it’s truly amazing to see how exciting it is for her to teach people and drive results.

Extra Mile Award: Laurel Haas, Washington State Parks

The recipient of this award has gone above and beyond to serve the ICSEW’s mission. The recipient demonstrates an outstanding effort on committee work and activities and commits time and energy to enrich lives though advocacy, outreach and opportunity.

Laurel was instrumental in launching and monitoring the first ICSEW interagency mentorship pilot program. Laurel started off as a subcommittee chair and then served as the chair of the mentorship subcommittee. Her diligence and discipline contributed greatly to the success of the pilot.

Leadership Award: Marie Splaine, Department of Commerce

This award is given to an outstanding leader. The recipient demonstrates courage in making leadership decisions, excellence in professionalism and actively assists others in realizing their potential.

Marie has been an active member of ICSEW for several years and throughout this time has been full of enthusiasm for what she does and is always willing to step up and make things happen. Marie is always pitching in to help those who might need it in every way. She currently chairs the professional development subcommittee and is tackling a plan for a virtual conference that ICSEW will be hosting with the Washington State Women’s Commission this fall.

Outstanding Subcommittee Award Recipients: 

Professional Development: Beth Archer, State Investment Board

Beth always steps us to give a hand when it’s needed. She took it upon herself to learn Zoom and Facebook Live to make sure we reach as many women as we can. She made sure we didn’t miss a beat going into lockdown and still offered way for our membership to connect and receive continuous education.

Membership: Danica Mitchell, Washington Student Achievement Council

Danica has been part of the membership subcommittee since 2018. This past year, the committee created membership circles to send bi-monthly emails to smaller groups within our membership. Danica volunteered to create fun surveys and edited all the emails. She’s willing to go the extra step if needed.

Communications: Julie Hyde, Washington State Department of Health

Julie has been instrumental in helping the communications subcommittee promote the work of ICSEW. She regularly submits relevant content from her agency for sharing on the ICSEW blog and helps with meeting advances to make sure members and non-members have a chance to attend.

Public Outreach, Lori Carnino, Department of Licensing

Lori goes above and beyond to help whenever there is a task needing completion. Lori values the accomplishments of others and continues to encourage those making a difference in their community and always brings a positive attitude and new ideas to our subcommittee meetings.

Legislative & Policy: Kari O' Connell, Department of Revenue

Keri has spearheaded work to define the Paid Family Medical Leave Act information for our membership, is an active subcommittee member and has also helped our team find resources to help with graphic design for a one-pager to promote our upcoming menstrual product drive.

Partnerships: Jennie Cheng, Department of Revenue

Jennie serves on the Department of Revenue’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) subcommittee. Jennie also attends Washington Immigrant Network Business Resource Group (BRG) meetings. Jennie has been a great representative for ICSEW and always promotes DEI in state government.