Congratulations to one of our committee members and Executive Secretary for ICSEW, Kristin Ramos. Kristin, who works at the Department of Commerce, recently made history becoming one of the first two female officers to be commissioned in the Washington State Guard. Isabelle Molamphy, with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), was the other female officer commissioned at the May 6 ceremony. The commissioning was following a 23-month Officer Candidate School (OCS) program patterned after the OCS program at Fort Benning.
Second Lieutenant Ramos will report to the civil affairs branch of the Guard, where she will help train new and experienced soldiers. She has prior education and experience teaching, so the seeming incongruity of teaching something recently learned is not new to her. Quoting the famous educational aphorism, she says, “To teach is to learn twice.”
The Washington State Guard supports the National Guard in responding to disasters and other Governor-declared incidents. When not activated, members are not paid for training, uniforms or travel. The Washington State Guard traces its history back to 1855 when the Washington Territorial Legislature enacted the first law creating the organized militia. After Washington became a state, it created a state militia in 1890.
by Pamela Smith, ICSEW Professional Development Chair
Many attendees of the 2015 ICSEW leadership conference expressed an interest in having more sessions on career advancement. To fulfill this need, a Career Advancement Panel session was offered at this year’s conference.
The panel consisted of five professional women from the public and private sectors. They offered a vast array of knowledge, experiences, and expertise on how to advance your professional career. Some of the topics covered included:
Resume & cover letter etiquette,
How to launch yourself to the next level,
Acing an interview,
How background and credit checks could potentially play a role in hiring decisions, and
Tips how to navigate the online state application system, careers.wa.gov.
The session began with panel members introducing themselves and giving brief overviews of their expertise. Then session attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions. The varied backgrounds and experiences of the speakers and format of the session created an interactive energy and provided an educational outlook, not often found in a solo or co-presenter situation. Panel members provided informational hand-outs and stayed after the session to answer more questions.
Some of the positive feedback from attendees included:
“Lots of take-a-ways. Loved that each panelist brought something relevant to the table, especially the Q&A part.”
“Great tips to empower yourself & go for it!”
“Gives me better perspective when applying for growth position.”
The ICSEW leadership conference provides a valuable opportunity for professional development, that might otherwise not be available, and empowers individuals in state government to positively shape their lives.
From a dedicated state employee and the ICSEW Professional Development Chair, thank you to the panel members who volunteered their time and talents to help expand the attendees’ knowledge and assist with their individual career goals. The vast amount of knowledge, capability, and generosity of these diverse speakers’ contributions are truly inspirational.
For additional information, materials from the conference are available here.
Are you or anyone you know looking for a new opportunity? The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) is hiring!
Commerce’s mission is to grow and improve jobs in Washington State by championing thriving communities, a prosperous economy, and sustainable infrastructure. Commerce helps strengthen communities by bringing together people and resources. It is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. Commerce administers diverse portfolio of more than 100 programs and several state boards and commissions, all focused on helping communities achieve positive growth. Key customers include businesses, local governments and community-based organizations. Commerce plays the crucial role of convening numerous local, state, regional and federal partners and stakeholders, both public and private.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 public education in Washington State. Led by State Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s nine educational service districts (ESDs), 295 school districts, more than 2,300 schools, 1.08 million students, and more than 53,000 teachers to administer basic education programs and implement education reform.
OSPI’s mission is to “provide funding, resources, tools, data and technical assistance that enable educators to ensure students succeed in our public schools, are prepared to access post-secondary training and education, and are equipped to thrive in their careers and lives.” To support its mission, OSPI sections include:
Certification, which ensures educators have the proper credentials;
Assessment, which oversees state testing;
Special Education, which ensures equal access to education for students with special needs;
Apportionment and Financial Services, which ensures that schools and districts receive the money they need to run;
Secondary Education, which provides help to at-risk students; and
Student and School Success, which ensures that all schools perform to their highest potential.
There are many other sections as well. The 400 or so employees at OSPI work hard to support the vision to prepare “every student for career, college, and life.”
OSPI is also responsible for hosting various activities, including the Superintendent’s High School Art Show. Each spring, students statewide are selected by their ESDs to have their work displayed in the main hallways of the Old Capitol Building and voted for by employees and representatives from art agencies, and viewed by visitors. If you would like to experience this amazing display, please keep an eye on The Arts page of OSPI’s website, which can be found here.
For more information about OSPI, a list of offices, or to view student artwork from previous years, please visit www.k12.wa.us.
All eyes in the Columbia Room of the Capital Building were gazing at Dr. Karen Johnson during last week’s ICSEW transition meeting. Dr. Johnson, a Strategic Initiatives Executive with the DSHS and involved local citizen, spoke to about 50 women on finding their purpose in life.
The presentation started by Dr. Johnson engaging her audience asking questions like: “Where are we going?” “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What is our purpose?” To help understand these basic but sometimes hard questions she referenced how an architect completes a project: first, by having a vision; then, writing it on paper; and followed by, taking action in order to have a finished completed project.
Throughout the hour-long presentation, Dr. Johnson asked other questions to the group in order to get the women thinking about who they really are and who they really want to be. She urged women to find their passion by posing the thought: “What does success look like for you when time and money is no object?” The group then shared what their strengths are after considering, “If you are the gift, what is in the box?”
While sharing her own personal struggles and accomplishments, Dr. Johnson shared many encouraging reflections for the women to take with them and contemplate. She urged the group to envision success and be “your authentic self” because “no one can beat you at being you.” Along with not just walking the walk but talking the walk until you can walk the talk.
To wrap up Dr. Johnson brought the group back to their childhood by sharing two children’s books Oh, the Places You’ll Go and The Little Engine That Could, which reinforced and spoke to her message. She left the group with one final thought to “Believe in Yourself.”
Michelle Jorgensen and Connie Dunn with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) presented on the Infant at Work (IAW) Program at DOH at ICSEW’s May 17th general membership meeting.
DOH implemented the Infant at Work Program on July 1, 2015. DOH was the first State agency to allow employees to bring their infants into the workplace while they work. Secretary Wiesman implemented the program in Clark County and strives for DOH to be an employer of choice for Washington. The benefits for the agency are: employees return to work sooner, recruitment advantage, increased employee retention, lower turnover costs, increased employee loyalty, and lower health care costs from increased breastfeeding rates. The benefits for the employee are: lower day care costs, easier breastfeeding, employees feel supported by employer, and increased bonding time. The policy allows for one infant to come to work with a parent who is a permanent state employee. The infant is eligible from age 6 weeks to 6 months. The employee must have their supervisor’s permission and have the work environment that would support an infant. There is no traveling with an infant in State cars. DOH has installed changing tables in both the men’s and women’s bathroom on at least two floors of each building. Funding is not available to install tables in every bathroom on every floor yet. DOH found that having a baby in meetings and at work makes for a happier work environment. Even the grumpiest of employees seemed happier after interacting with the workplace baby.
DOH has had 14 babies participate in the program. Most of the participants have been successful, but a few have not been good candidates for the program. Human Resources will be sending out a survey in July to all DOH employees to gather feedback on the program. Connie Dunn participated in the program and found it to be very successful. It allowed for more bonding time, successful breastfeeding, and gave her the opportunity to return to work sooner. Connie was a skeptic of this program at first but quickly became a supporter.
For more information on the Infant at Work Program at DOH contact Kim Kenderesi at 360-236-4058 or Kim.Kenderesi@doh.wa.gov.
Sometimes I ask myself in what century am I living? Although Thurston County boasts a median income of $62,286, the average woman working full time makes $.68 to every $1.00 made by a male counterpart. This disparity does not account for lower wages related to race, ethnicity, parental status, or LGBTQ identity. According to one study, at the rate we are going women will not reach pay equity until 2071 . This leads to the question how does society decrease the wage gap? The YWCA of Olympia leads the way by creating Wage Equity Initiative (W.E.I.). By engaging local businesses, the initiative hopes to eliminate the wage gap with female role models, on the job training, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs for women. The YWCA encourages employers to adopt at least three strategies from the W.E.I., which may include workplace flexibility, removing bias from the hiring process, empowering women to negotiate, increasing wage transparency, and gender/racial diversity within senior levels. The YWCA’s W.E.I. team offers issue education, outreach, guidance, and tools for success, while tracking progress and celebrating achievements. The YWCA W.E.I. program offers an excellent opportunity for Thurston County businesses to make a difference in the lives of women and families because we cannot wait until 2071 to reach pay equity.
For more information on this program and other work being done to bridge the wage gap, visit www.ywcaofolympia.org.
 The Status of Women in Washington: Forging Pathways to Leadership & Economic Opportunity. Cynthia Hess, Ph.D, and Jessica Milli, Ph.D. Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Women’s Finding Alliance. February 2015.