Become an Interview STAR

woman standing in front of screen holding a remote control
When it comes to interviewing, Leadership Coach Amy Leneker tells her clients to use the mantra “Practice Makes Better,” as there’s no such thing as being perfect. Photo by Rachel Friederich

by Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

Behavioral based interviews. The mere phrase can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced job candidates. Yet, they’re one of the most common types of questions for government jobs.

The key to acing these type of interviews, according to leadership consultant and coach Amy Leneker is to practice responding to these type of questions long before you’re even called into the interview. Leneker, a former state employee and the CEO of Compass Consulting, held multiple workshops on using the STAR method for behavioral based interviews at the ICSEW’s first ever career fair May 21 at the Department of Labor and Industries.  More than 100 people attended. Minutes for the May 2019 ICSEW meeting viewed here.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results.

Leneker says the response to each question should be given using each component of STAR.

Situation:  Describe the situation you encountered

Task: Describe the task you had to do.

Action: Tell the interviewer the action you took to accomplish the task.

Results: Wrap up the question describing the outcome of the situation.

Participants in each session were divided into groups of three and attendees role played the interviewer, job candidate, and observer. Each person practiced the STAR method and received feedback from their peers.

Leneker also suggested when answering questions to say the words Situation, Task, Action and Results in your responses because it often helps you organize your responses and keep them succinct. And if the company/interviewer values the STAR method in its work culture, they’ll be impressed you’re familiar with it, too, Leneker said.


May 2019 Meeting Keynote Topic: Overcoming Gender Bias Patterns in the Workplace

Woman standing in front of projector

by Rachel Friederich,  ICSEW Communications Chair

Just 5% of Fortune 500 companies are headed by women. Amazon Senior Product Marketing Manager, Karen Greigo shared that fact, along with her own experiences dealing with inaccurate perceptions hiring managers and corporate leaders can have about female employees at the ICSEW’s May 21 meeting and career fair.

In her presentation, Gender Bias Patterns and How They Affect Our Careers Greigo talked about  personal challenges she overcame as she climbed the corporate ladder and became one of the top marketing executives for one of the world’s largest companies.

One of the most common gender biases bosses can have in the workplace is the way employees are evaluated. “Men are often evaluated on past performance, while women are often evaluated based on potential,” Greigo said.

Greigo’s presentation included tips to overcome gender bias patterns, like documenting one’s accomplishments in quantifiable results and finding “sponsors,” someone within your company who can help you excel in your career goals.

Greigo also recommended a reading list where she got many of her tips and insights for overcoming gender bias patterns in the workplace:

  1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Douglas Stone, Bruce Patterson, Sheila Heen)
  2. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (Sheryl Sanberg)
  3. A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating: How to Convince Collaborate, and Create Your Way to Agreement (Lee Miller and Jessica Miller)
  4. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achiving Your Goals (Rachel Hollis)

Minutes for the May 2019 ICSEW meeting viewed here.

ICSEW Announces New Member Appointments


The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, is pleased to announce two new committee appointments. The Office of Financial Management has appointed Ayanna Colman as its agency representative for the ICSEW. The agency has also appointed Carly Kujath as an alternate representative.

Colman is a senior performance advisor and Kujath is a capital budget assistant.

“I am confident that Ayanna and Carly will be great assets to ICSEW in its efforts to better the lives of state-employed women,” said OFM Director David Schumacher.

As per the committee’s bylaws, state agencies are allowed to have one representative for every 2,000 employees.


Agents of Change: Washington State History Museum Celebrates Jewish Women

The year 2020 marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in America. Several organizations have holding celebratory and historical events as the anniversary draws near. The Washington State History Museum has a new exhibit celebrating Jewish women who have influenced Washington state’s history and culture. It opens April 28, 2019.

black and white photo of two women
Image from Washington State Jewish Historical Society digital archives

Agents of Change: 20 Remarkable Jewish Women of Washington State opens April 28 at Washington State History Museum

Tacoma, WA – What do Carrie Brownstein, Nancy Pearl, and Marcie Sillman have in common? They are all from Washington. They’re all in the public eye – Brownstein co-created both the Washington-based band Sleater-Kinney and the sketch comedy television show Portlandia. Librarian Nancy Pearl is a best-selling author (the Book Lust series, George & Lizzy, and others), literary critic and the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at Seattle Public Library. Marcie Sillman is a broadcast journalist and NPR radio show host working with Seattle’s KUOW. One more thing they have in common is their inclusion in Agents of Change: 20 Remarkable Jewish Women of Washington State, an exhibition opening on April 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. The exhibition is on view through June 2, 2019.

Featuring women who have made their mark in a wide array of fields including arts, activism, athletics, education, business, diplomacy, law, politics, religion, and philanthropy, Agents of Change shows the breadth and depth of the contributions Jewish women are making every day in our state and our world.

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society (WSJHS) developed this landmark exhibition in honor of the society’s 50th anniversary in 2018. They also developed award-winning supporting media for their digital museum, including videos and a podcast series.

“2018 was the Year of the Woman,” said WSJHS Executive Director Lisa Kranseler, “and as we were debating possible subjects for our 50th anniversary exhibit, it became obvious that this was the perfect choice. From our mothers and grandmothers to our teachers and community leaders, we have all been powerfully influenced by strong women who have guided and changed our lives. This exhibit is a way to honor all those women by focusing on twenty exceptional representatives from our state.”

Opening Day: Visitors can learn about the inspiration behind Agents of Change in the gallery at 1:45 on April 28 at the Washington State History Museum. Hear from Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) Director Jennifer Kilmer and WSJHS Director Lisa Kranseler, as well as special guests. WSHS and WSHJS members are invited to mingle on the museum’s mezzanine for an opening-day reception from 1:30-3:00.

“We are honored to feature Agents of Change at the Washington State History Museum. It is a terrific example of our mission in action – that is, partnering with our communities to explore how history connects us all,” said WSHS Director Jennifer Kilmer. “These leaders have made significant contributions in Washington and beyond. We’re proud to tell their stories. We’re excited to kick-off the upcoming 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in our nation with this celebration of Jewish women making history in Washington.”

More information at

# # #

Washington State Historical Society partners with our communities to explore how history connects us all. The Society’s most visible activity, the Washington State History Museum (WSHM) is located in Tacoma’s downtown core along Pacific Avenue among a thriving cultural scene. The museum features interactive permanent exhibitions about Washington’s past in the Great Hall, unique rotating exhibitions highlighting the Society’s collections, and dynamic feature exhibitions.

Address: 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402
Hours: 10:00AM–5:00PM Tuesday through Sunday. Third Thursday of each month, 10:00AM–8:00PM.
Admission: Free for members; Adults $14; seniors (age 65+), students (age 6-17) and military (with ID) $11; free for children 5 and under; family rate $40 (up to two adults and four children under age 18). Patrons with a Washington Quest card and licensed Washington Foster Parents can attend for $1 per person or $2 per family.

Washington State Jewish Historical Society is dedicated to discovering, preserving, and disseminating the history of the Jews of Washington state and promotes interest in and knowledge of the life, history, and culture of the Jewish people and communities through publications, exhibits, displays, speakers, tours, and performance. For more information, please visit

How to Make ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ a Success

By Jane Chapman, Department of Licensing  Representative & ICSEW Vice Chair

children petting a dog
Children of employees of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, Wash. pet a dog in the prison’s animal adoption program during a “Take Your Child to Work Day:” event in 2018. Photo Courtesy Washington State Department of Corrections

Governor Inslee has proclaimed April 25, 2019 as this year’s “Take Your Child Work Day” for state agencies. It’s recognized nationally on the fourth Thursday of April each year. The annual event is an educational program in the U.S. and Canada where parents take them to work with them for one day.

“Showing what a child’s parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success,” national organizers say.

Here are some tips to make the event a success at your agency/work site.

  • Recommended Age Range. The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation recommends the educational program for girls and boys be ages 8 to 18.
  • Get approval. Be sure to notify your supervisor that you plan to participate in the day.
    • Supervisors – If there are any staff in your area participating with their children, please ensure you are tracking the additional individual(s) as all individuals in a building need to be accounted for in case of an emergency (i.e. Fire, earthquake, terrorism, etc.)
  • Work schedule. Plan on having your child(ren) participate in your regular scheduled work day. If you need to leave early with your child(ren), you will need to submit a leave request accordingly.
  • Ensure confidentiality. Be mindful of sensitive records that you have in your work area.
  • Give a tour. Show your child(ren) around the workplace and introduce them to your co-workers, explaining what each person does.
  • Keep them busy. Involve and engage him or her in your daily routine, so they can see how you tackle problems and execute solutions.
  • Reward them for a job well done. They could be a future state employee in the making!

For more ideas on how to make the event a positive one for your child, check out the Bright Ideas Guide on the Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation’s website.

Is your agency hosting a “Take Your Child to Work Day” event? Tell us about it. We’d love to share pictures and write ups about your experience on our blog.

Professional Development Opportunity

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The 5 Choices to extraordinary productivity

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Class Information:
When: May 2, 2019
Time: 8:00a-4:30p
Location: SPSCC, 4220 6Th Avenue SE, Lacey, WA  98503
Taught by: Corey Leneker
Registration: Register in LMS or call Dept of Enterprise Services at 360-664-1921

The 5 Choices – Flyer Adobe PDF Document

Franklin Covey. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage.

National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is Thursday, April 25

National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is recognized on the fourth Thursday in April each year.  This annual event is an educational program in the United States and Canada where parents take their children to work with them for one day.


Employers are encouraged to invite employees to bring their children to work. For more information visit  Share your story on social media using #TakeOurChildrenToWorkDay


Our research found that National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was founded by Gloria Steinem and the MS Foundation for Women in 1993.

DATE: April 25, 2019

Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day 2019 Proclamation Adobe PDF Document

TODASTWD 2019 Proclamation