Department of Labor and Industries
I joined ICSEW in 2017. I was fortunate to have met a colleague who was a member at that time and she explained to me what it meant for her to be part of this committee. Soon after, I realized why my colleague was part of such a hard working group.
Since I joined the ICSEW, I have met and worked with some amazing women across different state agencies, strengthened my leadership skills and became an influencer of positive change.
I enjoy being part of ICSEW because it is a community of like-minded colleagues. Whenever I have been going through difficult times, ICSEW has always been there for me, this is a safe place where I can make mistakes and learn and where I am not afraid of speaking up for what is right.
We are a community who cares very much about advancing women’s matters that are related to education, equal pay, and professional development among many others. I would really like for us to build long-lasting structures that can stand the test of time long after I am no longer part of this committee.
Department of Natural Resources
I joined ICSEW in 2018 because I liked the idea of women coming together to lift each other up and support each other in finding rewarding careers and lives.
Since joining ICSEW, I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know quite a few amazing women. I have also been able to participate in some exceptional trainings and contribute some of my own skills to something I think is important. I find it refreshing and rewarding to be around women whose only goal is to better themselves and others around them through education, friendship, and hard work.
Additionally, I like being part of an organization and a state where people are making positive strides to improve work and life for all people, regardless of gender, background, race, ethnicity, religion, and the myriad of other characteristics that make us all richer for the diversity. .
As part of the Executive Board, I hope to further my awareness of important initiatives happening within ICSEW and the state and contribute to making this committee successful in furthering that work.
Health Care Authority
Lu is part of the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) team, a joint activity of the Health and Human Services Enterprise Coalition convened by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services, Health Benefit Exchange, and the Health Care Authority. The EPMO is administratively located within the Health Care Authority (HCA), but works for the benefit of all five organizations.
Prior to this appointment Lu worked providing eligibility to Washingtonians for Medicaid and Qualified Health Plans in several agencies and organizations. The bulk of Lu’s work experience is in the Transportation Industry in several leadership roles across the states of Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
Lu is a second term member of ICSEW and served as the Executive Secretary for ICSEW during the past two years.
Lu has a love for painting, and that includes furniture in need of some TLC, picture frames, etc. as well as just changing the paint color on any wall in the house for fun. Lu is learning to create art, painting in both watercolors and acrylics to follow her mother’s artistic footsteps.
Department of Health
My name is Cristina Steward. I am the ICSEW Treasurer. I joined ICSEW to take part in supporting the growth of equality, and more specifically to help fight for the resolve of women’s inequities. I have a master’s degree in public administration and bachelor’s in accounting. I’ve worked for more than 9 years in the field of financial reporting and accounting and my goal is to use my knowledge to help support ICSEW in its purpose.
Department of Corrections
1. What is your previous work experience that led you to this position?
I spent my early career working as a reporter/photographer for newspapers and radio stations in Washington state. After a layoff in 2012, I took a temporary job in community outreach for the YWCA of Olympia. I learned about the ICSEW through the YWCA, as ICSEW did an annual toiletries drive the YWCA hosts, with items collected going to low-income families in Thurston County. The work I did with the YWCA and other non-profits helped prepare me for work in Washington state government. I was hired as a communications specialist for the state of Washington in 2015, and I always knew that when I got hired with the state, I wanted to be a part of ICSEW.
2. What inspired you to become a part of the Executive Board for ICSEW?
A past supervisor was actually the chair of ICSEW and encouraged me to become a member. When an executive board position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity. Being on the board of ICSEW has pushed me to be comfortable outside my comfort zone. As a daughter of immigrants and the first person in my family to graduate college and go on to a professional career, I’ve always looked for opportunities to help me grow. ICSEW has allowed me to grow as a leader, develop management skills and perform tasks that I would not have gotten the chance to do anywhere else. I’ve gained a lot of confidence--both from the support from my fellow ICSEW members and from the professional development training ICSEW offers.
3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of ICSEW I’ve also had the opportunity to share knowledge and teach media skills to subcommittee members. Seeing them grow and knowing I played a part in their growth makes me happy and proud. I also get the chance to become familiar with the work that other government agencies do to support women and families living in Washington state.
Department of Fish and Wildlife
My name is Deirdre Bissonnette. I live here in Olympia and am working from home, and homeschooling 2 kids who are in 4th and 6th grade.
I have worked at the Department of Fish and Wildlife for 11 years, recently moving from field work to an administrative position. I currently work as a management analyst for the Public Records Unit at WDFW. I enjoy bringing transparency and accountability from our agency to the public.
I had the opportunity to fill a developmental job assignment with the department’s Legislative Affairs team during the 2019 Session. That experience sparked an interest in the Legislative process that led me to volunteer to co-chair the Legislative and Policy subcommittee.
Especially with telework, ICSEW and the Leg & Policy Subcommittee have been a great way to continue to build my network and interact with fellow state employees. I appreciate the quality of speakers we get to hear from at ICSEW; they have been compelling and inspirational.
In my role as co-chair of Leg & Policy, I hope to continue to educate and inform the group at large about relevant legislation and the legislative process in general.
Department of Revenue
I joined ICSEW to connect with women from other Washington State agencies. Since I joined in 2017, I’ve met and worked with many amazing women. I enjoy collaborating with the Membership subcommittee members to find new ways to engage our membership as well as fulfilling our sub-committees responsibilities. I look forward to continuing working with the ICSEW board and our members.
Department of Enterprise Services
Melissa Harris is a Learning Design and Delivery Professional for the Department of Enterprise Services, with over 20 years of professional experience in both the private and public sector. Melissa has focused her career on employee engagement and organizational performance by developing and coaching people throughout all levels in an organization, and helping organizations build on the value they delivery to their customers. She specializes in Leadership & Team Development, Human Resources, Operations Management, Change Management and Lean Six Sigma.
Melissa is co-chair of the Partnerships Sub-Committee for the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women (ICSEW), the representative for the Department of Enterprise Services. In her current position with DES, she feels fortunate to have a direct impact on the leaders of Washington State, and aspires to lead by example through her behaviors and actions that align with the ICSEW values. She is truly honored to represent her agency alongside some of the most inspirational, hardworking and determined women in Washington State government.
Melissa studied Business Management & Human Resources Management at Washington State University. She also holds certification as a Change Management Practitioner and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Melissa enjoys spending time with her two teenage boys, and traveling the world exploring other cultures and places.
Department of Commerce
Department of Commerce’s Marie Splaine, works on the Organizational Agility team. She wears many hats including change management, project management, Lean consultant, performance measurement and facilitation. Marie believes taking care of people is where we have to start on any project or change. You can have a well-executed project or initiative but if no one uses it, the project fails. Marie is a certified Change Management Practitioner, Project Management Professional and Six Sigma Lean Green Belt. Marie graduated from Washington State University (Go Cougs!). Marie and her husband, Jimmy, live in Olympia with their children, Carson (12) and Allison (5) dog Apollo and cat Bran.
Liquor & Cannabis Board
I joined ICSEW back in 2017 as an alternate representative for D.O.L. Since then I have moved up to a representative position with the WSLCB and taken on a board position co-chairing the public outreach subcommittee. When I first joined I was drawn to the idea of being a driving force for gender equity here in Washington State.
I could never have known back then the affect that being around so many strong and amazing women would have on me. ICSEW has made me a better leader, has improved my speaking skills, and given me valuable trainings and insights that are applicable with not just in my work with ICSEW, but also my job and at home. I love the idea of so many women from all different backgrounds and walks of life working to improve the lives of women all over Washington.
As far as my role in this, I hope to help establish a charity drive which can continue to grow and evolve long past my time here and positively impact women for years to come. Ideally, a drive with versatility, that provides multiple ways to participate, and creates positive outcomes on multiple levels.
Department of Commerce
Hi. I’m Leslie Wolff. I joined ICSEW because I believe that while there have been improvements for state employed women since ICSEW’s beginnings, there is still equity work to be done on a lot of levels and this group can make a difference in that work. I get a lot out of this group. I really value having ways to connect with folks who work in other agencies, who I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise meet. I also really like the learning opportunities that this committee provides. I hope that I am able to help further improve the lives of state employees and all Washingtonians.
Office of Financial Management
Allison is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Data analyst at the Washington Office of Financial Management’s (OFM’s) Workforce Strategies Section. Allison started her career in state government at the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises and prior to OFM worked at the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Office of Equal Opportunity. Allison has a joint JD / MBA and a bachelor’s in psychology. Allison served on Governor Inslee’s Equity Office Taskforce which developed the recommendations that led to creation of the nation’s first statewide Office of Equity. Allison has been in state government for about five years. Allison is passionate about helping current and prospective state employees find their way in state government.
I joined ICSEW to support other women in state government and to promote visibility of transgender individuals.
ICSEW is a great supportive environment where you can meet other amazing women professionals.
My hope is that partnerships can continue to develop relationships to other groups that impact women employed in state government. I also want to foster connections with the state business resource groups and the new Office of Equity.
Office of the Attorney General
My previous experience of working abroad (in Guam, Palau, Cambodia, and Bosnia) showed me the importance of support and community when you don’t know many people. Here in Washington State, ICSEW provides that community to me.
I was inspired to be part of the Executive Board for ICSEW because I really enjoy and thrive on being a part of organizations which support and uplift women. I was so excited to find out about this committee when I started working for the State because it fits into these roles and encourages its members to support one another.
The most rewarding part of my job is helping stage agencies and employees who are sued navigate the legal system, support them, and advocate on their behalf.
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