The Team APG Federal Women’s Program, or FWP, recognized outstanding employees and organizations that promote professional growth and equality in the workplace during the 33rd annual Women’s Equality Day observance and awards program in the Myer Auditorium at APG North (Aberdeen) Aug. 30.
Women’s Equality Day marks the anniversary of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote. The observance, celebrated nationally on Aug. 26, also recognizes the achievements and contributions women make in their workplaces, communities and families.
APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, introduced the guest speaker and gave remarks. He said the ratification of the 19th Amendment was the culmination of a massive movement that spanned seven decades.
“We acknowledge today the struggles and we celebrate the achievements of women and their right to vote,” he said. “And we praise them for their courage, talent and relentless spirit as they serve side by side in the armed forces in defense of our nation.”
Liz Miranda, director of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Integrated Logistics Support Center, or CECOM ILSC, served as the guest speaker. Diversity makes America stronger, she said.
“Stepping back for a moment, I think all of us should reflect on how fortunate we all are to live in this great country, which recognizes the great contributions of every individual, regardless of gender or race, and how the different backgrounds and beliefs makes us stronger.”
Miranda added that the women’s suffrage movement began in 1848 with the first major women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and lasted 72 years. Women’s Equality Day, she said, is not just about celebrating the women’s right to vote, it is also about recognizing in the value of diversity and an inclusive environment.
“Over the last century, the world has witnessed just what women are capable of achieving,” she said. “From Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt, fighting for civil rights and equality from great scientists such as Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Jane Goodall, the last century has shown more than ever that both women and man are capable of achieving great results given the opportunity.”
Outstanding Woman of the Year
Stephanie Baynes, a computer scientist with the U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, received the Outstanding Woman of the Year Award, and a signed two-star letter from Taylor.
According to her nomination package, Baynes is recognized for being an advocate for others in the workplace. She serves the community by volunteering as a youth mentor.
Baynes said she was surprised and humbled to receive the award.
“Congratulations to my fellow nominees, “I’m honored to be considered among you,” she said. “Thank you to AMSAA for nominating me, and providing the opportunities and support that enables their employees to excel, and thank you to the FWP for the encouragement and support they provide women in the federal work force.”
Most Supportive Organization
The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command was awarded the Organization Most Supportive of FWP goals. ATEC Chief of Staff Karen Taylor accepted the award, and received a signed two-star letter from Maj. Gen. Taylor.
According to the nomination packet, ATEC was commended for having a history of promoting gender equality, enhancing employment opportunities, and empowering women in all career paths. They are dedicated to addressing gender issues through establishing and supporting mentorship programs, networking opportunities, formal and informal leadership programs, rotational and development opportunities.
Karen Taylor said ATEC leaders strive to promote diversity in the workplace.
“We are always looking for the best and the brightest,” she said.
Jen Sollenberger, of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, was named the Supervisor of the Year. She also received a signed two-star note from Taylor.
According to the nomination package, as a supervisor, Sollenberger encourages women to further their education via traditional and non-traditional means for long-term training and developmental assignments. She also serves as a mentor to provide guidance to female employees, and assures women in the organization are represented on boards, committees and panels.
Sollenberger said she was “very honored” to receive the award.
“I was surprised even by the nomination, but to win it, I am very humbled by that fact,” she said.
Ramona Golden, with CECOM ILSC’s Power and Environmental Directorate, received a $500 scholarship from the Maryland Tri-County Chapter of Federally Employed Women, or FEW. The scholarship is presented annually to a federally employed woman to offset college expenses.
Golden is enrolled at Towson University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in supply chain management.
“I am honored to receive this award and I appreciate the recognition and support that I received from my directorate and from FEW,” she said.
The program included the national anthem sung by Dr. Wanda Scott, of CECOM, and the invocation by CECOM Chaplain Col. Peter Mueller. At the program’s conclusion, Miranda and Maryland Freestate ChalleNGe Academy Cadet Geysha Velez-Valle, 17, participated in a celebratory cake cutting ceremony.
Vendors on hand included the Harford County Board of Elections; League of Women Voters-Harford County; Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program; FWP; FEW;APG Wellness Center; Edible Arrangements APG Federal Credit Union; and the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association.
The Team APG FWP committee consists of volunteer representatives from tenant organizations on the installation. The purpose of Team APG FWP is to identify and eliminate employment barriers, assure equal opportunity in hiring, training and advancement, and eliminate those factors which may exclude individuals from mainstream of employment and career advancement opportunities. The committee also implements educational training programs as well as ethnic and cultural observances that encourage diversity within the government.
For membership information, contact FWP Chair Nnenna Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or FWP Vice Chair Danielle Kelley at email@example.com.