The 2016 Women in Leadership Forum – Waves of Possibilities was a Great Success

Presented by: Center of Excellence – Homeland Security Emergency Management

Thanks to everyone that attended the 2016 Women in Leadership Forum.

Just a reminder, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of National Mentoring Month’s launch in 2002. Since then, each January has served as an annual kickoff of the widespread movement to connect more of the nation’s young people with caring adult mentors.

Forum Description:

Kellie Hale, the Program Manager for the Center of Excellence, and the inspiration and organizer of the Women in Leadership Forums welcomed over 40 women to the 2nd Women in Leadership Forum which was titled “Waves of Possibilities.” The Forum took place on Wednesday, October 5 at Lakewold Gardens in Tacoma.

Last year’s Forum provided educators and industry partners the opportunity to come together and learn about diversity in every level of leadership and offered leadership development, lessons learned, and industry specific mentoring about new best practices, and emerging trends that will revolutionize how Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) curriculum and training are delivered.

The purpose of this year’s Forum was to help women identify what their strengths are as leaders, where they want to go in terms of their education and career, and help them find and follow their dreams and goals. It is important for attendees to walk away with an understanding of the significance of creating strong and dynamic relationships and collaborations with both women and men. A mentorship program will also help match experienced professions with mentees in the six Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) career pathway fields: Criminal Justice, Fire Services, Cybersecurity, Occupational Health and Safety, Emergency Medical Services, and HSEM.

Our keynote speaker, Erika Koss, is an Assistant Dean for the College of Social Sciences & Humanities at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She also serves as the program manager for the “Security and Resilience Studies” master’s degree program. The focus of Erika’s research is on the topic of politics centered on the global coffee trade and how it effects women and their development, particularly in East Africa. Through her popular event series titled “The World in Your Cup: Conversations on the Politics and Culture of Coffee”, Erika sets out to bring together leaders in the coffee industry to the campus of Northeastern University to help explore and talk about the challenges of globalization, politics, and culture embodied through coffee.

During her opening presentation Erika talked about “The Fourth Wave of Coffee: A Vision of Resilience, Gender, Equity, and Sustainability.” Her goal was to help inspire the attendees to, not only think differently about their coffee in the morning, but encourage them to implement a new visioning technique as they consider the waves of possibility for their own future.

Dr. Natasha Frost was also a featured speaker at the Forum. Dr. Frost is an Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston. Her primary research and teaching interests are centered on the area of punishment and social control, specifically in mass incarceration and the effects it has on individuals, families, and communities. Recently, Dr. Frost has been awarded federal funding to study the effects of mass incarceration on the community and the well-being of those who work in correctional settings. She has also co-written and published a book titled, ‘The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America’.


Read the Entire Event Summary:
Click here to read a complete summary of the day.

The idea to put on a Women in Leadership Forum came to me a year and a half ago while I was attending another conference. I quickly noticed that most of the attendees were middle-aged white males and a minority of females. I turned to my supervisor, Linda Crerar, and said, “There needs to be a conference that caters to the professional and educational development of women in the Homeland Security Emergency Management field.” It was important to approach the Forum as a place where women in attendance would be able to express themselves freely and understand their true potential based on their abilities and talents. When women are allowed the chance to challenge themselves and test their limits everyone prospers, from coworkers to the organizations for which they work.

Forum Takeaways

  • Smaller networking groups are easier.
  • Experience vs. Education
  • Real life values/experience – how it is beneficial
  • How do we put more focus on work experience instead of academic credentials?
  • Certain skill sets are being overlooked by employers and Human Resource departments.
  • Not knowing the military crosswalks.
  • Training opportunity with HR.
  • Fighting to get interns. Student interns are often overlooked at organizations. This is due to being seen as having a lack of work experience.
  • Eliminating the word “just.” It limits our experiences.
  • “Each one to reach one.” Bring someone with you to the next Forum.
  • Thinking critically and how it is an important skill.
  • Go out and do informational interviews.
  • Learning how to “sell” yourself.
  • Extend to different industries/groups.
  • Think about this stuff on a daily basis.
  • Bring it up daily at work.
  • Talk about what you have learned.
  • Mentoring training opportunities.
  • What happens when your mentor leaves? How do you keep in touch? How do I find a new one?
  • How to broaden your networking groups.
  • Opportunities to learn.
  • Figuring out your network and dive into the community.
  • What does it mean to be a mentor? How do I know if I am doing it correctly?
  • Share positive feedback with mentees.
  • Diversity/cultures – Different women’s groups.
  • Creative projects for mentees.
  • Be open to possibilities.
  • Create a social media group where attendees can connect with one another.
  • Partner with the Partners in Emergency Preparedness conference committee.
  • Take the time to be a mentor or else you will not be a good mentor.
  • Learn about the positive aspects of mentoring.
  • Help build a work environment that is open where people can learn and make mistakes.
  • Pay compliments to people’s good qualities and skills.

Thanks to our Featured Speakers/Moderators

Erika Koss, Assistant Dean, College of Social Sciences & Humanities at Northeastern University in Boston, MA

Natasha Frost, Ph. D., Associate Dean for Graduate Studies; Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston, MA

Read More about the speakers presentations

Women in Leadership Forum Agenda

Panel Speakers Bios