Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I am a Workforce Development Transformation Executive with over 20 years of Human Resources Management experience. Currently servicing the US Government (USG) as the Agency Lead on Counter-Trafficking for the United States Agency for International Development. In my current role, I manage staff in the USG interagency and internationally who are responsible for implementation of Agency initiatives and programs. In a snapshot, I provide both program and fiduciary oversight for Agency-sponsored strategies, policies and programs for combating modern slavery.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
Since I will be making a career transition in the upcoming months, I started researching for new organizations to join and Ellevate showed up, I saw some of the programs you were offering and one caught my attention, and it was addressing the issue of Teleworking during COVID 19, as this was my first time in my life teleworking, it was challenging so I decided to join the Ellevate Network during COVID 19 and learned what you all have to share during these times. Learning is a life-long job and this is a great platform to interact with other experts outside of my field. I am always excited to connect with brilliant women who are passionate about their work.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to combat human trafficking by implementing the correct policies and reinforcing program effectiveness. An efficient based budget worldwide is crucial to making USAID's programs effective and more sustainable. I also dedicate my efforts towards incorporating new initiatives in USAID and in the US Government that will financially empower women and children, as well as focusing on human trafficking prevention efforts.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
The most memorable career accomplishment would be when I founded Second Chance Employment Services ("SCES") the first employment placement agency in the U.S. for women who were survivors of domestic violence. From an early age, I recognized the correlation between helping abused women gain financial independence in order to move closer to freedom from their abuser abusers. Under my direction, SCES was a driving force behind passage of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
During my career I have sometimes found it difficult or had to think more creatively on how to synchronize my professional background of Human Capital with my passionate commitment to combating violence against women and children.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
On of the best programs I have participated in was the creation of a Partnership Program between Second Chance Employment Services and other corporations, the US Government, non profits, and small businesses. SCES and the other organizations "Human Resources Departments" joined forces to provide and opportunity for at-risk women to gain employment in long term careers. This program was very difficult to cultivate as my vision started in the late 90's when the concept of economic violence was not widely taken into consideration so there was limited understanding of the importance of financial independence.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
From a Vice President of Human Resources for a major think tank. Soon after I was honored to received Presidential appointments in boards within the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor, and also serving as the Cultural Ambassador of Human Trafficking to the State Department. My commitment to serving women and girls started as a child in seeing first-hand the destruction of a family at the hand of domestic violence. My frustation of the inability to stop it and sorrow of the violence brought me to where I am today.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is having the opportunity to make policy-driven decisions that has an impact on the transformation of women's and children's lives.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I hope to inspire other organizations and individuals to model their approach to tackling domestic violence after the Second Chance Employment Services method. It would be uplifting to see more programs adopt similar models that have the power to transform women and entire families, as well as save lives. I would like to see this type of program expanded nationally and beyond the United States.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I am passionate about my work. I give everything to my job and feel completely fulfilled by the deliverables produced from this office. Many years of working in this field have taught me that nothing is perfect and sacrifices are necessary, but you need to keep the bigger picture in mind. My motivation to write my book "Ending Domestic Violence Captivity": A Guide to Economic Freedom (Volcano Press 2015) and the creation of SCES both stem from my passion to make life-long freedom a reality for those who suffer under the tyranny of domestic abuse, human trafficking and other types of oppression.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Advice I would give to the incoming women for my industry is to identify people with the background that you are interested in as they will be your support circle in the years to come. Finding a Mentor is very helpful to building your capacity and identifying the method to achieving your future-state goals. Educating yourself in a subject under that particular industry which is either current or in demand will give you more opportunities.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Do not stay in the middle of the trail, reach the top of your ideals.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Your children are the future generations, make them your priority.
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