District Breaks Glass Ceiling During Observance of National Women’s History Month

Middle East District
Published March 20, 2012

WINCHESTER, Va. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District celebrated Women's History Month on Mar. 15 during a luncheon featuring a special guest speaker from the local academic community.

Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy, president of Lord Fairfax Community College presented "Breaking the Glass Ceiling and Other Leadership Tips," which offered guidelines and advice for empowering women in their careers.

Mark Shore, the district's federal women's special emphasis program manager, introduced the speaker and the 2012 National Women's History Month theme: women's education – women's empowerment.

Thompson-Stacy opened her talk by acknowledging that empowerment, education, and salary equity for women were her favorite subjects. In 1996, she gave her dissertation on those topics for women in the educational arena.

According to statistics Thompson-Stacy provided, "women still only earn 78 cents to every dollar earned by males; African American women earn 68 cents, and Latina women only earn 58 cents." She also revealed that "females get about 10 percent of the income globally; they do 66 percent of the world's work; and make up 70 percent of the world's poor."

"There is an awful lot of work to be done and we can never stop trying to achieve more," she said.

Thompson-Stacy posed this question to the group: "Why do you think women do so much work with not so much to show for it?"

A few people in the group spoke up and said they believe that women don't always stand up for themselves and ask, or they don't believe they are worth it.

Thompson-Stacy's advice to this opinion was to "be confident to speak to the boss. Don't hesitate or be afraid to make yourself known. If you aren't going to fight for yourself, nobody else is either."

She concluded her presentation by sharing some tips from Colin Powell about how to be a great leader. The nine things he suggested for succeeding in leadership are to be proactive, keep learning, be flexible, know that not everyone will like you, and to understand that the day an employee stops bringing you problems is the day you've stopped leading them. Also, don't be afraid to challenge the status quo and take risks, realize it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, be positive, and have fun.

The Middle East District provides engineering, construction and related services in the Middle East, Central Asia and other areas. Its work includes designing and constructing facilities for use by U.S. forces, performing engineering activities for other U.S. government and foreign agencies, and providing operations and maintenance services for various customers. In addition, the District provides project management, engineering, contracting and support services to USACE districts in Afghanistan.