Page 27 - Foreign Service Journal - May 2013

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MAY 2013
in the Ofce of the Secretary of
Defense, explained the chang-
ing approaches to women in
the work force by the U.S. mili-
tary at a standing-room-only
EW@S event. She described
how women in the military
loved what they did, but felt they had to leave to improve their
personal lives—an observation that struck a chord with many.
Te Navy realized that its costly investment in training people
was walking out the door when employees left, and it took action.
It created an exit survey to probe the reasons for departures,
evaluated the responses received and developed solutions to
address each of the barriers cited. For instance, the Navy now has
a pilot program that allows all employees to take up to three years
of to focus on family care, education or anything else they wish,
without being penalized in the promotion process—essentially
“stopping the clock.”
While exit interviews exist for Foreign Service members, it is
not clear what happens to the responses. Tere is no comparable
process for Civil Service employees. Consequently, one EW@S
objective is to replicate the Navy’s success in understanding the
reasons employees leave. We currently have only anecdotal infor-
mation, so we are interested in creating and using exit surveys
from all departing employees to identify challenges and solutions
to the issues faced by our employees so we can work with the
department to address barriers to employee retention.
Ongoing EW@S objectives refect the long road ahead of us.
Tese include continuing to expand our reach to ever-increasing
numbers of employees, exploring ways to prepare more women
for senior leadership positions, and moving the needle ever closer
toward gender parity for senior career women at the department.
While the numbers of career women in senior positions are at
their highest levels ever, parity is still not within reach.
Paying It Forward
EW@S has three membership tiers, each of which focuses on
a specifc career level and mentors the level below. Te Execu-
tives, consisting of women at senior leadership levels, sponsor
and mentor the mid-level Associates, who, in turn, sponsor and
mentor the women of the Entry- and Junior-Level Program (afec-
tionately known as the EJs, pronounced “edges”). And the EJs, not
to be outdone, have expanded the organization’s reach beyond
the walls of State by mentoring interns and students interested in
beginning a career at the department.
Our approach combines informal, situational, speed and
reverse-mentoring opportuni-
ties. As Jennifer Carter, presi-
dent of the EJs, recently noted,
“Te appetite for mentoring
seems insatiable.”
Chief Diversity Ofcer and
Ofce of Civil Rights Director
JohnM. Robinson has described EW@S’s tiered career develop-
ment andmentoringmodel as “a best practice for the federal
In addition to programs for each career level, the three groups
collaborate in hosting monthly programs, formal and informal
networking and idea-sharing opportunities, and social events
where women with shared interests can come together.
Please Join Us!
While women at State have made real progress in recent years,
we still have a long way to go to achieve full representation in the
department’s top ranks. We welcome all interested colleagues to
join us in this important work. Volunteers to serve on committees
and assist with programs and events are always welcome.
Membership in EW@S (and attendance at its events) is open
to Department of State women, and men who support women’s
advancement, at all grade levels. Membership is also open to
political appointees, When Actually Employed personnel and
contractors who hold or previously held an equivalent rank.
Since there are no dues, all you need to do to join is to sign up
for the appropriate mailing list:
1. Executive Women at State–Executive Level (Senior Foreign
Service, Senior Executive Service, FS-1, and GS-15 levels):
2. Executive Women at State–Associates (FS-2 through tenured
FS-4 and GS-12 through GS-14):
3. Executive Women at State–Entry and Junior Level (unten-
ured FS-4 through FS-6, GS-5 through GS-11, and interns):
4. Friends of EW@S (male and female supporters at all levels
who do not wish to be full members):
If you’d like to learn more about EW@S, please contact any of
these e-mail addresses. Or visit our SharePoint site
), which has numerous resources
including program and meeting notes, events calendars, and
membership and contact information.
EW@S also has a managed group on the department’s Corridor
EW@S has also learned
from other federal
agencies’ practices.