Tag Archive | "Women of Color Empowered"

Women in male-dominated careers — Making a difference

Women in male-dominated careers — Making a difference

By Minal Singh
Northwest Asian Weekly


From left: Tanya Jimale, Srilakshmi Remala Sri, Joyce Yen, Gita Bangera, Michelle Mills Clement, Shira Broschat, Dawn Gidner, Linda De Boldt, Melissa Rice, Stephanie Caldwell, Cheryl Paston, Kelly Knebel, Tina Soike, and Kathleen O’Toole

On Friday, Feb. 6, at the China Harbor Restaurant, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation hosted a luncheon to honor female professionals who are making a difference by working in male-dominated careers. This occasion marked the
20th anniversary of the organization.

Tanye Jimale, the first  African American to graduate from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Civil Engineering, was master of ceremonies. Many of the honorees were scientists and engineers. Throughout the luncheon, the honorees imparted much advice for encouraging women of all ages to pursue and succeed with educations and careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, which are primarily occupied by men.

The 14 Honorees gave short empowering speeches offering advice or insight about their success in fields where they are the gender or racial minority.

Srilakshmi Remala is owner of Remala Consulting LLC, which provides technology and management expertise to non-profits and the education sector. She explained in her speech her inspiration for entering her field.

“My parents inspired us from a young age to have curiosity about computers. For us, technology was a ticket to opportunity.”

Dr. Melissa Rice, who is Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, like Remala, went to an all-girls school and was appreciative of the positive experience.

“It is important that all women feel freedom in choosing their career and should not be persuaded by the demographics,” Rice said. “Often I will be in a meeting with other scientists, and I’ll look around realizing that I am the only woman in a room of thirty people,” she said.

Cheryl Paston, Deputy Public Works Director for the City of Sammamish, spoke about raising daughters to care about math and science.

“Stop every once in awhile to feed your daughter’s curiosity. Help your daughter discover the scientific answers behind her questions. Tell her how proud you are of the skills she develops about numbers, about abstract concepts, about how stuff works,” she said.

Stephanie Caldwell is the Small Business Program Manger for Absher Construction Company and has worked in construction for 16 years. She shared some of her grandmother’s points of wisdom.

“Be yourself. Follow your passion. Use your God-given gifts. Don’t blame others for what you don’t have.  Don’t give up,” she said.

Kim Pastega was named vice president of Production System Operations for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. She discussed the importance of female mentors and bonding with female colleagues.

“Look for role models. When you go into a role that’s traditionally male-dominated, it is important to see other women that are successful and powerful. Pursue your dreams. Set your goals high and proceed with confidence. Sometimes when you take a risk you might fail. Most importantly: Women need to support other women,” she said.

Dr. Gita Bangera is Dean of Undergraduate Research at Bellevue College. She said, “There’s a theme here. The women here honored are changing the rules around. Young women should dream. Dream big.”

Dr. Joyce Yen fundamentally echoed the words of honorees speaking before her: “I’ve been in male-dominated meetings and I’ve made a point of looking for female colleagues—a posse. Posses provide community and support. To be in a room of female engineers or scientists feels different, especially women who are used to being a minority in the room. Find your posse.”

Yen is the Program-Research Manager for the UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change.

Kelly Knebel is a pilot for Alaska Airlines. She advised young women to pursue their passion.

“I became a pilot because I had a passion for it. My love of flying not only helped me enter a male-dominated field, but to stay in it,” she said.

Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Police Chief, was also honored. She spoke about her early
years preparing for college and career. Her guidance counselor discouraged her from entering her first field of choice, which was law.

“That’s great, Kathleen, but I really think you should consider something more appropriate for a woman, said my counselor, which made me even more determined to become a lawyer,” she said.

Michelle Mills Clement, Executive Director and CEO of Commercial Brokers Association (CBA), offered advice for women in male-dominated fields.

“Most people (I work with) don’t look like me, by gender, by race or by age. Every time I walk into a room, I think it’s just going to be me. So my advice is to get a male mentor, find a male advocate, display confidence, have an edge, don’t be afraid to be a little different, and keep a good support system,” Clement said.

Linda De Boldt, Public Works Director for the City of Redmond, spoke about the importance of encouragement for women who are in male-dominated professions.

“To get where I am, I received encouragement from family and friends, from formal and informal mentors. When I started my career, there weren’t many other women. I benefited from the help of colleagues. There is no reason for the fear of entering a male-dominated career,” she said.

Shira Broschat, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and adjunct faculty in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health and in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University, was asked to describe why it’s difficult to be in a field dominated by men.

She compared the situation to water drop torture.

“After a while you find that there’s a hole in you. We (as women) don’t have to keep taking these small slights. They add up drop by drop. There are corrections we can make,” she said.

Tina Soike, Director of Engineering Services, expressed common themes of the luncheon in her speech.

“Have confidence in what you know. Don’t hesitate to speak your opinion. Don’t underestimate your ability to influence and contribute to those major decisions that happen in our corporations and agencies today. Conduct yourself professionally but don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax. Be yourself. Be your whole self, as a woman and as a person in your community. Lastly, learn from mentors, both male and female. Be open to possibilities because there are many routes to the end destination,” she said.

Dawn Gidner, a member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, was honored for her work as a radar systems engineer at Honeywell Aerospace. She spoke of her early fascination with how things work.

“My parents were my biggest, early inspiration. They completely supported me when I wanted to build things instead of play with dolls. They always told me to believe in myself, follow my dreams and I could do anything I wanted,” she said.

The luncheon ended with a big raffle prize donated by Alaskan Airlines. Jennifer Jacobson was the lucky recipient of two plane tickets to fly anywhere she likes. (end)

Minal Singh can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

Posted in Community News, Features, Profiles, Vol 34 No 8 | 2/14-2/20Comments (0)

Honoring our women mentors

Women of Color Empowered (WOC) is a nonproft organization started by Northwest Asian Weekly in 1996. This year WOC’s  theme is “Amazing Women Mentors,” where women across Seattle are being honored as mentors. There is a luncheon honoring the women mentors on Friday, Sept. 17 at China Harbor Restaurant. Tickets can be purchased by calling 206-223-0623 or emailing rsvp@nwasianweekly.com. Tickets are $35 before Sept. 15, $45 after Sept. 15 and walk-ins are $50. Students do receive a discount with student ID. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Features, Profiles, Vol 33 No 38 | 9/13-9/19Comments (1)

Women of color develop new ideas, form new ventures

Women of color develop new ideas, form new ventures

Compiled by Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly


The entrepreneurial spirit is key to the American dream, and developing new ventures is one way that women from all walks of life can become empowered. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Profiles, Vol 32 No 38 | 9/14-9/20Comments (4)

Woman Leaders in New Ventures

Woman Leaders in New Ventures


Woman Leaders in New Ventures

WHEN: Friday, September 20, 2013
11:30 a.m.—1:30 p.m.
WHERE: New Hong Kong Restaurant, 900 S. Jackson St. #203, Seattle


  • Maire Chacon & Lesly Chacon
  • Maud Daudon
  • Sophath Chou
  • Adriana Medina
  • Angela Shen
  • Anjana Shanker
  • Beverly Norris
  • Edna Daigre
  • Kira Bundlie & Lisa  Strom
  • Kendee Yamaguchi
  • Purple Tramble
  • Natasha Savage
  • Yen Lam
  • Julia Johnson


  • State Farm Insurance
  • Wells Fargo
  • Puget Sound Blood Center
  • Eli Lilly

Master of Ceremonies: Carolyn Kelly

CO-CHAIRS: Bonnie Miller, Kiku Hayashi, and Diane Martin

PLANNING COMMITTEE: Assunta Ng, Carol Cheung, Charlene Grinolds, Chayuda Overby, Connie Sugahara, Francine Griggs, Jacqueline Coe, Kathy Purcell, Leny Valerio-Buford, Lourdes Sampera-Tsukada, Yvonne Naum and Teri Wong

RESERVATIONS FOR LUNCHEON: Discounted price of $30 if purchased by September 17. Full price of $40 after September 17. Walk-ins $45. Student price of $20 with I.D. before September 17; $25 after September 17; student walk-ins $30. No tickets will be mailed; confirmation is by e-mail only. $1,000 to sponsor the event including a table of 10 (For details, visit womenofcolorempowered.com). Men are welcome!

To purchase tickets, go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/440769, or call us at 206-223-0623, or email rsvp@nwasianweekly.com. For more information, visit womenofcolorempowered.com.

Posted in Community News, Vol 32 No 36 | 8/31-9/6Comments (0)

Uniting Communities — Women of Color Empowered share memories of inclusion

Uniting Communities — Women of Color Empowered share memories of inclusion

By Charles Lam
Northwest Asian Weekly


From left to right: Jane Nishita, Manuelita Ybarra, Nikki Gane, Yoshiko Harden, Michelle Nitz-Weiss, Natasha Burrows, Ellen Ferguson, Sharon Parker, Debbie Bird, Pearl Leung, and Vivian Lee. (Photo by George Liu/NWAW)

“I didn’t know I was breaking down barriers. I didn’t know I was creating new paths,” said Dr. Sharon Parker, the Assistant Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Features, Profiles, Vol 32 No 7 | 2/9-2/15Comments (0)

Women of color building bridges and uniting communities

Women of color building bridges and uniting communities

Compiled by Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

A community can only be as strong as the bond of its people. If those bonds are weak, the community is easily divided, but the stronger they are, the more the community can work together. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Features, Profiles, Vol 32 No 4 | 1/19-1/25Comments (15)

Women of color honored for building the future

Women of color honored for building the future

By Charles Lam


These women have each done their part and more to ensure a better, more inclusive future. (Photo by George Liu/NWAW)

More than 270 were present at the New Hong Kong restaurant on Thursday, Sept. 20, to honor 14 local women at the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Women of Color Empowered luncheon. The theme of the luncheon was “Women of Power: Future Builders,” and the women honored have each played a role in advancing the future, whether through teaching, mentoring the next generation, or leading community organizations and businesses. Read the full story

Posted in Features, Profiles, Vol 31 No 40 | 9/29-10/5Comments (2)

Women of color look to the past in order to inspire the future

Women of color look to the past in order to inspire the future

Compiled by Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly


French author Andre Maurois famously wrote, “A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body.” Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Features, Profiles, Vol 31 No 4 | 1/21-1/27Comments (0)


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