FEMA Celebrates Women’s History Month

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At FEMA, there is no short supply of women who have helped shape the emergency management field. This includes incredible women like Federal Coordinating Officer Lai Sun Yee, who responded after the September 11 attacks, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who is the first woman to serve as the FEMA Administrator.

This month, we honor these women in celebration of Women’s History Month. Below we have highlighted just a few of the incredible women that make up the FEMA workforce. They share their thoughts on Women's History Month, their work, and what it means to serve under the first female administrator. 

Yolanda Jackson

Federal Coordinating Officer

Yolanda Jackson

What are some challenges you face as a woman in the field?

We have broken barriers to get here, yet we still have to prove that we have the expertise and experience to belong in this space. Often, I am the only woman in the room and must fight the urge to make myself small so that others are comfortable with my presence.  I remember that we are leaders of collaborative change, innovation, sustainability, and unity in our communities- it’s a natural fit for women to work in the field-removing barriers for those in need, providing critical contributions, and leading operations. I belong here – I worked hard to get here, and I join the ranks of other outstanding women representing leadership and diversity in all forms.

Lytwaive L. Hutchinson

Chief Information Officer

Lytwaive Hutchinson

How do you feel about serving under the first female FEMA administrator?  

It is wonderful and heart-filling to see Administrator Criswell break through the glass ceiling.  She is smart, eloquent, and a serious emergency management leader.  Administrator Criswell shows us every day how to lead with Compassion, Fairness, Integrity, and Respect. She is truly paving the way for future women leaders in the emergency management arena and I am excited to serve this remarkable woman.

Amanda Hancher

Digital Communications Specialist, Region 3

Amanda Hancher

How do you feel about serving under the first female FEMA administrator?  

When I was a little girl, my mom told me that I might have a female boss someday. I believed her because she was the boss of my life at the time, as well as a boss in civil service. Little did I know that my subsequent superiors would have such a historic significance as trailblazers in their field.

Having women in leadership is something that every organization can (and should) benefit from. It takes a variety of perspectives to steer an organization, and the calm, steady, compassionate leadership of Deanne Criswell is something that FEMA needed. I am proud to serve under the first female administrator of FEMA, and I know she will not be the last. As we celebrate the vanguards and pioneers, I can’t help but imagine a day when we have founded all of the firsts and women have permeated traditionally male-occupied spaces to the point where our presence is completely normalized. We still have a ways to go, but if women want it, we will achieve it.

Seong Kim

Director of Enterprise Data & Analytics Modernization Initiative in the Office of Policy and Program Analysis

Seong Kim

How do you feel about serving under the first female FEMA administrator?  

Serving under the first female FEMA Administrator is incredibly inspiring. Representation matters, and seeing the first female Administrator sets a great precedent for our current and future workforce in emergency management. It is also exciting to see how she has positioned the Agency in advancing equity and climate initiatives. The alignment and engagement from across FEMA in the execution of 2022-2026 Strategic Plan goals is fantastic.

Yvonne Smith

FEMA Region 4 IMAT-1 External Affairs Advisor

Yvonne Smith

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It’s about stopping to honor women past and present for their accomplishments.  It’s about my mother, sisters, friends, and colleagues. Yes, it’s about my FEMA Administrator.  It’s looking towards those selfless sisters who sacrificed to grow a family, a community, and a nation.  Every day when a newborn enters the world signals women’s history.  From the womb to the fields, from the warehouse to the boardroom, standing in a disaster recovery center or rocking a child in a day care center. Women’s History Month is about those who stood strong in the shadows to create a better world for women to stand in the sunlight today.

Constance C. Johnson-Cage

Federal Coordinating Officer/Region 7 Lead Field Coordinator/Field Leadership Directorate

Constance Johnson-Cage

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the dynamic role of women in American history, and to recognize the many contributions made by women who have impacted the entire nation.   

To explore more opportunities to work with extraordinary women like these, visit our Job Opportunity page.

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Last updated March 11, 2022