Association of Women Executives in Corrections

June 19th, 2010 Testimonials

Several members were asked why AWEC is important to them. Here is what they had to say:
Kaye Adkins, Community Corrections Family Services Administrator (retired) Washington State DOC:  “AWEC was formed in part as a response to women in corrections, who, because of their gender, were isolated and without support groups.  Through the years AWEC has served as a place where successful women can model behavior, teach, train, and support women starting in their careers or entering the ‘doldrums’ of mid-career challenges.  Given that corrections is one of the most male-dominated and hierarchical institutions in our society, AWEC serves as one of the only place where ‘Each one, teach one’ is the primary mission.”
Mary Bogan de Belmonte, Assistant Commissioner, New York Department of Corrections: “I love working with and learning from executive women leaders throughout the country.  I also like being a part of the development and professional success of other women.”
Luella Burke, Retired Warden, Michigan Department of Corrections/Consultant (2008 Susan Hunter Award Recipient): ” I passionately believe in advocating for diverse leadership in corrections and helping women find their voice. Even in retirement I feel a part of the profession.”
Darla Elliott,  Management and Training Corporation: ” This is an awesome family of women who are always caring and nurturing. In the corrections environment, you don’t always get that.”
Wendy Gardner, Senior Director, Staffing and Recruiting, Corrections Corporation of America:  Being a part of AWEC has provided me the opportunity to meet with many strong and humble female leaders.  Everyone has a story and they are willing to share it with the group, meanwhile supporting others with the challenges they may be facing.  Each meeting I’m able to attend is very encouraging and it continues to motivate me to maintain my principles and values and work toward my career development without giving up hope.”
Judy Lambert, Fiscal Services, Tennessee Department of Correction: “It gives me a great opportunity to meet and talk with women who work in the same field.”
Joann B. Morton, Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina:  “AWEC provides an unparalleled opportunity for executive level women in corrections to network and build friendships among their peers.  Much of the progress women have made over the last several years in achieving upper level positions in corrections is directly attributable to the training, feedback and support they have received from others in AWEC.”
Sandra Osteen, Managing Member, Critical Connections Consulting LLC:  “As the owner and manager of my consulting firm I often find what I miss most is the collaborative atmosphere of working in a larger organization.  it can sometimes be a lonely and isolated feeling.  My involvement with AWEC is an invaluable resource and professional network and has enhanced my ability to be successful in a male dominated business environment.”
Cornita A. Riley, Deputy Director for Operations, Orange Corrections Department:  “I am a strong supporter of women in leadership and women making a positive impact in the field of corrections.  In order to stay abreast of critical issues, trends and changes in Corrections, we must be involved in organizations like AWEC that provide an avenue to share experiences and opportunities for continual growth.”
Wendy Roal, Warden, Federal Prison Camp, Duluth:  “Being part of AWEC has been a great experience.  While it is 2011 and much has changed for women in corrections during my 28 year career, it is still for the most part,  a male dominated field.  Our male counterparts seem to do a better job of networking then we do.  We are often so quick to get right to work, that we miss the opportunities of sharing and learning from each other.  AWEC provides the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, personal and professional growth, and laughter!”
S. Anne Walker, Certified Corrections Executive, Executive Director, Alston Wilkes Society:  “I became a member of AWEC many years ago because I felt there was a need for women in leadership positions in corrections to have a more formal way to be supportive of each other, both personally and professionally.  Those of us who have been pioneers in the field never thought we were doing anything unusual; we were just doing our jobs, at the same time wanting to move up in our respective agencies.  Even though we have always supported each other informally, it has been good to have AWEC provide more formal ways to do that.  I also appreciate the opportunities we have through AWEC to provide training, and hopefully, inspiration to some of the younger women in the field.”
Pam Withrow, Retired Warden, Michigan Department of Corrections/Consultant: “I love the people! AWEC is a wonderful way to stay connected to the profession.”