We all know that in the world of business, women have been making their mark in countless industries. But what about the golf course? Yesterday, at The Ledges Golf Course in Huntsville, Alabama, we saw a powerful display of women breaking barriers and making their presence felt where you might not expect them - on the fairways.
The Women in Defense – Tennessee Valley Chapter hosted its 3rd annual Golf Tournament on 23 October 2023. Team BMA turned heads by tying for second place out of twenty talented teams, not to mention taking home the "Longest Drive Award."
Team BMA L-R Austin Powell, Sheldon Statkewicz, Karalee Callis, Emily Bourgoin
Our hardworking female colleagues showed up in style, and they showed out on the course. While golf has traditionally been a sport dominated by men, our women proved that they can conquer new challenges and shatter old stereotypes.
In the world of business, the women of BMA are no strangers to breaking glass ceilings and pushing boundaries. It turns out that golf is no exception. Just like in the office, our women displayed unwavering confidence, determination, and the drive to succeed. They showcased that even in spaces where women aren't always seen, they not only belong but will also excel.
So, here's to our extraordinary team, to the talented men and women who played, and to the countless women in business and defense around the world who continue to challenge the status quo and redefine what it means to succeed.
Check out this exclusive interview by the women from BMA headquarters that participated. In this event:
L-R: Melissa Powell RSTS Program Manager, Emily Bourgoin Contracts Manager, Karalee Callis HR Generalist, Hilary Gamble Communications and Engagement Specialist
1. As a woman in business, what initiatives or changes do you think organizations can implement to foster a more inclusive and empowering environment for women in the workplace?
Emily Bourgoin, Contracts Manager: Business should not focus on gender to begin with. Women are powerful and have the equal ability to make decisions, assist in making changes, and getting the work done. Work ethic is the key foundation for success. I think organizations benefit from having more women involved and should focus on bringing a team together who will communicate clearly, efficiently, and who will perform in an organized fashion. This will happen by implementing team building activities to stimulate conversations where ideas can flow freely therefore awakening individual differences and using the method “more brains are better than one.”
Hilary Gamble, Communications & Engagement Specialist: Promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion at all levels is key. Creating flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies can better accommodate women’s professional and personal responsibilities. Recruiting and promoting with an emphasis on diversity is crucial to ensure equal opportunities for women to advance their careers.
2. Can you share a personal anecdote or experience that highlights the importance of mentorship and support networks for women in your industry?
Emily: I have been extremely lucky to have support from my direct supervisor in my last three roles within the Defense Industry. My managers have worked as mentors to me, to show me the way to my own success. I have been empowered and given the opportunity to prove to myself and others - that I am capable, intelligent, and valued. It is crucial for women in the industry to feel their workplace is a safe place to voice their ideas, opinions and doubts, and to know they will be supported. Having a group of women (and men!) come together to reach success has taught me that anything can be done when the individuals that are a part of the path to success are all on the same page and working as a team.
Karalee Callis, HR Generalist: At my first job following college graduation, I started in a position that offered limited employee training at the time. The amount of work and processes to be learned was daunting as a new college graduate, and a female coworker of mine knew how difficult that transition was when she first started. During my first six weeks or so, she would have frequent calls with me to help walk me through the various processes, offer encouragement, and provide helpful feedback. I am so grateful that this example was set for me so early in my career for supporting other women in the workforce. I hope to offer the same level of encouragement and support as I move forward in my career!
Melissa Powell, RSTS Project Manager, Project Control: My goal as a team member and leader is to promote and encourage women in our industry. A few summers ago, I had an intern while working at FMS Aerospace. She was a Public Health Major at UAB but couldn’t tell me what she wanted to do with her major. I told myself that I would change her path before she left for school in the fall. I taught her to inventory and calibrate GFP, audit timesheets, create reports, and to just be an even more outstanding teammate. The last day before she left for her fall semester, she came to me to let me know that she had changed her major to Accounting and would like to come back the following summer. This young lady is now a CPA for Warren Averett and I couldn’t be more proud. She tells me every time we get on the topic of how works is going that she wouldn’t be there without someone who cared enough to encourage her change. As females in this industry, it’s our responsibility to recognize talent when we see it and promote the growth of the next group of great team members.
3. In your opinion, what are the most exciting opportunities for women in business in the coming years, and how can they prepare to seize those opportunities?
Emily: Women in business are making power moves and working together to help businesses be successful. Having women work for a company that allows autonomy and decision making to happen really helps build confidence and relieve pressure. Women should be prepared to step into bigger roles and take on more responsibility, knowing that their support networks will back decisions they make and be there when they need assistance.
4. How do you envision the impact of women's involvement in corporate social responsibility and philanthropic activities, like this fundraiser, on the business world's future?
Emily: People will look at women as we are, equals. In our line of business, I believe this is the case for the most part already. I think women’s involvement in corporate social responsibility shows other businesses that we are successful and we work as a team of individuals that all come together to reach the ultimate success. In the business world, we will likely see many more women holding positions that allows for their ideas to be heard and implemented.
Hilary: Participating in fundraising and charity work like this event has a profound impact on professional culture and community. It showcases our commitment to social responsibility, community engagement, and aligns our company values with socially conscious partners and customers. This not only enhances a company’s reputation but also attracts talent that shares the same values. Moreover, it provides networking opportunities that can lead to beneficial business connections and partnerships. As more businesses integrate philanthropy into their corporate culture, women are better positioned to drive positive change and lead by example.
5. If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring women in business, based on your journey and experiences, what would it be?
Emily: Go for it! Don’t hold back. You can do it, and you can do it well.
Melissa: Make sure you learn or sharpen one skill each day, even if it’s just by a little.
Hilary: Don’t hesitate to speak up, share your ideas, and take calculated risks. Stay true to your values, and never underestimate the impact you can have on your organization and the world!
Read more about Women in Defense - TVC here: https://www.wid-tvc.org/