Originally published: April 14, 2011
Last updated: April 14, 2011 - 6:10pm
Speaking at the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International's Women in Public Safety Communications Leadership Conference, Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn addressed two of her passions: promoting public safety and empowering women.
She said: "Women face unique challenges in the workplace, but as I'm sure you've been told throughout the conference and during your personal and professional experiences, the ability to overcome those challenges is the trademark of a truly effective leader. It is important to understand and embrace the fact that there is more than one path to becoming a leader in this industry. Each of you brings diverse styles, interests, backgrounds, experiences, approaches, skill-sets, and answers to the table. This diversity is a strength; not a weakness. Some may have concluded that because you work in a male dominated environment, you should try to blend in; be like one of the guys. There is a time and a place for collaboration, and a time and a place for fitting in. But there is also a time and a place for standing out. There is a place for diversity in the communications industry - and as a matter of fact, there's a need.
"The more a local public safety agency reflects the diversity of its local community, the better prepared that agency is to serve the public safety needs of its citizens. Such an agency can better react to situations, and be better equipped to calm an individual who is desperate for help. There are circumstances in which a woman may not be comfortable opening up to a male 9-1-1 operator. Or, there may be callers who are less proficient in the English language. Your ability to relate to them in some way may actually mean the difference between life and death."
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