Elizabeth Zimmerman, Former Head of FEMA’s Office of Response and Recovery.
"You can't give up. Let your voice and ideas be heard, and do it while being a respectful, positive team player. I believe one of the reasons I was recruited to FEMA was all of the feedback and ideas I provided about how the federal government could improve disaster recovery. I used my position with the state of Arizona to voice my concerns along with possible solutions; and I stuck with it. When FEMA called, I was ready to take the opportunity."
"As a woman in emergency management, there will be times when you will be ‘outnumbered': expect to have meetings or projects where women are in the minority. That's when it is important to listen to others around the table, then offer your perspective so it is acknowledged and considered. And if the team or project goes in a different direction than your ideas, it's important to keep contributing in a positive way to improve it. Tirades and finger pointing aren't helpful - so look for ways to effect change that builds trust within your team."
"One other thought for those within emergency management, and I can't stress this enough: if emergency management isn't your passion, then go follow your real calling. This is a field that if you love what you do, you'll have a very enjoyable career and won't mind the extra stresses we face. If your passion is emergency management, it doesn't matter what level you're working at - you are going to enjoy the work you do. But if you don't enjoy this business, you're going to be miserable. We spend way too much time working and face too many stressful situations to dread coming into the office every day."