Celebrating Women's History Month

Celebrating Women's History Month

March 7, 2024

We're honored to celebrate Women's History Month. Get to know our outstanding employees as they share their experiences, wisdom and advice.

Jovana JelenkovitchJovana Jelenkovic, HR Business Partner
“My advice for young women pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated fields? Believe in yourself.”

Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women throughout history. It reminds us of their resilience, courage and contributions to culture, science and society. By honoring their stories, we better understand our shared past.

Only some women negotiate their salaries, and even fewer apply for jobs unless they believe they qualify 100%. Seeing ourselves reflected in yesterday's stories can make us more confident in our skills to build the future.

As much as I love seeing brave, modern women, it's important to remember that history is filled with courageous women who created paths for us to continue the dialogue, have allies and really support one another. During this month, I'm even more proud of my grandmother. Among many great things, she shared her love for books and education and empowered me to search for my own answers.

The beliefs of mentors and others often propel us forward, even before we fully believe in ourselves. Mentorship is a beacon of guidance, providing women with the confidence and skills necessary to navigate their professional journeys. Mentorship and sponsorship are not just about giving advice or opening doors; they're about instilling belief. They empower women to recognize their potential and seize opportunities, even if it sometimes takes a leap of faith.

During my career, I've been lucky to be surrounded by female leaders and male allies who helped me along my professional path. Let's celebrate the stories of those among us and champion mentorship to light the path for those who come after us.

My advice for young women pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated fields is to believe in yourself. Seek mentorship, stay informed, build networks, embrace opportunities and remain resilient in the face of challenges. It's not easy, but you must believe you belong in the industry as much as anyone else. Your presence and contributions can also help break down barriers and pave the way for future generations of women in the industry. 

Lakeesha Carr

Lakeesha Carr, Lead Community Engagement Specialist
“Through affirmation and encouragement, I have learned to lean into challenges and resolve them using a solution-oriented approach.”

March is especially meaningful to me as Women's History Month. It is a time to honor those who fought for women's equality and women with trailblazing careers, such as Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to serve in Congress, and my mother, who fought for freedom and democracy in the Gulf and Iraq Wars. I reflect and appreciate powerhouse women in the Energy industry who paved the way for women like me, such as Michelle Musgrove, Washington Gas’ VP of Customer Experience. I also celebrate Women's History Month by supporting women-owned small businesses and mentoring young women.

During each stage of my 16-year career, I have been lucky to have women mentors and sponsors who have affirmed, encouraged and supported me. I have learned to lean into challenges and resolve them using a solution-oriented approach.

My beloved mother, a retired Chief Warrant Officer IV, who served 26 years in the United States Army, will always be my role model. Having a front-row seat to her military career, watching her navigate complex deployments, and achieving national and international recognition for her work while completing her BS and MS degrees inspired me to strive for excellence and be intentional in my career journey. Serving the country in her second career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), my mother continues to make a tremendous impact. She serves as my most trusted mentor and advisor.

I am especially proud of Washington Gas' investment in workforce development training within our service territories. Partnering with the DCIA, Goodwill and PGCC has established Washington Gas as a leading community partner serving on the frontline in under-served communities. Our commitment to providing energy and construction training has helped to change the lives of over 300 graduates, which essentially changes the economic trajectory of each family.

Our community involvement will impact the next generation of workers in the energy and construction sectors. I am proud to say that I work for Washington Gas!

DeShaundra Jones

DeShaundra Jones, Senior Director, Billing, Collections and Digital Experience

“I celebrate this month by amplifying women’s voices and reminding the women around me that their presence and voices matter.”

For me, Women’s History Month is a time to honor the legacy of the women who came before me and the barriers broken in the Suffrage and Civil Rights Movements. As a Black woman, I carry their resilience in my veins, and the stories of my mother, my grandmother, and others who fought for women fuel my determination. 

This month reminds us of how much women have accomplished, how far we have advanced and how much is left to do. I celebrate this month by amplifying women’s voices and reminding the women around me—including my 10-year-old daughter and her Generation Alpha friends—that their presence and voices matter!

Women’s strategic contributions—rooted in empathy, relationship building, a balanced approach to risk, cognitive diversity, and ethical foresight—lend themselves to a more diverse approach to corporate decision-making. For example, a Harvard Business Review study suggests that diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. Diverse voices, specifically those from women, bring perspective and expertise to the decision-making table.

When facing challenging situations, I have tried-and-true ways to stay balanced: a hug from my daughter, a walk with the sun on my face, good music that I can dance to and calls with loved ones to chat and reconnect. A difficult day doesn’t equal a difficult life, and challenging moments are just that: moments that quickly pass. 

Happy Women’s History Month! 😊

Theresa LucadoTheresa Lucado, Occupational Safety Manager
"Everyone has something in common with you. Everyone can teach you something new."

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the contributions of women in history and culture. One major stride in recent years is the opportunity for women to play on professional sports teams. In the Washington metro area, there are four professional women’s sports teams: Washington Mystics (basketball), Washington Spirit (Soccer), DC Divas (Football) and my personal favorite, the DC Shadow (ultimate frisbee). I plan to see the Washington Spirit play this March at Audi Field. 

Early in my career, I asked our industrial hygienist, Jennifer, if I could work with her. She trained me and assigned me progressively more complex work. Seeing my eagerness, Jennifer suggested I return to school and work towards professional certification. I told her it was too expensive and I would have to leave work to return to school. One day, Jennifer handed me a brochure for an online master’s program and told me I could take classes online at night—so I did. It is fantastic to have people who continue encouraging you even when you tell them, “I can’t.” 

For young women pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated fields, I would advise getting to know everyone where you work and training yourself to see each person for who they are, not what they are. It can be intimidating to meet new people, so it helps to remember that everyone has something in common with you, everyone can teach you something new and everyone loves to tell their unique story.

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