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Presenters - from left to right: Peggy Sanchez Mills, Marilyn Wiley, Augusta Thomas, Martha Burk, Beverly Lyle, Diane Ogawa and Mary Scott.
Presenters - from left to right: Peggy Sanchez Mills, Marilyn Wiley, Augusta Thomas, Martha Burk, Beverly Lyle, Diane Ogawa and Mary Scott. Click on image for larger view.

National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility: Challenges and Solutions for Government

 

With the current climate of fiscal constraints on government and the need for government to function more like the private sector, it behooves government to consider workplace flexibility as a means of recruiting and retaining the best talent available.

Ms. Augusta Thomas, National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Washington, D.C., was the keynote speaker. Ms. Thomas began her career in the federal government in 1966 as a nursing assistant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, where she joined AFGE her first day on the job. She spoke about the issue of workplace flexibility from the perspective of a woman who got a divorce from her then-husband when she had just given birth to her ninth child. She stressed the importance of telework as beneficial to those whose occupations require higher levels of concentration and as an answer to reducing stress and increasing productivity.

Augusta Meyers, an Emmy-award-winning journalist, local television and radio anchorwomen and General Partner of Augusta Meyers and Associates moderated the panel composed of:

  • Dr. Martha Burk, Director of the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations, Money Editor for Ms. Magazine, and syndicated news columnist. She was a senior advisor to Governor Bill Richardson where she served on the groundbreaking pay equity study.
  • Mary Scott, Deputy Director of Human Resources for the City of Albuquerque and a city government employee for 23 years.
  • Diane Harrison-Ogawa, Executive Director of the PNM ( New Mexico utility company) Resources Foundation. She is a corporate attorney and serves on a number of boards.
  • Marilyn Wiley, National Fair Practices Affirmative Action Coordinator, AFGE and an employee at the federal Office of Personnel Management. She is helping her agency design flexible work-life arrangements.

The panel addressed the interconnectivity between equal pay and workplace flexibility, implementation of workplace flexibility policies, return on investment, the business case for workplace flexibility, the role of unions in promoting workplace flexibility and emerging trends and practices.

Topics were discussed in greater detail in two breakout sessions:

  1. How to Approach Flexibility: The Nuts and Bolts of Implementation
  2. The Workers’ Perspective

Peggy Sanchez-Mills, a native of New Mexico and former CEO of the YWCA USA, spoke in the closing plenary sharing insights and experiences on how workplace flexibility has a positive impact on non-profits.