Saturday, December 17, 2011

International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

15 December 2011


Dateline December 15, 2011 - The International Network of Women in Emergency Management (inWEM) hosted its inaugural “International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame” Induction Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Las Vegas. The reception and ceremony was held in conjunction with the International Association of Emergency Manager’s (IAEM) 59th Annual Conference & EMEX 2011.

The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame is inWEM’s first major initiative, honoring women who are pioneers and contemporary leaders in the fields of homeland security and emergency management in local, state, tribal, and federal governments. Women around the world have been innovators in critical infrastructure facilities; volunteer, faith, and community-based organizations; the private and nonprofit sectors; academia; the military; and private industry. 

The inductees, divided into Pioneers (achievement prior to 1970) and Contemporary Achievers (1970-present,) were chosen because they have made outstanding achievements and significant contributions in the fields of homeland security and emergency management. They are professionals who have devoted careers to women's and girls' causes and community endeavors; and who motivate and inspire young women envisioning careers in homeland security and emergency management.

Dr. Jacqueline McBride, President of inWEM, said, This award honors the contributions individuals have made in the advancement of women in emergency management and a culture of preparedness for safer, resilient, and sustainable diverse communities. Young girls and women around the world need to see and read about these ‘trailblazers’ - someone who reaches out and encourages them to one day follow their career path.  Our future goal is to establish a permanent home.  We will initially share and display information in a traveling exhibit for use by schools, colleges/universities, art centers, businesses and libraries throughout the world.”

The 2012 ceremonies will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2012, during IAEM-USA 60th Annual Conference & EMEX Exhibit, Orlando, FLA, USA (Orange County Convention Center).  Requests to receive a nomination form should be addressed to

The first Hall of Famers are:

1865 – Catherine Booth and husband founded the Salvation Army

1906 - General Evangeline Booth started disaster relief services for The Salvation Army. Also, in 1934, she became the first female General of the Salvation Army.

1919 – Eglantyne Jebb, founded the Save the Children Fund, Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Director, Domestic Emergencies Unit, SC

1941 – First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt appointed Assistant Director; the “first woman in Homeland Security/Emergency Management” (formerly Civil Defense)

1950 - National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NACWC, Inc (formerly the National Federation of Colored Women and National Federation of Afro-American Women) participated in the first national “Women and Civil Defense” conference was held in Washington, DC. (President Evelyn Rising)

1981 - Dorothy J. Lewis, International Association of Emergency Managers’ lead liaison for governmental relations and second female President of IAEM

1990 – Margaret Brenda Verbeek, founded the Canadian Emergency Preparedness Association (CEPA), which became IAEM-Canada

1991 - Avagene Moore, emergency management trailblazer and 1987-1988 President of IAEM

1994 - Kay Goss, first female Associate Director of FEMA

1994 - Molly Grant, one of the first Native American females in emergency management

1994 - Rosalita Whitehair, one of the first Native American females in emergency management

1995 - Lynn Canton, first African American, female Regional Administrator of FEMA

1996 - Oluremi Olowu, the first Director of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

2001 – Lisa Orloff, one of first female founders of an international emergency management program

2001 – Elizabeth Davis one of the first female founders’ of an international emergency management program

2001 - Annie Searle, first female leader in private sector/industry of emergency management

2002 - Rosemary Cloud, first female African-American Fire Chief

2005 - Susan Diehl-Brenits, first female project manager in emergency management at Con Edison

2005 – Kelly Discount founded EMPOWER, the first modern day organization for women in emergency management

2010 - Carmen G. Rodriguez, the first female Fire Chief of the Puerto Rico Fire Department - Bomberos de Puerto Rico (BPR).

© 2011 inWEM

Front row, from left, Rosalita Whitehair, Elizabeth Davis, Oluremi Olowu, Molly Grant and Kelly Discount
Second row, Carmen Rodriquez; Evelyn Rising representing NACWC, Inc.; 
                      Rosemary Cloud; Kay Goss; Avagene Moore; Annie Searle; Lisa Orloff
Back row, Major Darryl Leedom representing Catherine and Evangeline Booth, posthumously; 
                   Margaret Verbeek; Susan Diehl-Brenits

Not present for the photograph were Lynn Canton and Dorothy Lewis.
Inducted posthumously were First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Eglantyne Jebb

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