Celebrating Women's History Month

Published on
03/01/2024
Celebrating Women's History Month

 

Women’s History Month, observed every March, is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually since 1987. The 2024 theme, “Women who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” recognizes women’s advocacy as the source of societal changes that have expanded possibilities and moved history forward.

In honor and recognition of Women’s History Month, we are sharing a few stories of amazing women leaders throughout Fairfax County as well as events in March that highlight women’s contributions to society.

A FEW AMAZING WOMEN WORKING FOR FAIRFAX COUNTY  

Vanessa Aguayo

As a Senior Transportation Planner at the Department of Transportation, Aguayo is project manager for one of the largest infrastructure projects in the United States. This long-term effort transforms transportation along Richmond Highway, implementing the county’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Equitable and inclusive outreach, relationship building and collaboration with stakeholders and communities along Richmond Highway have been the hallmark of the work being done on this project and is critical to its success.


DeLana (“Lane”) Browning

Browning supports the Health Department’s Health Equity Team and Equity Champion Network, as well as manages the department’s Health Equity Leadership Experience, the Health Equity Impact Plan, the Employee Racial Equity Survey, and leads a pair of equity-related Strategic Plan Implementation teams. She brings not only a cultural communications perspective to all her work, but also a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Takisha Cannon

Cannon has been a pioneering advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion within the environmental sciences, notably through her contributions to the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at UMBC and the GEM Scholar Program at UVA, promoting representation of women and minorities in STEM fields. Her leadership in Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, especially her involvement with the Equity Team, underscores her commitment to developing equitable service delivery frameworks and fostering community engagement to ensure diverse voices are heard in environmental decision-making.


Kathleen (Kate) Daley

As an Environmental Analyst for the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, Daley is the office’s designated Equity Lead. She has embraced this role in a meaningful way, providing informed leadership and proactive advocacy to share equity education opportunities with coworkers and elevate equity considerations in all of OEEC’s work.


Detective Tiara Goode

Goode serves in the Recruiting Division of the Fairfax County Police Department. She spearheads initiatives to recruit the most qualified and diverse candidates, emphasizing the importance of representation and inclusion within the department that reflects our community. Her dedication to diversity and innovative strategies fosters trust and cooperation, strengthening community relations in Fairfax County. 


Allison Homer

As a Senior Community Specialist at the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, Homer manages Resilient Fairfax, the county’s climate adaptation and resilience plan. In doing so she provides diligent analysis and advocates to ensure the plan implementation and related programming serves vulnerable populations in full accordance with the spirit and intent of One Fairfax principles.


Jennifer Josiah

Branch Chief of the Project Management Program in Land Development Services serves on the equity team and is one of the most vocal advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion with the agency. She was selected to serve on the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) cohort for Fairfax County in 2021-22, taking a deep dive into the root causes of equity disparities in our community.


Dallice Joyner

Joyner as a Workforce Development and Training Specialist is the quintessential Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advocate. She is a trained health education professional and former nonprofit Executive Director with 20 plus years of supervisory and leadership experience. Joyner provides visionary leadership and technical assistance as a subject matter expert in cultural competence, racial and health equity for Health Department leadership and staff. Through her generosity and bravery, Joyner has been instrumental in pushing Health Department frontline staff, middle and executive management into the difficult and uncomfortable spaces of racial and social equity in order to build an internal culture of inclusion and belonging that is prepared to address the health challenges in communities facing the burdens of structural inequalities. 


Maryia Lackansingh

Code Specialist, Land Development Services is the newly re-elected President of Women in Code Enforcement and Development of Virginia (WICED of VA).  WICED of VA is an organization that promotes the value, recognition, and professional development of women in code enforcement throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. As President of WICED, Maryia leads the organization, mentors student members, and gives back to the community through volunteering. 


Eta Nahapetian

As Manager of Innovation Programs and Strategy, Nahapetian developed and is managing the Fairfax Founders Fund (FFF) at the Department of Economic Initiatives. Among the FFF goals is to foster economic mobility by providing a new source of early-stage capital to Fairfax County businesses with high growth potential and ensuring that these funds are broadly accessible to entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.  Nahapetian enthusiastically led intentional and extensive engagement with underrepresented founders and networks to help them access the Fairfax Founders Fund. As a result, applications from under-represented founders including women, veterans, founders with disabilities, and founders of color were over-represented in nearly every category compared to Fairfax County demographics. 


Holly Novak

Executive Assistant to the McLean Community Center Governing Board is highly conscientious in ensuring that all patron comments are recorded and responded to efficiently. Holly seeks out opportunities to hear diverse perspectives and learn about a variety of cultures and is naturally curious and respectful of all backgrounds and opinions. She routinely reminds staff members of the importance of being inclusive of all opinions and viewpoints when they are making important decisions. 


Bebe Nguyen

In her role as Deputy Director and Equity Lead for Reston Community Center, BeBe ensures that equity is considered and applied across all functional areas within the Agency and brings forth programs, trainings, and continuous improvement to minimize barriers for all.


Stephanie Pegues

Family Engagement Program Manager within the Department of Family Services demonstrates through her voice and actions through actions a steadfast commitment to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all aspects of our organizational culture.   She approaches all her work with curiosity and an open-mindedness that fosters an inclusive mindset.  She has the courage to speak up against discrimination, bias and inequity and has an uncanny ability to create a safe space for open dialogue and learning. 


LaTanja Snelling

In her role as Director of Equity Partnerships, Snelling fosters successful partnerships with key residents, service providers, schools, and other supporters in defined communities to create a shared vision to address needs and achieve equitable results for youth and their caregivers. She values the opportunity to be an advocate for equitable results in our community.


Danielle Van Hook

Director of Youth Theatre Programs for The Alden Theatre at the McLean Community Center (MCC) has organized diversity-related training sessions for staff and worked with Executive Director Betsy May-Salazar to develop the MCC’s One Fairfax Plan for 2024. Danielle routinely brings in programs that celebrate diversity and belonging and offers cultural workshops that not only promote inclusion but also attract participants from all around the country.


First Lieutenant Deanna Weand

Weand is the Assistant Commander of the Community Engagement and Equity Bureau of the Fairfax County Police Department, leads the 30x30 pledge initiative to recruit and retain female officers while driving policy and cultural reforms within the department. She also orchestrates targeted outreach programs to foster community trust and enhance communication.


Courtney Willis-Banks

Willis-Banks, Section Chief, with the Solid Waste Management Program is a dedicated advocate for equity and inclusion, serving as the Equity Lead for the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. Born and raised in Fairfax County, Willis-Banks' deep-rooted connection to her community fuels her passion for driving positive change and ensuring that the equity lens is applied to the internal and external work of DPWES. In her role as Equity Lead, she has been instrumental in the DPWES efforts that have led to the creation of the Equity Team and Diversity Team and the action plans currently under development by committees. Willis-Banks also spearheaded the creation of the Solid Waste Management Program Women’s Resource Group in 2019, which has expanded to other departments in Public Works.


Nicole Wynands

Wynands is a Senior Transportation Planner for the Department of Transportation. She has been leading a five-year initiative to update and combine the Bicycle Master Plan and the Countywide Trails Plan into the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan , establishing a vision and roadmap for the implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets and trails in the county. The project team conducted outreach to make engagement opportunities accessible and convenient to all, thereby ensuring County residents’ active mobility concerns, needs, and desires are understood and considered throughout the development of the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan.


Toni Zollicoffer

Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Division Director with Department of Family Services is a passionate advocate for women and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and a tireless changemaker.  She carries the stories of survivors close to her heart and intertwines those journeys into dismantling the structures that enable violence.


FAIRFAX COUNTY EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Mezzo-soprano Kristee Haney, Sunday, March 3, 2 p.m.

Kristee has graced the Metropolitan Opera stage, and her adventurous and versatile repertoire encompasses everything from core baroque and romantic roles, cutting edge contemporary operas, to jazz standards and musical theater. In this concert, Kristee will treat us to an afternoon of music composed entirely by women, including pieces by Alma Mahler, Pauline Viardot and Florence Price.

Gains, Gaps & Goals, Friday, March 22, 2—5 p.m.


Join us for Gains, Gaps, and Goals: The Status of Women and Girls in Fairfax County, a presentation by the University of Virginia, followed by a panel discussion, audience Q&A, networking, and light refreshments. This event will be livestreamed by Channel 16.

 

Fairfax County Library

The libraries across the county will host movie showings, story times, STEAM activities for kids and history presentations this Women's History Month. School age children are invited to build a bridge similar to Emily Roebling who helped design the Brooklyn Bridge on Thurs. March 7 at the Woodrow Wilson Library. Catch a showing of the movie "Hidden Figures" at Chantilly Regional Library on Sat. March 23 or join your neighbors writing letters to a woman of influence in your life at the Sherwood Regional Library on Tues. March 19. Learn more about these events and many others!

 

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