MCALLEN, Texas ― The Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector hosted its first-ever Women’s Leadership Symposium on Jan. 15 at South Texas College. The event featured a number of highly successful women from a variety of fields. Most notably were the guest speakers: Coast Guard Rear Admiral June Ryan; U.S. District Judge Alia Moses; Office of Field Operations, Seattle Field Office Director Michele James; and Homeland Security Investigations-Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala.
The speakers aimed to edify and inspire women to achieve success in their careers and to not be afraid to take on new challenges.
“My message today is really about staying positive and recognizing that obstacles are sometimes not actually obstacles, they’re stepping stones into the next portion within your career,” Rear Admiral Ryan said. “Many of the obstacles that I thought were obstacles at the time were actually things that propelled me to a higher level.”
Other presentations focused on education, financial management, and fitness. Border Patrol Agent Jessica Newsome says she was inspired by the guest speakers and felt they did an excellent job of motivating others to succeed.
“They all had a realness about themselves, a transparency, just really speaking about how tough it can be being a woman in this type of field and just giving us pointers about how we can grow as women in this type of environment, in a male dominated world,” Agent Newsome said. “It was good. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Agent Newsome was one of many edified at this unique event that was attended by nearly 250 women from a variety of Federal agencies throughout the region. Upper management from RGV Sector Headquarters and the sector’s nine stations as well as from various ports of entry also showed their support by attending the symposium.
Chief of Staff of the Brownsville Port of Entry, Supervisory Customs and Border Protection Officer Laura Rohrbough says she learned a lot of things that she will take back and share with her co-workers
“We have a lot of opportunities within our organization and within the Federal government and that if we set goals, then those goals are definitely attainable,” SCBPO Rohrbough said.
The Women’s Symposium is part of an initiative from CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske to motivate employees to achieve success in their careers. It’s anticipated that future symposiums will focus on leadership development.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.