Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of interviews conducted in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Name and profession:
Kathryn McNeely, White Sands Missile Range Deputy Garrison Commander. McNeely has served in civil service for 30 years.
What is it like to be a female in your profession?
“The Army has been a progressive institution. We’ve made such progress and the Army has been committed to being an inclusive organization.
Have you faced any challenges as a female in your profession?
“One of the challenges for me was how to gain experiences and perspectives without moving to new organizations as experienced by military personnel. My challenges were not any more unique than others, but I did have a sense of ownership to find ways to grow within my profession, despite being limited geographically. I never have felt that there were huge hurdles I had to overcome working for the Department of the Army.”
Do you think it’s easier to be a woman now in the 21st Century than in years past?
“Absolutely, I think that the next generation has a responsibility to really understand what the previous generations experienced, honor that, and not take it for granted.”
What advice do you have for young females who are just starting off?
“What I would tell a young woman is to continue to look for passion and purpose and to look for opportunities that broaden their experiences and perspective. Stay focused on finding a balance between your professional life and your personal life.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“I don’t know if it’s the best advice but it’s the advice that always stuck with me. ‘When it’s time to work, work hard and when it’s time to play, play hard.’”
How do you balance it all?
“I think its trial and error. There were times when I did not “balance it all” well. You learn from your mistakes, you start taking stock of your priorities, and you start being mindful that balance is essential. Some days are weighted more towards work and some days more towards family and your personal life. I don’t think there’s an easy answer. It helps to stay focused on what is important to you and to re-evaluate your priorities from time to time.”
What has it been like to be a female in the civil service?