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4th Quarter Recommended Reading: 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t – by Jim Collins (Author)

Miller: ‘Be Willing To Do Whatever Is Asked Of You’

Robert Miller, a building manager for Public Buildings Service in GSA’s Pacific Rim Region 9, celebrated 50 years of federal service this summer. 

Forty eight years of his service were spent at GSA.

To learn more about his career, read a recent profile GSA published on Miller:

BBC Honors Local High Students, Awards Scholarships

The Benjamin Banneker Chapter recently presented two scholarship awards of $500 each to local students who are graduating high school and attending college in the fall.

GSA’s Benjamin Banneker Chapter has given scholarships to local students for over five years. This year, the chapter has a new scholarship because our treasurer Renita Townsend-Nowlin, a recent GSA retiree, made a substantial donation to be given out over a five-year period. The scholarship is named in honor of her beloved aunt, Thelma Patsy Nartey Clinton, who passed away last year.

The chapter also provided Achievement Awards and gift cards to two students at Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts (RWPCS). BBC has adopted the school and provides different contributions to the school whether in the form of volunteerism or monetary support.

A few weeks ago, several chapter members volunteered to critique students defending their senior papers, a graduation requirement. Helen Compton-Harris, RWPCS outreach, planning and development director and valedictorian Davon Harris attended the ceremony.

One of the scholarship recipients was Kamilah M. Coleman, a daughter of former BBC President Kevin M. Coleman, a management program analyst, and his wife Durriyah Coleman.

The other recipient was Kyndal B Harrison, a daughter of procurement analyst Kimberly Harrison and her husband Dennis who also works at GSA.

BIG National Executive Vice President Shirley Jones, Esq., was the keynote speaker. She discussed the history of Blacks in Government. Jones is managing associate general counsel, a Senior Executive Service (SES) member, at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Jones believes strongly in BIG’s mission. She’s served in a variety of leadership positions including Region XI Council President (2012-2015), National Legal Review Committee Chair (2009-2012), and GAO-USACE BIG Chapter President (2005-2008), amongst several other national, regional, and chapter positions.

Jones considers herself both an employee advocate and a career development trainer. In her advocacy role, she has twice had the opportunity to testify before Congress on diversity in the government’s SES and the impact of pay for performance on employee morale, in 2007 and 2008 respectively. From 2009-2012, while serving as BIG’s National Legal Review Committee Chair, Jones worked with rebuilding BIG’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Institute. In 2009, she developed recommendations and wrote the first EEO advocacy paper sent to Congress from BIG since the mid 1990s.

Celebrating Black History Month

On Feb. 28, our chapter presented a robust program and art exhibit dedicated to Black migrations, acknowledging the forces affecting thousands to move and the long-lasting impact on African Americans, the nation and the world.

The Benjamin Banneker Chapter of Blacks in Government chose a theme that is being promoted this year by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which is the “premier Black Heritage learned society with a strong network of national and international branches and partners whose diverse and inclusive membership will continue the [Dr. Carter G.] Woodson legacy.” Woodson, an author and historian, was one of the founders of ASALH, which was established in 1915.

“Beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, African American migration patterns included relocation from southern farms to southern cities; from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West; from the Caribbean to US cities as well as to migrant labor farms; and the emigration of noted African Americans to Africa and to European cities, such as Paris and London, after the end of World War I and World War II,” according to ASALH.

“Such migrations resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intra-racial urban population amid a changing social milieu, such as the rise of the Garvey movement in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans; the emergence of both black industrial workers and black entrepreneurs; the growing number and variety of urban churches and new religions; new music forms like ragtime, blues, and jazz; white backlash as in the Red Summer of 1919; the blossoming of visual and literary arts, as in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Paris in the 1910s and 1920s.”

Stacy T. Holmes explains how Black Migrations impacted different industries, institutions globally, noting how many innovators through the years were raised in families that moved or were descendants of those families.

The program at GSA featured Stacy T. Holmes of the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment. an Emmy Award Winning, Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Editor and producer/director with over 35 years of experience. Holmes is also an on-air talent, voice-over artist, graphic designer and editor.  

The Rochester, N.Y.-native is known localy for also delivering a universal message of motivational inspiration, merging the traditional “just the facts ma’am” presentation with his distinctive “in-your-face” style. 

In addition, he was the owner and operator of Studio3South in the early 2000s, a video production company serving clients from commercial to nonprofit, government and faith-based organizations.  Many of the projects he worked on have won a variety of industry awards, climaxing in 2018 with a Regional Emmy Award for a weekly talk show produced in Washington, D.C. that he edited.

Benjamin Banneker Chapter President Monica Hedgspeth, left, and Benjamin Banneker Chapter Vice President Pia Scott, right, present GSA Administrator Emily Murphy a certificate recognizing her support of the Blacks In Government chapter.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy also offered remarks about African American history and her commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion.

She is a consistent supporter of the Benjamin Banneker chapter including participating in its annual agency forum during Blacks in Government‘s premier training and development program the National Training Institute. She noted that she’s looking forward to the next NTI in August in Dallas.

When I became GSA Administrator, one of the first groups that reached out to me was the Benjamin Banneker Chapter of BIG. That really meant a lot to me — and our relationship has grown from there. #BIGRXIBBC

The program also featured moving and inspiring musical selections and certificate presentations to GSA employees who contributed to the excellent planning and execution of the event on Feb. 28. Outside of the auditorium, guests also viewed a detailed art exhibition showcasing aspects of African American history and culture.