Nearly 300 women gathered in San Antonio from April 13-16 for CMIT's annual Women in Criminal Justice Conference. The three-day program, which has grown from 88 participants in 2007, attracted practitioners from agencies and organizations in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. Probation and parole agencies, institutional corrections, law enforcement, and judges' and district attorneys' offices were represented at the gathering.
Under the guidance of Natalie Payne, Project Coordinator at CMIT, the conference addressed a wide range of professional and personal topics to assist women in facing the daily challenges of pursuing professional goals and raising a family. The keynote speaker, Luella Burke, chair of the board of directors of the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS), led off the program with words of inspiration and encouragement that the highest heights can be attained by women working together for personal and professional accomplishment. Participants had a unique opportunity to learn of the career path traveled by women in top leadership, including Harris County Judge Beverly Malazzo, Carey Welebob, Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Assistance Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and Raven Kazen, former Director of the Victim Services Division of TDCJ.
Jo Ann Jones-Burbridge, Associate Director of the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center, and Charlotte Stallings, former National Spokesperson for American Express, offered invaluable advice on the importance of professional image, including making a positive impression and improving public speaking ability. Other conference sessions included personal financial management, managing difficult people, and a demonstration of defensive tactics for self protection.