Arkansas Air Guard officer to receive national award
Arkansas Air National Guard Maj. Phylinthia Givens will receive the prestigious Technology All-Star Award Nov. 2, during the 12th Annual National Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Conference in Atlanta. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Oldham
by Maj. Magnolia L. Winkler
189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
8/9/2007 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Known as a front-line community leader who will "make a way out of no way" to serve others, Arkansas Air National Gurad Maj. Phylinthia Givens was recently selected in July as winner of the National Women of Color's Technology All-Star Award.
Major Givens will receive the prestigious Technology All-Star Award Nov. 2, during the 12th Annual National Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Conference in Atlanta. She will be featured in the conference edition of Women of Color magazine, published in October.
Technology All-Stars are accomplished women of color at an advanced stage in their careers who have demonstrated extraordinary excellence in their work, strong commitment to their communities, and leadership as worthy role models for young and upcoming leaders.
Major Givens is a 21-year veteran of the Air National Guard, and the second African-American female to achieve an officer's rank in the Arkansas ANG. She currently serves as the Chief, Military Equal Opportunity office in the 189th Airlift Wing where she manages budget, manpower and resource issues for the MEO program. Her department is the central point for receiving all formal and informal complaints of unlawful acts of discrimination and sexual harassment.
In the civilian world, Major Givens is employed with Electronic Data Systems in Little Rock where she has worked for nine years as a financial analyst. She manages the financial status of the company's $32.8 million Arkansas Title XIX Medicaid account. In addition, she serves as EDS' team lead and coordinator of Title XIX account for community projects.
Major Givens' nomination packet competed against highly distinguished minority women from around the world. Nominees for the Technology All-Star Award generally include vice presidents, directors, group heads, and general managers of world renowned companies such as Apple, Inc., Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Texas Instruments, Inc., The Boeing Company, Turner Broadcast Systems, and Lockheed Martin Corporation, just to name a few.
Major Givens' award nomination was submitted by Evonne Amerine, her co-worker and friend, who personally witnesses hte majors' unwavering drive to meet the needs of families in the community, on the job and at church.
Whether it be serving as a full-time mother to her son, Blake, serving an office on the parent teachers association, protecting her country in the Air Guard, volunteering at her church, mentoring teenage mothers, or personally helping an individual in need, Major Givens always finds the heart and time to give to others.
"When an employee on our account is in need, whether it be that their home burned or there was a death in the family...it is Phylinthia who takes the lead to find out what the need is and communicates it to the team and [she] follows through to make sure that the employee and their family are taken care of," said her co-worker. "The lives that she has touched with her compassion and commitment cannot be measured as they are too numerous."
Major Givens raised close to $50,000 in donations to support EDS' community service projects in the last five years. She is an active leader and hard-working member of the company's community council division where she coordinates various charity projects such as Partners in Education for Woodruff Elementary School, the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes and Positive Attitudes Reaches Kids.
Family members and close friends who know Major Givens best all agree that the one distinctive characteristic that sets her apart from other community service leaders is that she not only communicates the needs of the community or organize special community projects and events, but she personally takes on the task of doing all of the "foot work."
"She makes the trips to the shopping centers, malls and grocery stores and battles the long lines to purchase food, school uniforms, toys and other necessities for these families," Ms. Amerine said.
In commenting on her national recognition and outstanding achievements, Major Givens said that she is deeply honored and proud to receive the Technology All-Stars Award at this stage in her life. She went on to explain that over the course of her life, she has grown to know and understand that one always wins when serving others.
"Community service is a big part of my life," she said. Just about everything I care about includes community service, my son, my church, my work at EDS, and my work in the Air National Guard. I enjoy giving back, and I'm teaching my son that everything is not about how much money you will receive for doing it, but how it makes you feel once the deed is done, Serving others is definitely a win-win in life."
John Herzog, EDS Client Delivery Executive of the Arkansas Title XIX Account and Major Givens' manager, said, "Phylinthia leads our account's community service efforts each year and ensures we select entities that benefit the community and fit the mission of our business. EDS is grateful for her past and continuing contributions of her limited time and abundant talent to Woodruff Elementary, Komen Foundation, Dress for Success, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and Leadership Greater Little Rock."
Her strong community service efforts at EDS resulted in the company winning the 2005 Partners in Education Corporate Service Award for Little Rock Public School District.
Last year, Major Givens' contributions to community service also earned her EDS' 2006 Unity in Action Shining Star Award. The award is a part of EDS' recognition program that serves as a tool for employers to recognize outstanding achievements and accomplishments of minority employees.
While working as a full-time accounting technician and a financial manager with the 189 AW for 18 years, her leadership, dedication, and commitment to serving others in the Air Guard and in the local community continues to stand out.
As a member of the Air Guard, she has been instrumental in establishing and implementing several internal associations, community service projects and mentoring programs within the 189 AW. She served as president of the 189 AW Minority Affairs Sub-Committee where senior military members in the wing gather to mentor new minority members in the 189 AW. The association donates its time and money to community service projects and volunteers for programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, Minuteman Youth Camp Mentoring Program, United Way Paint Your Heart Out, Channel 7 - KATV Adopt a Family for Christmas Angels program.
In 1997, the major was commissioned as an officer in the wing. During her first four years of officer-ship, she helped to spearhead a network of officers below the rank of major into a mentorship program. In 2003, the 189 AW Company Grade Officers Committee was officially recognized as a professional association.
Today, members of the CGOC meet every Saturday during monthly unit training assemblies where they look forward to the camaraderie and the professional development they receive during the workshops. Once a quarter, CGOC participates in the Adopt-A Highway program where members meet to clean a one-mile stretch of land outside the back gate of Little Rock Air Force Base. Givens participated as an active member of CGOC until reaching the rank of major in 2005.
Col. Dwight Balch, 189 AW commander, said that it is Major Givens' contagious enthusiasm and volunteer spirit that makes the Arkansas Air National Guard excel in all it is known to be.
"Whenever help is needed, Phylinthia can be counted on to serve," he said. "From setup and cooking at the annual retiree breakfast to serving on family day organization committees and mentoring the youth of our communities as a counselor at summer youth camps, Major Givens is there to support others and lend a hand."
Major Givens is the second highest ranking African American in the Arkansas Air National Guard. She is an advisory board member of the Arkansas Baptist College School of Business and Applied Science Technology where she works with other business leaders in Little Rock.
She holds true to her favorite motto: "I have much more time than I have money; therefore, I can and will give you more of my time."