Herstory Panel on Women In Workplace

The Tuesday event will include Tampa’s police chief, the city’s first woman plumber and business leaders.


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 7, 2011) – The Committee on Issues of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (CISOGI) at the University of South Florida is co-sponsoring a special International Women’s Day Centennial event presented by Out & Equal Tampa Bay, Mar. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center, Room 2709, on the Tampa campus.


The program will celebrate this important milestone with a “Herstory Panel Discussion” on women in the workplace, and recognize key women who have contributed to the Tampa Bay community.


USF is committed to creating a positive climate for LGBT faculty, staff, and students and demonstrates this through the ongoing work of CISOGI, one of USF’s presidential advisory committees.  Out & Equal is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) workplace organization. 


“We are very pleased to be able to help co-sponsor this event, and support USF’s mission to celebrate diversity both on campus and in the greater community,” said CISOGI Chair Mark Hafen. 


Julie Gedro will serve as moderator and will be joined by scheduled panelists including: Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor; Randy Kammer, vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF); Tampa’s first woman plumber, Pat “the Plumber” Ditto; and Cheryl Madelle, one of the co-founders and the current vice president of Raymond James Financial Information Technology’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and allies(LGBTA) employee resource group, the Rainbow Network.


The panelists will remark on the changes they have seen in the workplace, as well as changes they see in the future for women and take part in a question and answer session that follows.


Gedro, who holds an M.B.A., P.H.R., and Ed.D, is conducting a oneyear study of the experiences and insights of lesbians in senior management positions in corporate America. Her work is being funded by the prestigious Arthur Imperatore Community Forum Fellowship, awarded by Empire State College Foundation annually to a member of the faculty for communityrelated research. Following analysis of the data, she will present the results of her research in a variety of venues across the country.


Castor has built a reputation for working side-by-side with citizens, neighborhood leaders, activists and business owners to solve crime problems and improve the community during her 26 years as a Tampa Police officer. She has served in nearly every capacity within the Tampa Police Department from patrol, narcotics, family violence and sex crimes to criminal intelligence, the field training program and administration.


Kammer represents BCBSF before state and federal regulatory agencies and also leads the public policy group to oversee the creation of critical policy positions and policy advocacy. She is active in many diversity activities at BCBSF and in 2009, was honored by Out and Equal, with the Champion Award, the only award given to a nonLGBT individual.


Ditto moved to Florida in 1976, changing careers from drummer to plumber, hence her nickname, "Pat the Plumber." She was the only woman in the Apprenticeship School and the only woman and licensed plumber at the highsecurity Department of Energy Pinellas Plant for 15 years.  Her plumbing career ended after shattering her left arm and she has been a member of Womyn's Words since its beginning in 1983 and is currently a volunteer editor. Womyn's Words is published by the Women's Energy Bank, Inc., and is the oldest gay publication in Florida, containing the written and pictorial history of the lesbian and gay community.


Madelle has been instrumental in implementing Raymond James’ domestic partner benefits, as well as spearheading updates to employment policies to include gender identity and sexual orientation. She works closely with human resources and the diversity office to assist Raymond James with ongoing diversity efforts. She is also a founding member and cochair of Out & Equal Tampa Bay.