I accept the gavel with reverence, for it carries the weight of our founding members, Chief Ellen Hanson, Chief Susan Riseling, Chief Joy Rikala, Chief Alana Ennis, Chief Anne Glavin, and Director Barbara O’Brien. In 1995, these formidable women founded NAWLEE on the premise to address a need to unite women in leadership positions in law enforcement and to inspire women working in the field. NAWLEE is the first to address the need of women leaders in law enforcement across the nation and I thank our founders for that.

Thank you for the privilege of being your President for 2013-2014. It truly is a great honor to follow in the footsteps of our past presidents who, along with our members, have made NAWLEE a respected, professional, resourceful, and recognized organization in law enforcement. The ability to build on what we have accomplished is certainly exciting, but we cannot rest on the success of the past. Our work is not done.

I believe NAWLEE’s most important strength is its membership, and for our organization to grow, we must acknowledge the needs and requirements of our members.

To accomplish this, a survey will be sent to all members to receive input as to how the Board of Directors can better serve you, how can we improve and how we can move forward. We want to ensure the survey reflects the full range of needs of our membership.

During my tenure as President, we will also focus on the organization’s sustainability. To assist with this initiative, I have enlisted the assistance of three knowledgeable and highly experienced police chief members to serve on an ad-hoc committee on finance.

Working towards establishing a foundation with a 501(c) 3 status is a major initiative to solicit, receive, administer, and expend funds for training and other law enforcement purposes. I believe this status will afford us great opportunities in the future.

Strengthening our existing partnerships and forming new relationships with key private sector partners will be valuable in cementing long standing support for NAWLEE.

We will continue to bring to the membership annual conferences with interesting speakers at great venues in order to make your training, mentoring, and networking opportunities meaningful and beneficial.

Lastly, NAWLEE must continue to be that credible resource of information for those seeking advice from successful women in executive leadership positions, thereby increasing NAWLEE’s visibility and voice on various platforms.

I am excited about the upcoming year and look forward to working with each of you.

Rhonda L. Lawson, President