Two Booz Allen Women Join Effort to Stop Sexual Harassment in Newsrooms

Aug 2, 2018 4:35 PM ET

At Booz Allen, leaders express the importance of values and how diversity—of background, experience, and thought—is essential to maintaining standards of excellence that guides the firm daily. A part of that commitment to diversity means focusing on recruiting the best and brightest women in their fields. Booz Allen provides comprehensive career support, from mentoring opportunities to professional development, to help women continue to build their skillsets.

The firm also empowers its people to change the world by pursuing passions and interests that improve communities and society. To that end, two Booz Allen women have recently taken on leadership roles in a new initiative—Press Forward. Founded by current, former and aspiring female journalists, Press Forward’s mission is to elevate women in the workplace and develop solutions that will change the media industry culture so that newsrooms are safe, inclusive and fair for all journalists.

Booz Allen Senior Vice President Dee Dee Helfenstein serves on the advisory board, and Lead Associate Carolyn McGourty, who began her career as a journalist at ABC News, is chair and one of the movement’s 12 founders. The initiative arose out of the #MeToo movement and launched at the National Press Club on March 13. 

Dee Dee says of her involvement in Press Forward, “At Booz Allen, we believe that values matter. We are committed to discovering how to get the best from our employees, and the most basic part of that commitment is to ensure our people’s safety at work by preventing abuses of power.”

Carolyn says, “I began my career as a journalist, and I believe that healthy newsrooms mean a healthy democracy. As a consultant at Booz Allen, I’ve developed a passion for service and solving problems, and having experienced the behavior directly, felt a duty to apply the values and lessons learned at the firm to pivot this important movement and moment in time towards solutions.”

Press Forward is focused on innovating sexual harassment training, developing an industry blueprint study for healthy workplace cultures in newsrooms, raising funds for a legal defense fund as the official TIME’S UP arm for the press, and hosting panels across the country to foster critical dialogue on solutions to ensure this watershed moment leads to lasting change in our workplaces. Network newsrooms and newspapers are engaged with the initiative, from the national to local level.

At the National Press Club launch, on a panel with Ted Koppel and moderated by PBS News Hour anchor Judy Woodruff, Carolyn emphasized the need to not only have values but to live by them. If it is the news media’s job to hold the powerful to account, they must not abuse their own behind the scenes. 

“Values matter most in times of crisis, which is when we turn to journalists every day,” she said.

On a panel on April 25 at the Newseum, Carolyn participated in a conversation around the misuse of leadership power along with Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Karen Pensiero, CNN Executive Vice President Andrew Morse and NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. During the panel, Carolyn declared that equality and fairness can be fostered by treating the most vulnerable – the ones beginning their careers or in roles without much power – with the same dignity and respect as you would give to the star in the room.

To learn more about Press Forward, click here.

To learn how Booz Allen supports and empowers women, click here.