As a disaster preparedness and risk communication-focused meteorologist, the potential growth areas I see for AMS are mental health focus, cross-sector collaboration, and early career membership retention.
Between necessary shift work in operational forecasting, predicting weather disasters that directly impact people’s lives (including our own, sometimes), and the nature of meteorology as an imperfect science, this field can take a toll on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Open and honest conversations in webinars and at meetings have begun to reduce the stigma, but further elevation of the topic, potentially to the committee level, could allow for meaningful recommended changes and support within organizations and institutions in the WWCE Enterprise.
It is this enterprise that best serves the public when it combines the collective strengths of each sector to provide critical and life-saving information, especially as climate change continues to have an impact on many weather-related disasters. Having spent over a decade as a private sector meteorologist, but now working with public-sector emergency management clients as a consultant, I see the immense value in AMS continuing to advance community engagement on topics such as resilient infrastructure, vulnerable populations, and hazard preparedness.
Lastly, ensuring AMS is a truly welcoming and inclusive organization is critical in retaining early career members and creating the most vibrant society possible. In addition to understanding the many benefits, such as networking, mentorship, and learning opportunities, individuals need to see themselves reflected in the existing membership, as well as firm stances taken against discrimination and prejudice. If elected, I would work with Council to ensure the AMS Code of Conduct is upheld by all members, along with providing strong support to ongoing efforts to connect with underrepresented groups.
It's a privilege to be nominated for AMS Council and I welcome the prospective opportunity to collaboratively lead the society through continued growth and transformation.
Rebecca (Becky) DePodwin is a Strategy and Business Transformation Senior Consultant for Guidehouse, under their National Security Segment. She has over a decade of professional experience serving partners and clients, combining expertise in meteorology, emergency preparedness, business continuity, and risk communication. Becky holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Science degree in Emergency Management from Millersville University.
Becky is very active within the American Meteorological Society (AMS), currently serving as the Chair of the Board on Enterprise Strategic Topics and a member of the Inclusion, Equity, and Justice (IEJ) working group. Previous volunteer positions include Co-Chair of the Planning Committee for the Early Career Leadership Academy and the 2020 Chair of the Board for Early Career Professionals. She was also a founding member of the Central Pennsylvania Local Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association.
Becky is an advocate for the discussion of the emotional well-being of meteorologists, emergency managers, and first responders and has discussed this topic in published articles, personal blog posts, podcasts, and conference sessions. This work earned her the Special Appreciation Award from the National Weather Association at their 2019 annual meeting. Becky was also part of the 4-person team that received the 2018 American Meteorological Society Award for Exceptional Specific Prediction.
A Colorado native now living in Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats, Becky enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling as much as possible, playing word games, and reading historical fiction books.