Wonder Women

These savvy sisters are facing formidable challenges in male-dominated professions--and winning.

crime. As a result, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries all declined in the first 10 months of 199(1 compared with the same period in 1995.
Joining the Atlanta police force in 1973, Harvard was appointed deputy chief eight years later, a position she held for 12 years. She served as acting chief for six months before Campbell appointed her to head the department in 1994. The mayor says she was selected over two other candidates because she was qualified and worked her way up through the department, commanding the career development, criminal investigation and the administrative services divisions at various times. But even that hasn’t quelled some doubters.

“I’m sure there are people who would like to see me fail,” Harvard says. “If it doesn’t work, I would be singled out as proof that women are not cut out to be chief. And I know that’s absolutely not true.”
Still, on-the-job demands make it increasingly difficult to separate work from home, says Harvard, who’s married with two daughters. So the Morris Brown College grad tries to incorporate her family as much as possible into whatever she does. It’s a rare afternoon when she gets to do something that’s not police-related.

An upcoming mayoral election could affect her contract renewal, but Harvard shrugs off any thought of changing her professional plans. “I don’t know what I’ll do next. But I don’t worry about not being chief forever. With this type of schedule, I wouldn’t want to be,” Harvard says with a laugh. “Right now, I just want to focus on being the best chief Atlanta has ever had.”

Sitting behind a cluttered desk in her Washington, D.C., office, Gloria Jeff has a clear view of the busy courtyard of the Federal Department of Transportation Building. Jeff, now serving her fourth year as associate administrator for policy with the Federal Highway Administration, decides not only what roads and highways are built across the nation but also advises the transportation departments of countries around the world, like South Africa and Russia. She’s the first African American woman appointed by a President to such a high-level position within the Department of Transportation.

“I wanted a profession where I really had the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis and Transportation does that. People can’t move from point A to point B without it,” Jeff says. “It’s the lifeblood that keeps a city alive.”

Working with other Transportation officials, Jeff influences a $20-$25 billion annual operating budget. Her office of approximately 100 staff members includes economists, engineers, information managers and statisticians. They analyze transportation trends and develop policy based on their findings. Studying the employment, medical and recreational needs of a community, they then use this information to strategically place roads and highways for easier access.

“Roads and highways are directly linked to the financial well-being of any community,” says Margaret C. Simms, director of research programs for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and a BE Board of

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