According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 28 percent of the nation’s correctional officers are women and nearly a third of first-line supervisors of correctional officers are women. What is needed to help more women promote into executive leadership positions? In the panel, “Transition from Operational Expert to Executive Leadership,” you will hear from Kathleen Allison, Terri McDonald and Shirley Moore Smeal, three national leaders in adult, juvenile and community corrections. They will talk about how to transcend from a line-level employee to executive leadership. Their unique approaches to their jobs will help you hone your leadership style as you work your way into the executive ranks.
Kathleen Allison is the director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations’ Division of Adult Institutions, responsible for facility support and operation of California’s 35 prisons and contract facilities which house nearly 130,000 inmates. Her career with CDCR spanning 31 years includes serving as a deputy director, associate director, warden, chief deputy warden, associate warden, community resources manager, senior medical technical assistant and technical assistant. Allison uses the knowledge gained from this broad spectrum of experience to apply a hands-on, focused, and strategic approach to executive management and overcome operational challenges in the correctional arena. She has an associate of science degree in registered nursing from Pacific Union College.
Terri McDonald, with more than 36 years of public service in mental health, state and local corrections, is the chief of the Los Angeles County Probation Department, with more than 7,000 employees supervising more than 38,000 adult and 7,000 juvenile probationers on any given day. She began her professional career in 1981, serving as a mental health worker and supervisor in a variety of community-based mental health and drug treatment facilities. In 1988, she began an extensive and broad-based career in law enforcement, beginning with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, serving in various capacities, and ultimately, as the Undersecretary of Operations. In this capacity, she was responsible for providing executive direction and operational oversight of California’s corrections system, including prison, parole and juvenile justice. McDonald has also provided executive oversight of the County of Los Angeles jail system. Each of these systems is the largest of its kind in the nation, and she led them during fundamentally transformative periods.
McDonald possesses a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leadership in Law Enforcement from the University of San Francisco. She is an active member of several criminal justice associations and has served on a variety of non-profit boards.
Shirley Moore Smeal is the executive deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, responsible for the oversight of 16,000 employees and 50,000 offenders. Moore Smeal began her career in corrections in 1987 as a clerk typist. She promoted over the years, moving progressively up the correctional ranks serving in increasingly responsible positions including purchasing agent, unit manager, deputy superintendent, superintendent, regional deputy secretary and acting secretary.
Moore Smeal is a member of the American Correctional Association (ACA), the ACA Corrections Healthy Culture Committee, the Advisory Council to the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative with the Vera Institute of Justice, the Pennsylvania Prison Warden’s Association (PPWA), and is president of the Association of Women Executives in Corrections. She has served as chairperson for many leadership conferences, participated in several corrections-related webinars and workshops. She is the recipient of the National Organization of Black Women in Law Enforcement’s 2012 Trailblazer Award for becoming the highest ranking female in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Moore Smeal is also the receiver of the Lifetime Achievement Award from PPWA and Distinguished Alumnae Award. Moore Smeal holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.