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Kandis Boyd
Katie Valentine

Kandis Boyd

Dr. Kandis Boyd is the deputy director of NOAA's Office of Weather and Air Quality. In her role, she manages a team of 20 federal and civilian employees that supports research to advance timely and accurate weather information.

What drew you to your current career or field?

My love of weather led me to an engaging 24+ year career in NOAA.

What projects or research are you working on now?

My area of expertise is organizational excellence. In the past year, our office has doubled the number of team members, and I onboarded and oriented 13 new team members. In OWAQ, I created the first ever strategic plan, the inaugural annual plan, and the office’s first off-site retreat.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I give my staff the ability to do their very best by giving them the tools needed to succeed. I wear many hats, but by far the most enjoyable are those activities that enable collaboration, connections, and partnerships throughout the enterprise.

Who do you look to as a role model? Why?

There are many role models I look to every day.

Rear Admiral (retired) Evelyn J. Fields—She was the first woman and the first African American to serve as Director of NOAA Corps (OMAO) and the first to hold the rank of Rear Admiral. Other notable role models include Samuel WilliamsonMary Glackin, and Saundra A. Cauffman.

What does success mean to you?

Success means to persevere, never quit, and strive for excellence in all that you do. Here’s a quote that really resonates with me:

"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."

-  Winston S. Churchill

What was the best advice ever given to you that helped you become successful?

The squeaky wheel gets the oil—ask for what you want. Don’t wait for others to give it to you.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in your career, or in general, and how have you overcome them?

In my career there are so many times that I find myself as the youngest, only female, and only African-American in the room. I’ve found that I’ve had to be three times as good to receive half the credit. I’ve learned to acknowledge the elephant in the room and let my personality, expertise, and ability to collaborate help build bridges, forge relationships, and accomplish goals.

What’s been the proudest moment in your career so far?

My career is full of proudest moments. It’s hard to choose just one. Most people in NOAA know me as the person who created the Turn Around, Don’t Drown Campaign (TADD), which is a flood and flash flood safety campaign aimed at saving lives and property. The TADD slogan is used today in Call to Action Statements and by on-air news broadcasters to warn and inform against venturing into flooded roadways.

I think my proudest moment is when I served as the on-site meteorologist for 11 days before, during and after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. I provided around-the-clock briefings to the Governor of Louisiana, her staff, and senior Federal Agency Officials. I received a Bronze Medal for my efforts.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future? What do you hope the future for women in science looks like?

I hope to take my experience working in three line offices and at NOAA Headquarters to build more cross-line office collaborative initiatives. Building global models that incorporate land, sea, and air interactions is a scientific area that I will enjoy contributing to in the future.

Looking back, what would you tell yourself when you were 12 years old? Or what advice would you give to a woman just starting out in her career?

To my 12 year old self — stop stressing, you will be awesome and accomplish all that your heart desires! To early career women—ask questions, lean in, think outside the box, and chart your own future. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

 

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