Charma Anderson

Preparedness Grants Supervisor
Washington Emergency Management Division

Q: How long have you worked here?
A: Just over nine short years!

Q: What do you feel are the greatest benefits to working for the Washington Military Department?
A: Helping with emergency preparedness efforts across the state. I work with all county emergency managers!

Q: What's the most interesting/significant project you've worked on while with WMD?
A: I spearheaded the effort to revise the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) funding methodology. The two-year effort resulted in a more equitable distribution of funding. The previous code had not been updated since 1983!

Q: In what ways have you had an opportunity to grow new skills?
A: I have had the opportunity to work closely with high-ranking officials in the Seattle Urban Area to collaboratively tackle tough project funding decisions. In particular, the skills I have further developed are strategic planning, communication and maintaining long-term collaborative relationships.

Q: Which value do you need to embrace most in your job, and why?
A: Transparency! I assist with managing nearly $60 million in federal emergency preparedness funding. Fostering a climate of transparency with internal and external stakeholders maintains trust.

Q: How is working for WMD different from previous work you've done in your field?
A: Previously I served in the Army and assisted with national and international endeavors. Working with WMD affords me the opportunity to work more closely with my immediate community.

Q: Do you ever think about the impact our work has on Washington residents? How does that make you feel?
A: Every day! My family and my friends are so proud of the work I do! I feel so honored to be working for a state agency that makes a difference every day. When asked what I do for work, I often say I help the state’s silent sentries. Most are unaware the field of emergency management exists and that there’s an entire network of professionals working behind the scenes in partnership with not only first responders, but also health, ecology, transportation and many, many other public servant officials. I explain it’s a committed profession that plans, trains, exercises, responds, and recovers when scary stuff happens to our people and environment.

Q: Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.  
A: Much to my surprise and delight, my adult children have evolved into key mentors for me. They learned from me and now I learn from them. My two sons are not only attending college, they are both proud members of the Washington Army National Guard. One serves in field artillery, the other is a medic. My oldest daughter is in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Washington. Their differing perspectives influence my approach in work and life.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
A: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra. I have adapted it a bit--“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” I think a critical component of success and leadership is having clear vision and a well-planned pathway.

Q: How do you recharge from a busy or stressful day?
A: I run, okay…I jog. I also have a great network of amazing friends who provide a trampoline equipped with a huge safety net to manage success and failure.

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