Charma Anderson

Washington Emergency Management Division

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

Q: What do you feel are the greatest benefits to working for the Washington Military Department?
A: Contributing to the emergency management enterprise! And, of course, working with so many talented, dedicated team members.

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. I have always been given the opportunity to increase my skills as an emergency manager by serving as a liaison to counties. Currently, I am serving as the Washington State Emergency Management Association’s Treasurer. My bosses have always been supportive of me growing my skill set.

Q: Which value do you need to embrace most in your job, and why?
A: Collaboration! The more the team works together, the better the decisions and the faster we improve.

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?

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 county deputies and serve in the Army National Guard, one as a medic and the other as a field artillery soldier. My oldest daughter is in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Washington. My youngest daughter just started college at UC-Santa Barbara on an Army ROTC scholarship. I find their differing perspectives influential.

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 work out, walk my dog, and hang out with my big network of awesome friends!

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