The MilSpouseFest team launched the first virtual events of the year under the Unite and Ignite theme this past week. Presented by USAA, MSF Director Julie Shepard and team hosted military spouses from across the globe to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the military space.
Keynote speaker Jennifer Dane, CEO of Modern Military Association of America, kicked off the program with her own story of her life and the adversity she faced while serving as an Air Force service member from the LGBTQ community. “Diversity, equity and inclusion is something near and dear to me,” said Jennifer. “Sometimes people get really nervous about those words. We need to just talk about it.”
Other speakers throughout the program included JJ Montanaro with USAA, Maureen Haney with Tutor.com, and Cindy Rivera with Blue Star Families who discussed the recent results of their Racial Equity and Inclusion Survey.
Attendees also had the opportunity to join in on rountable discussions on topics that included racial inequality, job discrimination, LGBTQ inclusion and disability inclusion.
One attendee told the MSF Team after the roundtable discussion: “I liked learning about how much diversity there is in the Army family community. I was surprised by how many people are feeling negatively affected by others they are in contact with. It makes me want to learn more and make sure to be more aware of how I am interacting with others.”
“These are important conversations to have and we were very happy with the feedback we received,” said Julie Shepard. “Covering these topics helps show that MilSpouseFest is the modern network for military spouses.”
Towards the end of the agenda was the Building Connections discussion with Chuck Bunch of USAA and Julie Shepard, who answered questions from attendees about networking.
The next Unite and Ignite events will be in person in April in the National Capital Region, where we will have our first ever hybrid day – for all to access. You can RSVP for the next MSF Cast – Military Tax Info, on March 10th here and you can save the date for the first in-person events in the National Capital Region on April 26th and 28th.