WIESBADEN, Germany - MWR managers and staff from around Europe came to Wiesbaden May 9-12 to hone their financial management skills.
“One of the top training needs in MWR is to develop business acumen,” said Jason Bell, Chief of Core Training for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s MG Robert M. Joyce School for Family and MWR.
Bell and Susie Desmond, a NAF Service Culture Training Instructor for the school, led the four-day NAF Financial Management Class, held at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center.
“We have a basic management course that sets the foundation,” said Bell, explaining that the interactive NAF Financial Management Class builds on that introduction allowing students to work together to share challenges and to get instant feedback.
“The secret sauce of this is that they bring in their numbers (financial statements),” Bell said. “Most people prefer the side-by-side assistance to analyze their financials. This is a great opportunity for the team to take a knee – to work together … learning from people from other MWR programs and from installations. It’s a team-building event too.”
It’s part of the U.S. Army’s vision in developing employees throughout their careers, he said, adding, “Investing in our people is a top imperative in support of the Army’s People Strategy.”
“There are so many opportunities to grow within Family and MWR,” said Desmond, describing her lengthy career in various positions with the organization.
“You have to constantly be learning and changing,” she said, explaining that the course drills down to the daily financial operations of the individual participants “with the intent of improving their bottom line.”
When programs run successful financial operations, MWR is able to “re-invest in the programs to provide great service.” This in turn benefits the service members and families Family and MWR serves, Desmond said.
“This was probably the most impactful training that I had in my career,” said Wiesbaden Family and MWR Director Gregory Holzinger as he welcomed students on the first day of training. “You’re going to talk about financial statements and the value that they bring.”
“I look to the managers and the other folks who are here to learn and to look at having the power to change. Share with each other and build on that,” said Holzinger. “The training that you get here can help both in your professional and your personal lives.”
While some class members came to the course with more experience than others, the class provides an opportunity “to cross talk and to learn from each other,” Desmond said.
Bell explained that because of COVID-19 mitigation measures, opportunities for hands-on training were limited to virtual and e-learning.
Mobile training teams from the MG Robert M. Joyce School for Family and MWR are now once again fanning out around the IMCOM footprint to bring training opportunities directly to service providers.
“We have about 24,000 MWR employees around the globe,” Bell said, adding that 75 percent of the instruction offered is e-learning, “and we continue to offer virtual training on Microsoft Teams. We’ve also gotten back to residential classes at IMCOM Headquarters (in San Antonio, Texas). We also work with IMCOM G9 Chiefs to address their priorities for the garrisons that our mobile training teams visit.”
“Residential training is picking up,” said Desmond, adding that the instructors were heading to Stuttgart from Wiesbaden to offer the four-day class there as well.
The instructors said they realize that the pandemic, budget reductions and other issues have presented challenges for managers.
“We appreciate the challenges everyone is undergoing,” said Bell. “The labor challenges we’ve had are very real, and we’re trying to get back to a new reality. Our managers are working very hard –putting out one fire after another fire – but you need to block time to invest in yourself. It makes your programs better and it makes you a better leader.”
“At the end of the day we’re all doing amazing things to help and support Soldiers and their families,” said Bell.