FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. – When it comes to Exchange managers, there are those who have ‘skin in the game,’ whose thinking, strategies and decisions are informed by personal experience.
That expression could easily refer to Lajima Marshall-Pierce, the recently-arrived Exchange general manager. A native of Panama, she is the mother of a Soldier and has been a military spouse for decades. Her status as a longtime Exchange patron is a powerful factor in how she manages services.
“For example, when I see the AIT Soldiers here, I see my son. Every one of them is my son,” said Marshall-Pierce. “When I think of permanent party personnel, I think of my husband and my family. We must take care of the families that take care of us. We are community, family serving family.”
Her passion aside, Marshall-Pierce said she is looking forward to being a part of the community.
“I’m just really excited to be here, being a part of the team, and working with the command to support the mission,” she said.
When Marshall-Pierce says “team,” she places emphasis on family, saying the Exchange has been a part of her family since the beginning.
“When my husband was in the Army, and every time we moved, the exchange was there,” she said. “It was my preferred employment, and it became part of my family.”
Marshall-Pierce’s Exchange journey began as an associate, but she was always afforded the tools and resources for personal growth and development, she said.
“I was presented with paths to success as a military spouse,” she said, no matter where her family was stationed.
As a college trainee with the Exchange and its nurturing environment, Marshall-Pierce was moved to apply for upper management positions. Since then, she has served as assistant store manager, store manager, and now, general manager.
Today, she oversees the Exchange Operations and Services at Fort Gregg-Adams; Fort Barfoot (formerly Fort Pickett); and the Judge Advocate General School at Charlottesville.
Marshall-Pierce said her story is indicative of the possibilities available in a retailer focusing on the needs of military personnel and their families. The Exchange is particularly built for military spouses seeking employment, she said.
“It offers life-balance and flexibility which may be difficult for spouses searching for employment anywhere else,” she said. “You can come in and say, ‘OK, I can’t work these days, but I’m available on specific days when my kids are in school or in summer camp ….”
Flexibility of schedule is just one of several benefits for military spouses. Others include employment preference, annual leave, job transferability and competitive pay benefits, she said, adding there also is the opportunity to give back, said Marshall-Pierce.
Spouses thinking about employment at Exchange are reminded no high school diploma or experience is necessary and training is free. Part-time and fulltime positions are available.
Starting hourly rates range from $15-$16.50.
For more information, call the human resources office at 804-861-3037, ext. 103 or visit https://publicaffairs-sme.com/applymyexchange/