By Rob McIlvaine, FMWRC Public AffairsJanuary 13, 2010
ARLINGTON, Va. - As workgroup sessions began here for the second day of the Army Family Action Plan conference, nearly a dozen private and military affiliated organizations represented at booths just outside the doors, prepared to do their part in improving the quality of life for active-duty Soldiers, National Guard members, Reservists and retirees.
"I\'ve been coming to AFAP conferences, as the Association of the U.S. Army representative, since 1999," said Sylvia Kidd, AUSA's director of Family Programs. "In fact, AUSA was the first sponsor at the very first AFAP conference; we've been a sponsor every year."
Since 1950, the AUSA has worked to advance the interests of Soldiers by providing numerous professional development opportunities at various events.
Returning for their second year as a sponsor was AchieveGlobal, based in Tampa, Fla.
Robyn Baxter, project specialist, and Maryann Gulland, strategic account manager, oversee the organization's team for Army support training and consulting services.
"We operate in 70 countries with the Army and all other branches of the Department of Defense, as well as the federal government," Gulland said.
"We're specialists in training, consulting and management for the Army transformation. We also specialize in leadership development, teamwork, customer service and sales performance," Baxter added.
"Our programs help recruit Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines for military and civilian organizations, as well," Gulland said.
Pamela McBride, AFAP program manager at Ft. McPherson, Ga., was interested in taking back information from AchieveGlobal and other partners to her own garrison, which is home of U.S. Forces Command. "Our human resources director would be very interested in seeing this," she said after viewing information on an upcoming webinar on government and DoD leadership research.
The Army Spouse Employment Partnership, which facilitates the employment of Army spouses to the mutual benefit of the Army and corporate America, also was on hand, with Dr. Lillie Cannon, ASEP program manager at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, ensuring information was available.
As of October 2008, 57,600 spouses of Soldiers have been hired for positions at one of the 39 Fortune 500 corporations that have joined forces with the Army Spouse Employment Partnership.
At the Army OneSource table, outreach manager Alessandra Harris, gave Katherine Benson, volunteer-at-large with the North Dakota National Guard, updates on online services. "I'm a delegate here and I'm always looking for ways to help support the National Guardsman and his or her Family - who often are many miles away from a garrison - with information that's readily available online," Benson said.
Carol Janer - who has been on the AFAP conference staff for 10 years, and works with Mobilization and Deployment and Family Readiness Group leaders at Ft. Belvoir, Va. - visited the Defense Commissary Agency exhibit.
"One of the reasons I volunteer here every year is the opportunity to visit these services, to get ideas on what resources I can bring back to our FRGs," Janer said.
"We have coupons, giveaways and information on our programs, such as 'Be Healthy, Be Active, Your Way.' We also have on-site sales where we become a mobile commissary and bring food to remote areas," said Dawn Pittman-Macin, program specialist from Ft. Lee, Va. The AFAP conference allows Pittman-Macin the chance inform Guardsmen and Reservists of the mobile commissary program.
Brian Casserly, the Army Family Team Building AFAP program manager, was also present to ensure the Army Reserve was represented. "We want to ensure we're part of the process and to remind everyone that we're having our Guard and Reserve conference in the spring," Casserly said.
Also participating at the conference were representatives from I. A.M. Strong; Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers; U.S. Army Traumatic Servicemember's Group Life Insurance; Army Retirement Services; National Military Family Association; Housing Services Office; American Red Cross and their Military Hospital Outreach Program; Coping with Deployments; Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Program; Defense Centers of Excellence; AMVETS programs; and U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program.