Feb. 13, 2019 —
I started my government career the summer after my freshman year at Virginia Tech as an intern in the Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Materials Business Office in DLA Acquisition. My major at the time was psychology, and my dream was to be an elementary-school counselor.
What I did not intend was falling in love with the mission and culture of DLA. So when I graduated, I decided to change my career path and began working full-time as an analyst for DLA Strategic Materials. I worked in various positions over the next 11 years, including most recently as a management and program analyst in the Materials Management Directorate.
Around the beginning of 2017, I spent some time reflecting on my career path. I was happy where I was but decided I needed to broaden my experience and resume. This led me to apply for the DLA Enterprise Rotation Program, which allows employees to increase their technical knowledge and skills through on-the-job learning.
The position I was most interested in – and the only one I applied to – was the strategy analyst job in the in the DLA Director’s Strategic Initiatives Group. The SIG provides analysis and recommendations to support the director’s engagements with leaders from the Department of Defense and other stakeholders, as well as other director priorities, initiatives and decisions. I was excited to be selected to work in the SIG’s fast-paced setting and learn from the most senior leaders of DLA.
Although I was a little nervous about jumping into something so unknown to me, I can’t say enough good things about my experience. The SIG is truly a team environment where everyone has the same goal of DLA mission success. I was fortunate to spend the first week of my rotation shadowing the previous rotation employee. It gave me an opportunity to do the job and have a safety net to fall back on for questions and guidance.
Now that I’m halfway through my yearlong assignment, I appreciate what a positive adventure it’s been for me. On a personal level, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I never would have met otherwise. I’ve been able to make connections all around the globe because the SIG interacts with every major subordinate command and DLA Headquarters directorates. And while recently preparing slides for the director’s Town Hall at DLA Pacific Headquarters, I collaborated with the wonderful staff there and learned about their mission and workforce.
In terms of professional development, I’ve had many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. I’ve attended many high-level engagements with the director and learned how the senior leaders make decisions.
One of the most rewarding assignments I’ve had was preparing the director’s slides for the 2018 World Wide Logistics Symposium. It was one of my first assignments in the SIG, and I was nervous about how it would come together. The Director’s Action Group in DLA Logistics Operations provided me all the information I needed to develop a three-star-level presentation. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference and watch the director present the slides I had prepared.
That’s one of my favorite things about working in the SIG: seeing the products I’ve worked on come to life. Ideas typically begin with some sketches and notes on a piece of paper but can transform into a product used by the most senior leaders in DLA or even DoD.
I’m grateful to have been selected for this program, and I’m looking forward to applying my new skills and strategic focus to the mission of DLA Strategic Materials and DLA Acquisition when I complete the program this summer.