MSJDN’s 2014-2015 leadership team – including the Board of Directors for both MSJDN and the Military Spouse JD Foundation, as well as Committee Chairs – met on July 26 and 27 at the historic Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia for a weekend of strategic planning.  What follows is a brief recap for our members of that productive and inspiring two-day event.

The leadership team approached the weekend with broad ranging goals, including considering ways to more deeply engage our membership and utilize the unique skill sets of those who wish to volunteer, thinking creatively about the future of our pro bono program, increasing transparency within the organization, enhancing the organization’s communication with the legal community, and shaping a long-term vision for the future of the organization.  Those goals were addressed in thorough and creative conversations and brainstorming sessions throughout the weekend.  The Board highlighted the many successes MSJDN has achieved over the past several years.  State Leaders have been equipped with the tools necessary to advocate for licensing accommodations and have been successful in eleven states in achieving support for military spouse attorneys.  MSJDN has successfully partnered with other veterans service organizations and military spouse organizations, including working with MOAA on veterans claims assistance and with TAPS to connect military families with legal needs with pro bono attorneys.  MSJDN successfully launched its pro bono program, Justice For Military Families, and continues to place a high percentage of cases with pro bono attorneys.  Employment opportunities for members are frequently posted and highlighted on MSJDN’s LinkedIn page.

While the organization has enjoyed a great deal of success to date, there is also much work to be done.  In addition to committing to maintain and improve upon goals already achieved, the leadership team created a strategic plan for the coming year that includes, among other things, continuing to develop events for members at the local and national levels, engaging with leaders at the national, state and local levels, and continually updating and improving our online presence.  MSJDN also intends to continue to conduct an annual survey of its members and to engage in meaningful, data-driven analysis of the survey in order to best serve our members and our community.

MSJDN’s leadership team was also honored to have Major General (Ret.) Dan Wright join us on Sunday morning to share some words of wisdom from his wealth of experience regarding leadership and good governance of organizations.  Major General Wright commended MSJDN on its recent transition of leadership and success in networking and advocacy.  He reminded us of the importance of maintaining focus on our goals and of the constant need to “refresh and rethink” in all that you do.

The weekend was a positive experience for our leadership team and the beginning of what promises to be another exciting year for MSJDN.  President Rachel Winkler reminded members via the organization’s Facebook page that: “We are going to run into bumps in the road, but as an organization, we are particularly well-suited to overcome them by leveraging the diverse strengths of our amazing membership.”  The leadership looks forward to serving and welcomes the comments and feedback of members at any time.