MSJDN’s 2015-2016 leadership team – including the Board of Directors for both MSJDN and the Military Spouse JD Foundation, as well as MSJDN Committee Chairs – met on July 11th and 12th at the historic Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia for a weekend of strategic planning. It was a productive and inspiring two days as our organization prepared to continue its growth and success with licensing efforts, membership programs, and much more.

11057865_911008408957330_8952651285565439279_n (1)The leadership team entered the weekend with broad goals, including expanding support for our members and utilizing the unique skill sets of those who wish to volunteer, planning for fundraising and continued growth, discussion of the future of our pro bono program, increasing transparency, and shaping the vision and mission for the organization.  Those goals were addressed through creative conversations and brainstorming sessions throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, Michael Deagneault of Quantum Governance spent an extremely informative and valuable two hours with the leadership team focused on strategic thinking and planning for non-profit organizations. Mr. Deagneault navigated the attendees through discussions on board responsibilities, common governance issues, and key questions to ask when planning for the future. The leadership team could have soaked up Mr. Deagneault’s wisdom for the entire weekend and appreciates the time he donated to spend educating our volunteers.

The Board reviewed our organization’s successes over the past several years and talked about how to best continue to add to our accomplishments. An effective licensing team has been equipped with the tools necessary to continue their advocacy for licensing accommodations and have been successful in 13 jurisdictions in achieving support for military spouse attorneys. MSJDN has successfully launched its pro bono program, Justice For Military Families, and continues to place a high percentage of cases with pro bono attorneys.  The new MSJDN website is up and running, offering members a place to connect via a directory, as well as a jobs board, discounts, information on Homefront to Hired partners, and much more.

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 in place, 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 to best support our membership. 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 effectively serve our members and our community.

MSJDN’s leadership team was also honored to have legendary attorney Marna Tucker share her thoughts on leadership during the Sunday session.  Attorney Tucker was the first woman president of both the District of Columbia Bar and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. Her insights from these experiences provided those in attendance with encouragement and advice as they continue to break barriers for military spouses in the legal profession. Also on Sunday, Janece Kleban from Goodwill helped the group explore fundraising strategies and plan for continued growth with a solid financial footing.

The weekend was a positive experience for our leadership team and the beginning of what promises to be another exciting year for MSJDN.  Our organization runs on volunteer power and we always welcome our members to participate in the future of MSJDN. Reach out to a committee or a board member for more information on how to get involved!