Last week, I had the privilege to represent MSJDN at the two day DigitalMilEx conference hosted by USAA in San Antonio, Texas. The USAA team put together an incredible two days of speakers and education for digital influencers in the military community. The conference was a incredible opportunity for bloggers, writers, and others in the military sphere to connect in a solution-based environment to tackle the unique challenges of fulfilling our missions to those we serve in the military community.

Day One kicked off with Ted Coiné from Meddle.it sharing his thoughts on leading in a world gone social. A valuable tidbit from Ted was that today’s typical employee stays with a company for an average of three years. For military spouses facing the dreaded “how long are you in the area” question during interviews, this is a very useful piece of information!

Ted also spoke about the power of the OPEN concept: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Network. He seemed to be describing MSJDN when discussing the power of networks! Consider whether you would rather have one expert available to assist you or your network of a thousand people all with their own networks. The resources we have available through MSJDN are incredible when viewed through the OPEN concept!

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Photo courtesy of SmugMug

Following Ted’s fantastic presentation, USAA provided their experts to educate attendees on social analytics and cyber security. USAA’s knowledgeable team shared their expert insights on tools for measuring success of online activities, as well as protecting online information.

The keynote presentation featured Kelly Perdew, Founder of Target Close and Managing Partner of Moonshots Capital. You might know Kelly best as the winner of season two of NBC’s The Apprentice, but he is also an Army veteran and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and the UCLA School of Law. Kelly earned a joint JD/MBA degree and has put that to use as a successful entrepreneur and businessman. Kelly’s advice to attendees was to be “impeccable,” noting that our personal brands are on display in all we do.

The day ended with additional speakers covering community building and working with the DOD to provide services on base. After an evening of connections and conversations, Day Two started with a dose of both reality and inspiration from veteran Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, a tool that allows military members and other to securely prove their identity online. Blake, who has worked with the pro bono team from MSJDN as we build our virtual Justice for Military Families clinic, spoke about leadership and vision as he shared the ups and downs of his life as an entrepreneur following his time in the Army. Blake advised, “Changing the world requires a relentless commitment to accomplishing the mission.” His words hit home for MSJDN, an organization who continues to succeed only because of the relentless commitment of our volunteers.

The remainder of the second day of sessions focused on other areas of education, including transition from service, marketing to millennials, and strategies for scaling an organization. USAA team members also shared the many services they provide, including matching members with resources like legal counsel, financial resources, and even food banks and shelters when needed. Jennifer Pilcher from Military One Click and William McNulty from Team Rubicon closed the day, sharing the stories of how their organizations have oCPng7-sUAAAdm_vvercome challenges to succeed on a global scale, all while supporting the military community.

Before heading home, conference attendees were also treated to a exhibition of the latest and greatest tools and technology put to use on a daily basis by USAA. From drones and 3D printers to virtual communities, social networks, and online financial resources, the exhibition was an incredible display of the support available for the military community.

Many thanks to MSJDN for allowing me to represent military spouse attorneys in this incredible group of attendees.I’ve returned with a host of new tools to continue improve MSJDN for our members. Surrounded by other organizations like Sandboxx, NextGenJustice, Esposas Militares Hispanas, and the Military Family Advisory Network, it was easy to be inspired about the future of our network!