The past few months have been full of farewells in my household. After six years on the East Coast, the Navy decided it was time for us to return to the California sunshine. While I am very fortunate to continue in my position with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals thanks to their remote work policies, many other changes came with this relocation. We said goodbye to our wonderful neighborhood and local friends; goodbye to favorite restaurants and historic D.C. haunts; goodbye to our dog walker, hair stylist, and gyms.

At the same time, MSJDN was also experiencing changes. On May 6th, we announced our new Board for the 2018-2019 year.  On May 17th, we celebrated the accomplishments of the past seven years at our Annual Reception in D.C. and looked toward the future. On June 1st, we said thank you to our outgoing Board members and welcomed the new Board to begin their duties for the coming year. Volunteering in this organization is a labor of love, requiring coordination across continents, late-night phone calls, and weekend work parties. MSJDN’s Board is a “working” board in every sense of the word. We all benefit from the hard work, dedication, and passion that these leaders bring to MSJDN and I am tremendously grateful to all who have stepped up to serve.

In the midst of all this personal and organizational change, the constant for me was the support from this network. My fellow MSJDNers talked me through transitioning to a virtual role in my job. They joined me for farewell drinks in my empty house. From Rhode Island to the Florida panhandle to stops in Tennessee and Texas, they dined with me during my travels and commiserated with me over the end of one chapter in D.C. They welcomed me to San Diego and encouraged me in the start of a new chapter.

These connections are the foundation of this incredible organization. I would encourage each member to seek out the opportunities provided by MSJDN to build your circle of support:

  • join the Facebook group to ask your career or military life questions
  • plan a coffee or happy hour near you (email for help!)
  • volunteer for one of our programs
  • set aside time to join other military spouse attorneys at our annual professional development conference (stay tuned for details on Making the Right Moves this fall)

As many of you pay your annual membership dues this coming month, I hope you will take a minute to familiarize yourself with the many benefits available to MSJDN members beyond the opportunity to connect. Log in to the website and check the “Resources” menu to find a directory of other members, discounts on CLEs and other professional organizations, and recordings of past webinars. Visit the “Library” menu to find past newsletters and press coverage of MSJDN’s efforts. Click on the “Jobs” menu to find information on hiring partners and the jobs board. Our volunteers work hard to curate these resources for you so please take advantage of these resources designed to help you on your military spouse attorney journey!

This network is a source of inspiration, friendship, and professional support. It’s been my great honor to serve as President this year, and I am excited to continue to volunteer and connect under the leadership of our new President, Katherine Goyette.

As I hand off the gavel, I’m proud to say that MSJDN is stronger today than ever. Some of the advances over the past year include increased financial stability with new budgeting programs and improved transparency in place; expansion of our mentorship program to serve more members; development of additional hiring relationships with employers; creation of new resources for law students; and continued recognition of MSJDN as a model for other professional organizations.  We also added five more states to those with licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys. These successes reflect the strength of our membership and those members who step forward every year to continue to improve this organization. I’m incredibly proud of the progress we made in the last year and could not be more excited to see what our new leaders will accomplish in 2018 and beyond.

Libby Jamison