By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
When Jill Warning’s husband was assigned to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy in 2011, she established a local branch of In Gear Career, a program that provides professional development for military spouses. As a military spouse attorney, she knew firsthand about the challenges military spouses face when relocating, especially overseas.
“Upon arrival, I was hired as a federal contractor working with the Naval Supply Systems Command, but doing volunteer work for In Gear Career helped me get to know the community in a different way,” explained Warning. “I also met with the director of the local Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society office. She gave me a better understanding of the people and culture of Sigonella, and told me about the Society.”
After Sigonella, Warning’s family was transferred to Washington, DC, where her family grew to include a daughter, and she again worked as a contractor for the US Department of State in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. “I leaned on my analytical skills doing both budgeting and strategic planning,” she said. All of which she feels helped prepare her for her new position as director of the NMCRS office in Yokosuka, Japan.
“I found out about the job opening through my military spouse community network, and applied for the position before we left DC. I was interviewed shortly after arriving in Japan. In fact, we were still living in temporary housing. I was thrilled to get the job and have hit the ground running every day since then.”
Quick assist loans and emergency leave are the two most frequent requests for assistance in Yokusuka. “I’m learning how to provide an emergency travel loan that provides enough funds to get the client home but is still fiscally feasible for young Sailors to repay,” Warning said. “When a Sailor needs to go home, financial education is not our primary focus, but it’s still part of our mission so we try to weave it into everything we do.” The office’s visiting nurse is also a vital part of the local military community, Warning explained. “The Society’s visiting nurse program is important everywhere, but when young families are stationed overseas, they don’t always have other resources available.”
As a new director, Warning was thrilled to meet the dedicated volunteers who work in her office and is constantly recruiting more. “We have a great group of volunteers but most are military spouses, just like me, and they will eventually PCS – we always need a steady flow of new volunteers coming in. I want NMCRS Yokosuka to be a place where spouses can come to sharpen their professional skills or build new skills. I’m always trying to show them how Society work relates to other employment and careers – especially for military spouses. I try to foster an environment where, if someone has an idea and they pitch it to me, I can say ‘let’s do it’ if it will benefit them and help our office.”
“I also want our team to have fun,” she said. “Especially after the Society’s international conference in October, when I saw the how everyone at NMCRS headquarters brings fun and creativity to their job to inspire others. I’m really excited.”
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso