Shala Gee is a 15-year (and counting) Army spouse. Trained as a teacher and holding a master’s degree, Shala found herself working as a substitute teacher due to nine relocations in 14 years. Each individual state administers its own teaching certification, and becoming certified in a new state can take up to a year or longer. As a result, finding a teaching job when constantly moving became too challenging.
Shala was tired of being underemployed as a substitute teacher and eager to become a more active financial contributor to her family’s economic status.
Confidence to Step Into the Unknown
After her family relocated to Tampa, Shala struggled to find a job and decided to apply for one of Hiring Our Heroes’ military spouse fellowships.
Uncomfortable at first with the application process, Shala almost gave up, but after talking with her program manager, Aleksandra Johnston, she built the confidence she needed to step into the unknown.
“I’m an introvert,” Shala said. “So it was hard for me to step outside my shell. [Aleksandra] helped me learn that it is okay to be uncomfortable; it’s okay to switch careers and not have any regrets about doing what’s best for you.”
Shala was offered an internship at Fintech as an activation specialist and was then hired by them as a sales administrative assistant. She oversees the enrollment process of almost every client who uses Fintech services, and she steps in during her supervisor’s absence.
“The culture at Fintech is incredible and my coworkers were welcoming, helpful, and genuine from the minute I started,” Shala said.
The company culture was why Shala accepted their job offer during the first week of her internship, which was sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
MSFP “Means There Is Hope for Military Spouses”
The Military Spouse and Caregiver Fellowship Program helped Shala start a new career in an industry she never would have considered otherwise.
“It helped by opening the door for me with a company that was open to sponsoring a military spouse,” she said.
It’s okay to switch careers and not have any regrets about doing what’s best for you.Shala Gee, Army spouse and fellow with Military Spouse Fellowship Program
MSFP “means that there is hope for military spouses,” Shala added.
Longevity with a company is one of the biggest challenges military spouses face, according to Shala. Finding a program that pairs military spouses with companies that are open and understanding of military spouses is priceless.
“I feel like our voices are finally being heard!” she said.