Your Passion - Q&A’s with USO Employees

Your Passion - Q&A’s with USO Employees

Meaningful Work. Inspiring Colleagues.

We have high expectations of our employees. Organizationally, the USO holds itself to the highest of standards and those standards need to be reflected in the work of each and every employee.

Work culture is hard to adequately put into words. The foundation of our work culture can be found in the USO Values.

But the words that resonate are those from our staff. Read in their own words why they joined the USO, what motivates them to continue the work of the USO and what it is like to work with the organization.

 

Nicole Lewis

Nicole Lewis

Programs Manager | USO Gulf Coast

Hometown: Midland, Michigan

Q What made you decide to become a part of the USO team?

A I worked for MWR on NCBC Gulfport for 5 years and over the course of those years worked closely with Felice and the USO Gulf Coast and once the opportunity opened up to be the Programs Manager it was a no-brainer!

Q What motivates you to come to work every day?

A When you have a job you love you don't need much motivation. I love working with the volunteers here and serving our troops and their families always puts a smile on my face.

Q Can you tell us a little about your colleagues at the USO?

A Felice Gillum (my boss and the Director) is by far one of the kindest people you'll ever meet and brings out the best in me as well as others.

Q Have there been any defining moments for you at the USO?

A We just finished our 3rd year partnering with Portraits of Love, and we had a family that showed up late for their session. The mom was flustered and in tears because she thought that they weren't going to be able to get their pictures taken. I explained to her that this wasn't a problem and that they'd still be able to get their free photo session. I thoroughly enjoy being able to provide services to our military families because they deserve it.

 
Craig Opel

Craig Opel

VP, Information Technology | Arlington, Va.

Alma Mater: U.S. Naval Academy

Q What made you decide to become a part of the USO team?

A I had a burning desire to get into the "helping and happiness" business.

Q What motivates you to come to work every day?

A The hope that I am helping our service members and their families in some small way motivates me to work every day.

Q What does a typical day at the USO look like for you?

A Making measureable progress in delivering IT services to our country's warriors and USO team members is what I do!

Q What do you enjoy most about your work?

A I enjoy being able to be a part of the passion and excitement exhibited by fellow USO employees as they go about their jobs and knowing that in some way we are contributing to the happiness of our military personnel serving in harm's way.

 
Catherine Janney

Catherine Janney

Director, Regional Development | Arlington, Va.

Hobbies: hiking, camping, geocaching, gardening

Q What made you decide to become a part of the USO team?

A Having worked in sports my whole career before joining the USO, I was looking for a position that could utilize my skills but in an organization where I felt my efforts could make a difference for others.

Q What do you enjoy most about working for the USO?

A I enjoy meeting and interacting with such a diverse group of individuals on a daily basis. There is never a day that I go home and don't feel good about the work that we do at the USO.

Q What motivates you to come to work every day?

A Being located in Arlington, we don't get to interact with troops and families, so it's a big challenge to actually see what the USO does for troops and families. But the stories, pictures, videos, etc. that we receive from the field helps tremendously to motivate me. It's great to see that what I do in my office supports the hands on experiences in the centers around the world.

Q Have there been any defining moments for you at the USO?

A I had the privilege of witnessing a dignified transfer at Dover. I do consider that a privilege since it's a very personal and intimate situation for the families. That day it all came into focus for me – why we as a country must support those who serve our country. My work at the USO is a just a small contribution.

 
Maggie Constantino

Maggie Constantino

Center Operations Manager| USO Yokosuka, Japan 

Hobbies: reading, taking long walks and napping

Q What motivates you to come to work every day?

A My great team of both staff and volunteers. Furthermore, as a military spouse and with my husband constantly deployed, working at the USO helps me to cope with the long separation time by helping others in my same predicament. In many ways, spending time with the young sailors and military spouses motivates me to do the best I can with providing supportive and worthwhile programs for this military community, not only because the sailors deserve it, but also as a military spouse, need it.

Q Can you tell us a little about your colleagues at the USO?

A Supportive and positive.

Q What do you enjoy most about working for the USO?

A The great people I meet every day. I am surrounded by people who care.

Q Have there been any defining moments for you at the USO?

A A young mother of three with another on the way, she is active duty spouse, and will be enduring her first deployment without her husband this summer. With this, we at the USO Yokosuka held a first time event called "Girl's Morning" with free babysitting and goodies for young mothers like her and after the event was finished, she grabbed both of my hands and said thank you for remembering spouses like her. She didn't have much money to do things on her own but was grateful for some quiet time and was able to relax and have fun before her husband left.

 
Rhenda White-Brunner

Rhenda White-Brunner

Center Director | USO Dallas/Fort Worth 

Q Why did you decide to become a part of the USO team and what motivates you to come to work every day?

A I wanted to be part of a mission that honors our military and their families. I am from a military family and to be able to "pay it forward" is hugely rewarding. And the opportunity to be part of a mission that delivers warm positive regard and goodness to our military and their families. Each day we get to make a difference.

Q What's a typical day for you at the USO?

A Our USO Center will have greeted 400 military guests offering airline club type amenities and travel information. In our United Through Reading® room service members will have read a children's book recorded to DVD to send to their children. We are out in our community supporting military family days. We will be working alongside supporters and volunteers.

Q What is on the horizon in your USO career?

A I hope to have the pleasure/honor of this being the last job in my professional career. It has been the best one.

 

Read more Q&A's with USO Employees 

View our current Job Openings | Find out about our terrific Employee Benefits 

More Ways to Follow