Business Careers Serve a Bigger Purpose at NSA

March 15, 2021

Janelle W. started out wanting to be a nurse.

Driven by her desire to problem-solve, she wanted to save lives and be helpful to others who were in difficult situations. Now she applies that same motivation to her work at NSA.

As a Business Financial Manager at NSA, she explains, “I problem-solve every day, and I’m helping to save lives by supporting my country.”

I problem-solve every day, and I'm helping to save lives by supporting my country. - Janelle W., NSA Business Financial Manager

A graduate of Wilmington University with a degree in business management, she had been working in the private sector in banking for six years and was growing tired of her sales position.

“It was more like a job, not a career,” she says. She found herself moving from bank to bank, always in the same type of role.

Then a neighbor who was working at NSA suggested she check out the business opportunities available at the agency.

Janelle was attracted to both the stability offered at NSA and its location – Fort Meade is very close to her home.

Moving to NSA from the private sector, she found the hours were more flexible, the benefits were much better, and there was more opportunity for advancement. In the private sector, if she tired of one role, or that role was no longer meeting her individual needs, there really weren’t other paths to pursue.

“You can do anything here,” she says about NSA. “If I get tired of doing one thing, I can do something else.”

In her current role, Janelle manages the finances for a variety of programs. Her work ensures that what is needed to accomplish a mission is provided.

“Without business professionals, no one in any mission would be able to do anything,” she explains. “Although I am in a supportive role, it is still very important as far as impact. It could affect someone’s safety, depending on the situation.”

Accomplishing NSA’s mission is a driving force behind her work. “When I can see the end result of a purchase and how it impacts the end result, that’s what makes me come to work every day.”

Janelle didn’t know much about NSA when she joined the agency, but her grandfather had worked there and retired in 1985 after previously retiring from the Navy. He was always very secretive about his work, she says, and didn’t share much.

Today, she shares experiences with a supportive network of co-workers, whom she can reach out to for help or to answer questions.

“I learned quickly that networking is something you need to do, because you never know where you might end up.”

Janelle also has a mentor at NSA to support her along her career path. Having a mentor who is a few grades above her at the agency has helped her to identify strategies to advance her career path by offering advice and answering questions along the way.

“Management has an open-door policy, which is helpful when you have questions. There is always someone to help you get the answers you need.”

One of the NSA benefits she appreciates most is a flexible work schedule, which enables her to manage family life more easily. As the mom of a toddler, the flexible hours allow her to meet her child’s needs, providing a better work-life balance than what she had in the private sector.

Another agency benefit, tuition support, is helping her to further her education and enhance her skill set. She is pursuing an MBA at Wilmington University, and is nearly finished with her course work.

Janelle plans to have a lengthy career at NSA and hopes to retire from the agency. “Once I got here, I realized this is what I want to do,” she says.

“At NSA, I feel I have a career, not just a job.”