During more than two decades with our company, Jenna, an Air Force veteran and engineer, has worked on proprietary programs, airborne lasers and our KC-46 Tanker program, all while supporting her family as a military spouse.

Jenna met her husband, Jack, at the United States Air Force Academy. Following their graduation, Jenna began studying for her master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. “I was working full time as an Air Force officer while also going to night school,” she said. “As an officer, I started to realize that I didn’t want to manage the technical work, I wanted to do the technical work.”

That realization led Jenna to Boeing, where she started her journey with us as a systems engineer on our Airborne Laser Program in Tukwila, Washington.

A year and a half later, Jack, an active-duty member of the Air Force, received an assignment to leave Washington state.

“I loved working for Boeing and I wanted to stay at the company, but we had to move,” Jenna said.

Partnering with her manager, she found a way to continue supporting the team remotely. “I thought, I better do an awesome job. I better be twice as good as my colleagues.”

Over the next two decades, as the spouse of an active-duty service member, Jenna made 10 moves — including one to Japan — and took two leaves of absence to support her husband’s military career, and to spend time with the couple's two young children.

Family holding hands in front of a KC-135 aircraft
One of Jenna's moves took the family to Okinawa, Japan, where her husband was a KC-135 flying squadron commander. (Jenna photo)

Jenna credits mentoring as being pivotal to her career development, “I had four mentors who believed in me even when I did not believe in myself,” she said, "I always tell my mentees that anyone can get mentoring from anyone. It’s amazing and so critical to career development.”

Support from her mentors and leadership inspired Jenna to become an Associate Technical Fellow (ATF). Our ATF program provides an alternate path to management for those who want to focus on technical skills. “The ATF route allows me to not only continue leading my work group, but also puts my name out there as a technical expert who can be utilized across other programs," she said.

"To be successful at Boeing, you don’t have to go with what you think is the traditional route, " said Jenna. "Look at me, 11 years being a virtual part-time employee, taking two different extended leaves of absence … it’s possible and Boeing supported it.”

Ready to start your next mission? Learn more about how we support veteran and military spouses at boeing.com/veterans.