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NGAUS Finance, HR Director Celebrates 35th Anniversary

02-27-24 WR Cheryl WEBSITE
02-27-24 WR Cheryl WEBSITE
Washington Report

The association’s director of finance & human resources recently celebrated her 35th anniversary working for NGAUS.

Cheryl Young reached the career milestone Feb. 20, the latest step in a professional journey that has included stops in virtually every part of the association's staff.

"The secret is just come in and do your work," she said of her tenure with NGAUS. "You just smile and get it done.

"I never thought I’d be in a director’s position," Young added. "NGAUS opens doors you’d never expect to open."

Young’s story as a part of the association's staff begins in 1989, when she decided to pursue an opening with NGAUS.

At the time, the National Guard Memorial, the association’s current headquarters in Washington, D.C., was under construction, and the staff was temporarily working at the D.C. Armory.

Young had been working as an accountant at the Department of Labor, a job that she says wasn’t fulfilling. When a DOL co-worker mentioned an opportunity at NGAUS, she says she applied to become the association’s administrative assistant and receptionist.

While Young got the job, a passion for math would take her through most of the association’s departments over the following 35 years.

"That lasted all of six months," she said of her first position at NGAUS. "I immediately got moved to the membership department.

"I’ve just been fascinated with numbers," Young continues. "Accounting was what I liked to do."

Young’s financial skills quickly earned her a role as a membership assistant, reconciling the association’s member numbers.

Over the subsequent years, Young would work in the association’s communications and legislative departments before becoming a NGAUS staff accountant.

Along the way, Young also worked on the association’s insurance trust, and she kept records for the National Guard Educational Foundation’s National Guard Memorial Museum.

Building the museum ultimately cost $3 million, and the space is now a major part of the association’s headquarters.

"If you have the experience and you can help out, they’ll definitely move you around to get stuff done," Young said of the association's leadership.

During her time at NGAUS, Young finished an undergraduate degree in accounting and two master’s degrees – one in accounting and another in human resources – from Strayer University.

Young has also served under the association’s last seven presidents.

Despite a civilian background, Young has additionally grown to appreciate the sacrifices the Guard makes for the nation.

"I think very highly of the United States military," she noted. "If there are some deficiencies or shortcomings, I think that’s the first thing the United States should focus on."

Although Young initially pictured retiring in 2025, she says she has more personal and professional benchmarks to reach before clocking out for the last time.

"I’ve always had the goal of visiting all 54 states, territories and D.C.," she revealed. "I’m about 30% of the way there.

"I love my job," Young finished. "Most people can’t say that, but I do. I wouldn’t trade any part of it."

— By Mark Hensch