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Invested in the future: Battle Creek ANG finance specialist finds her niche

Tech. Sgt. Joni Jackson, a finance specialist assigned to the 110th Comptroller Flight

Tech. Sgt. Joni Jackson, a finance specialist assigned to the 110th Comptroller Flight, poses for a portrait at the 110th Wing on Aug. 16, 2019, Battle Creek, Mich. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob Cessna/released)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – “I love finance, I love the complexity that comes with it. When customers have exhausted everyone in aiding them in solving their problems, I’m usually the person to fix it. I’m great at pulling broken programs out of the grave.”

When Tech. Sgt. Joni Jackson speaks about her work, she sounds more like a private investigator than someone newly assigned to the 110th Wing Comptroller Flight, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Michigan. Initially, Jackson joined the South Carolina Air National Guard to work in personnel, but after cross‐training multiple times into mission support career fields over thirteen years, she believes she finally has found her niche with finance. This job requires not only a methodic mindset to process, submit, and audit transactions accurately, but also a personable demeanor. When disgruntled customers come in, they need someone who can empathize with them. Jackson shows no hesitation for either aspect of her job.

“It’s easy for me to come in and read the regulations and the instructions and the policies,” Jackson said. “And sometimes you’re going to have difficult customers, but you have to remember where they’re coming from. If your payment was messed up, you’d be upset too. You have to be able to defuse, assist them, and not take it personally.”

Before becoming the lead accounting liaison officer at the 110th Wing, Jackson worked 10 years in the 169th Mission Support Group and is no stranger to dealing with people. In fact, it’s why she joined personnel in the first place.

“Everything we do in life is customer service, whether it’s external customers or internal. I love customer service, I love helping people.”

Confident in her diplomatic skills, Jackson spends time outside of work studying the nuances of her job. It’s not easy getting acclimated to a new job, but her dedication can be seen in the results.

“I was told that it would take a while to get my head wrapped around all of it, but I’m definitely up for the challenge. Now that my kids are grown and out of the house, I have time to come home and read the regulations and try to understand the job more. Along with the training, everything’s coming together.”

Jackson’s dedication to the Air Force doesn’t stop with herself. She is passionate about the Air Force's future as a whole, specifically female leadership and mentoring junior non-commissioned officers. She rallied her female co-workers to attend a women in leadership symposium that the 110th Wing held Sept. 9th.

“The symposium was very informative and organized, Jackson said. "The challenges women in leadership positions faced weren’t surprising, but it was a reflection of their strength and their resiliency. I think the biggest thing for us, regardless of age, is to educate our men. Have that dialogue, have those conversations, ask those questions and be ready for responses. Once more dialogue is started without male peers and leadership, they’ll gain a better understanding of how to take this journey together.”

Military operations start and end at finance. Personnel cannot provide their best service if they have to worry about providing for their families and themselves. When an Airman goes to see Tech. Sgt. Joni Jackson, someone whose drive and dedication extends past her own career, they should know they’re in good hands.