COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, General Fund Enterprise Business System
TITLE: Deputy product director
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 11
AAW/DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management, Level I in business – financial management and information technology
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration, James Madison University
AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (3)
HOMETOWN: Woodbridge, Virginia
by Ellen Summey
Melissa Moreau knows a thing or two about good luck. Now the deputy product director for the Army’s General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS), she said her career has been positively impacted by the guidance of her mentors and a string of good opportunities—but she didn’t plan it that way. “Honestly, I kind of fell into this career,” she said. “When I graduated from college, I worked in industry as a consultant in the telecommunications field.” As luck would have it, the project she was supporting came to an abrupt end, and she was “loaned out” to another project within her company, to support an Army client. And that’s where things started to change.
“In that position, I met two of the most instrumental people in my career, who mentored me as I navigated toward my future in Army acquisition,” she recalled. They talked to her about training opportunities, helped her acclimate to Army jargon and the “acronym soup” it often involves, and helped her to feel like a part of the Army family. “When I accepted my first Army Acquisition Workforce position within the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, my eyes were opened to the devotion to duty and selfless sacrifice that all military and Army civilian personnel espouse.” She said that selflessness and devotion made an impact on her and have served as a source of inspiration for her ever since.
In her current role as deputy product director for GFEBS, she is responsible for the cost, schedule and performance of the GFEBS and GFEBS-Sensitive Activities (GFEBS-SA) systems. GFEBS is the Army’s cloud-based financial, asset and accounting management system that standardizes, streamlines and shares critical data across the active-duty Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. GFEBS-SA is a fully functional GFEBS application that operates on the classified network, providing security for extremely sensitive business transactions while supporting the Army’s goal of improving financial processes, controls and information via audit readiness. GFEBS and GFEBS-SA are used by over 35,000 active and Reserve Army, National Guard and DOD users at more than 200 locations in 71 countries, with system obligations averaging more than $200 billion annually.
“Along with the product director, I lead a diverse team of nearly 80 civilian, military and contractor personnel, managing an annual budget of roughly $100 million to develop, test, field, sustain and enhance the GFEBS and GFEBS-SA capabilities to meet the Army’s financial management requirements,” she said. “I take great pride in knowing that, due to my team’s dedication and hard work, our Soldiers have an innovative, adaptable and efficient enterprise financial management solution.” She said that hers is a complex mission—while her everyday work directly supports Soldiers, “there is so much more to it. The work done behind the scenes to ensure that Soldiers have what they needs when they lay boots on the ground, begins weeks, months or even years beforehand.”
As a leader, Moreau said she follows two hard-and-fast rules. “The first is that you should never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and I find it applies both in and out of the office. The second is that work-life balance is essential and needs to be prioritized,” she said. Echoing the sentiments of other Army leaders, Moreau said that the people on her team are her greatest asset, and she is serious about their well-being. “Empowering and encouraging them to pursue and achieve work-life balance is something I’m passionate about. People must be able to disconnect and give 100 percent of themselves to their personal lives—friends, family, hobbies, so that they can be reenergized to give 100 percent to the mission when at work.”
She shares professional advice with her team whenever possible, and encourages them to take charge of their careers. “I always have, and always will, tell every single one of my employees to own their careers. No one is as invested in your future as you are. Find your passion, pursue it with a vengeance, demonstrate commitment and always stand firm in what you know is best for you and your life.” It’s a lesson that was reinforced in her own life about two years ago, when she was asked to accept a developmental assignment as an acting deputy product director in an office that was facing significant issues. “I was incredibly reluctant at first due to a myriad of things I had going on personally and professionally, knowing this would be life-altering, even if just for a short time. After stewing on it for a week and discussing with close colleagues, friends and family, I decided I was up for the challenge.” And though she was very hesitant in the beginning, she said she came to realize that it was the right choice for her. “I can say now with the benefit of hindsight, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made career-wise. It forced me out of my comfort zone, taught me critical leadership skills and ultimately led me to the position I have today.”
As the saying goes, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Moreau has certainly been lucky, but that’s only part of the story. Her success has been the result of opportunity meeting preparation, dedication and determination.
“Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians serving in various AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please go to https://asc.army.mil/web/publications/army-alt-submissions/.