Ryan Pickett stopped by the Fort Bragg Military Spouse Business and Career Dream Conference, Feb. 10, at the Pope Family Readiness Group Center to gain information about helping his business grow.

Pickett, an Army spouse, said he and his wife, Maj. Julie Pickett, recently moved from Fort Drum, New York, where he had a thriving engineering consulting business, to Fort Bragg. He hoped to gather information about tapping resources to advance employment opportunities in the area.

“It’s important to hear the stories of how people have gone about it, so you have that idea of how it’s possible,” Pickett said.

Connecting to people and the resources that provide information about establishing and maintaining a successful business is a key reason he said he attended the conference.

Obtaining resources was one reason that Army spouse, Frances Sarnecki, also attended.

“I’ve been wanting to go into a business of my own, so I thought this was a great opportunity,” said Sarnecki, who hopes to open a small sandwich/coffee shop following her husband, Sgt. 1st Class David Sarnecki’s retirement.

She gathered information about not stressing over a business plan since it is constantly subject to change and about maintaining a positive mindset.

“When you get into a bad spot, that positive mindset will help get you through,” she said.

Sarnecki also received information about maintaining resiliency, finding solutions to everyday business problems and taking a breather to reset.

The goal of the conference was to help spouses discover business, career and educational opportunities.

Agencies on-hand to provide resources included local colleges and universities such as Methodist University, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; the Employment Readiness Program, Fort Bragg’s Army Community Service; U.S. Small Business Administration; Sustainable Sandhills; and Fort Bragg R2 Training Center.

Sustainable Sandhills advises military spouses about the benefits of coworking — a collaborative work environment that helps businesses to grow successfully — by offering workspace flexibility and office amenities such as conference facilities, office technology and internet.

“We want to provide a physical gateway to the business community so that military spouses and independent workers can start their own businesses with space to work out in,” said Hanah Ehrenreich, executive director, Sustainable Sandhills.

The R2 center taught spouses about master resiliency training techniques, said Jim Arp, an R2 ambassador.

“We offer six core skills,” explained fellow ambassador and master resiliency trainer, Fiona Purcell. Those skills are:

Attention control — How to pay attention amidst distractions; pay attention to the right thing at the right time

Energy management — How to manage energy and control physiology using deliberate breathing for mental clarity

Goal setting — How to break down a plan to make achieving goals possible

Integrating imagery — How to imagine success and see the steps to achieve it

Confidence — How to build confidence and use it to overcome challenges

Foundation of leveraging a growth mindset and a thought-performance connection — Be the best performer you can be; understand that your thoughts impact your physiology, which impacts performance

The conference was facilitated with collaborative efforts from Fort Bragg Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center and American Dream U, both dedicated to enhancing the lives of service members and their Families.

The Fort Bragg Education Center supported by getting all the colleges and universities to the conference, said Master Sgt. Jean Denis, XVIII Airborne Corps. He wanted spouses to leave empowered and well-informed.

“This gives him or her the resources that can point them in the right direction,” Denis said. It adds to the aim of maintaining readiness, as well.

“The goal of commanders at Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps is to make sure that the Family is always ready because a Family that’s ready means units have a Soldier that’s ready.”