Community Champions: Helping dual communities

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There is a balance to Kyle Powers’ dual careers that might seem surprising when you hear how much he enjoys talking to people about their 401K plans.

“I have an exciting day to day job, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Powers said.

But more so when you find out what else he does one weekend a month and two weeks a year.

“During the week, you’re sitting down and talking to people about how much they’re saving for their retirement, talking about what their goals are. And on the weekend, you are out on a shooting range with a .50 caliber machine gun firing at tanks in the distance. It’s quite a change from one to the other.”

Powers has been in the US Navy Reserves for 11 years, none like the last year when he has commanded a Reserves unit that supports security and diplomatic details in Africa - and has done so virtually from Savannah.

“What we do looks a lot like what everyone else has done for the last year. There are a lot of Microsoft Teams meetings where we can see each other face-to-face and that is good because it’s really important to see the other person and remind yourself of what they look like and see them in what they’re doing. But all these collaborative tools are ones we have used for years in the Navy.”

Powers’ US Africon J5 is not located in Africa where it is helping. But this year, the remote nature of his Reserves work has been magnified.

“My current role has me in charge of a group of 10 other sailors who support US-Africa Command and we go over there to support with strategy and policy out of Stuttgart, Germany to support initiatives on the continued of Africa related to African militaries. We do a lot of work with embassies and security cooperation ... as the leader of a unit of people, it’s not too dissimilar to leading people in the civilian workforce. You have to figure out what makes them tick, how they are going to work to the best of their capabilities and help them be better at what they’re trying to accomplish.”

And if there is a difference in the work, this WTOC Community Champion tries to flip from the norm it by making his Reserves job routine through constant preparation while getting genuinely excited helping folks prepare for retirement.

“When you’re working with 401K, you can reach so many more people at a given time and you can make a difference in so many live ... to help people see that the decisions they make now can make such a difference for them down the road, that’s what makes 401K exciting.”

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