Danielle C. Tenconi
USAG DAEGU, South Korea - Service members and their families often face many challenges while meeting the tough demands of military service. The constant moves, deployments and separations can be stressful. Turning that stress into something positive is a talent many experienced military spouses possess.
Danielle C. Tenconi, a native of London, England, and spouse of Maj. Todd Turner, executive officer of the 25th Transportation Battalion, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, found her niche in spinning the challenging aspects of military service into positive community outreach.
The 36 year-old military spouse, and mother to five year-old Wyatt and two year-old Cullen, works full time managing her own marketing business as a marketing consultant, and has earned master’s degrees in communication and business, and uses her skills to help other military spouses in her community.
“I allocate about 20% of my time to working with entrepreneurs, particularly military spouse entrepreneurs” Said Tenconi. “That’s my passion,” she added.
She was nominated for Military Spouse of the Year during the program’s 2017 spouse of the year competition which is offered and managed by an insurance company based in Leavenworth, Kansas that accepts nominations for all U.S. military branches.
Her efforts and community involvement earned her the title of spouse of the year for Korea, and she represented all military spouses on the peninsula during the competition. Her nomination at the Korea level placed her in the running to compete for the title of the overall MSOY.
Add the time she spends overseeing the local military thrift store, creating and leading focus groups, sharing resources, organizing Family Readiness Group activities and volunteering as the president of the Daegu Civilian & Spouses Club, it’s clear she’s a full time champion for her community and the military spouse.
As one can imagine, things haven’t always been easy or without its challenges. Tenconi’s has had her own struggles and sacrifices that have deeply affected her own endeavors as a mother and a military spouse who’s had to endure multiple moves, to include being stationed overseas.
“Before departing for Korea, I had a long-term successful business and I lost a lot of my clients due to the relocation,” said Tenconi. “I was at a bit of a loss really and I had to change my business model a lot.”
On top of her own personal challenges, Tenconi understands that she must also consider the tremendous responsibilities of today’s Army leaders, like her husband.
“It’s hard in the military, especially when you’re in a leadership role, because your demand of time is 24 hours a day,” said Tenconi. “It’s not a traditional job with traditional requirements.”
It’s this knowledge, 14 years of experience through seven moves, two deployments, all while raising a family, that propelled Tenconi’s motivation to help other spouses who face the same kind of challenges while supporting their loved one’s service to the nation.
“I wanted to share my own experience within my own community,” she said. “The military community is very important to me and I think it’s important to us as a family, that we do everything we can, to leave the community we live in a better place.”
Understanding how the careers of military spouses are sometimes placed on the back burner to accommodate the demanding nature of military service, Tenconi is determined to shake up the status quo.
“I’m really passionate about helping military spouses grow their own businesses or gain employment,” Tenconi said. “That’s a real hot subject for me and I’m very career minded and very passionate about keeping your career while being a military spouse.”
Tenconi’s volunteer work in her community has made a difference, ultimately leading to her nomination for the MSOY. Even with her newfound status, Tenconi remains humble and attributes her action in the community to her mentors.
“I’ve had a number of mentors in senior military spouses, and had I not had them, I wouldn’t be volunteering the way that I do, I wouldn’t be giving as much energy to the community,” said Tenconi. “They are the people who truly inspired me to invest in my community because it’s the best thing for everybody.”
In a congratulatory letter sent to Tenconi, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley wrote, “Your story is symbolic of all of the sacrifice found in Families of our Army spouses, and is truly inspiring. Your hard work and dedication make a true difference. The Army community is a better place because of your efforts.”
Tenconi was recognized in the past for her passion and efforts helping others succeed in her community. She was nominated and chosen to represent Army spouses for the state of Virginia in the 2013 MSOY competition, and had the honor to meet then, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, whom thanked Tenconi for her selfless service.
Although Tenconi was not selected as the overall 2017 MSOY, she expressed how humble she is to have been recognized as MSOY at the Korea level, but feels undeserving, due to so many people who quietly do incredible things for their community. Tenconi is honored to have represented military spouses across the Korean peninsula and will capitalize on the recognition she has gained to empower others.
“It gives me a platform to be able to share my story,” said Tenconi. “I want military spouses to know that there are opportunities in which to pursue their passions while still supporting their loved one’s service.”
The MSOY program’s purpose is to recognize the contributions of military spouses across all services who make significant contributions to their communities and to the nation, according to the program’s website. The annual competition allows military spouses to be nominated by all Americans.