Will Cross

Scrum Master & IT Project Manager, Navy Federal Credit Union

Meet Will Cross.

U.S. Army Officer turned transformational agile leader, Will, is blazing his trail at Navy Federal Credit Union in Northern Virginia.

Since joining the U.S. Army in 1994, Will has served his country in a number of ways from managing tactical reconnaissance overseas to building talent management software to leading a platoon in Iraq as an Airborne Infantry Combat Rifle Platoon Leader. Today, Will serves veterans, active service members and military families all over the world with his team at Navy Federal Credit Union (NCFU).

Fast Facts
  • Industry Financial Services

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority sat down with Will to learn more about his history-making position at Navy Federal (more on that later), his experience transitioning out of the military and into a civilian career, and why all roads led him to Northern Virginia.

Thanks for sitting down with us, Will. So, what brought you to Northern Virginia in the first place?

About a decade ago, I received my first assignment to Northern Virginia. I served in a few different roles here on and off for the past ten years: I worked on the Department of the Army staff, I was a student at Fort Belvoir’s satellite campus for the United States Army’s Command and General Staff College, and I helped to build the Army’s talent management software.

Why did you choose to stay in the region once you transitioned out of your role in the military?

Northern Virginia—aside from being beautiful—is the top area in the nation for federal employment. It’s also a thriving tech hub with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, the list goes on. From an employment perspective in the tech industry, that’s a definite reason why I would want to work here. Regarding reasons why I would want to live here, Northern Virginia is home to the No. 1 fittest city in America: Arlington. This may be attributed to the area’s adoption of bike lanes, parks, and fitness facilities. The area is home to more than 500 trails not including the Shenandoah National Park. Another reason to live here would be the top-ranked schools spanning for pre-school to high school. I could go on, but Northern Virginia has everything that you need to further your personal life, your professional life, and that of your family’s.

Can you speak to what it was like transitioning out of the military and into your civilian career in the region?

Northern Virginia was a great place to transition out of the military for several reasons. First, you can find dozens—if not hundreds—of advocates who can and want to help you…whether it’s helping to obtain your Veteran’s Affairs disability rating to utilizing your Post-9/11 GI Bill which helps cover costs for school or job training, or simply finding a friend to talk to who knows exactly what you’re going through.

There are also a lot of support systems thanks to our proximity to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Ft. Belvoir right here in Northern Virginia. There really are ample opportunities for every transitioning service member to find assistance for their health, wellness, and their professional future, such as participating in the DoD SkillBridge program or the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, as I did.

What exactly is the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program and how did your fellowship impact your career at Navy Federal Credit Union?

The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program provides transition service members and military spouses with opportunities for professional development, resume and interview preparation, salary negotiation, and a vast network of both peers and host companies. Furthermore, Hiring Our Heroes advocates for you, the service member or military spouse, as opposed to the host company. In other words, their goal is to set you up for success no matter where you end up after you finally take off your uniform. This program is actually how I got my foot in the door at Navy Federal Credit Union just over two years ago – I started as a fellow at Navy Federal, and I accepted their offer of full-time employment upon completion of the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program.

Navy Federal has provided me peace of mind in my transition. I mean, how could I not seek employment at an organization where the members are the mission—and those members comprise the population that is near and dear to my heart: veterans, service members and military families. Also, since its founding in 1933, no one has ever been laid off—not even during the pandemic.

Fast-forward to present day, what is your current role at Navy Federal Credit Union?

I’m an agile leader at Navy Federal. My teams and I develop software that enables Navy Federal’s employees to support our members. As an agile leader, I lead our organization’s agile transformation, I facilitate cross-functional engagements and meetings, and I coach and mentor scrum and agile teams.

How does your time in the service intersect with your time at NFCU?

In the military, we’re very enthusiastic about wanting to help. One of the ways I am able to do that at Navy Federal is by way of our Veterans Initiative Steering Committee and Events Planning Sub-committee. We want all employees to always remember that our members are the mission—that is our mission—to cater to this public.

I wanted to continue an honorable profession once I took off my military uniform. What better vocation than to enrich the lives of veterans, service members and military families? That is what we attempt to do for all our members and employees.

Switching gears here, we have to ask: What is your perfect weekend in Northern Virginia?

I would start off a perfect Saturday morning hiking at Mt. Vernon, even walk around George Washington’s home, or get in some hiking on the trails at Great Falls.

Then, in the afternoon, I would take my family to a museum such as the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., or the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly to get the kids out and engaged (and walk around so the kids are tired out when we get home!).

Finally, I would go on a date with my lovely wife to one of the high-end movie theaters with reclining seats and indulge in an (adult) beverage. That would be the perfect Saturday!

Finally, what makes Will Cross a trailblazer in Northern Virginia?

I am a trailblazer because I am the first Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellow to seek employment at Navy Federal Credit Union upon completion of the fellowship program. I hope to be the start of an influx of veterans and military spouses to join the ranks of Navy Federal Credit Union where we serve the military community, because “Our Members Are the Mission!”