NMSN Magazine Spring 2018

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Photo Credit: Trish Alegre-Smith for National Military Spouse Network.

May 30, 2018, Vol. 6, Issue 1

A Seat at the Table www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org



8 A Seat at the Table

14 What’s your brand story?

16 8 Reasons Why Military Spouses Make Natural Business Leaders

20 When Jobs in Your Industry are Scarce

22 5 Ways to Accelerate Your Job Search For Your PCS

24 Re-Entering the Workforce

26 Avoid these BRS Traps

29 Military Spouse Return to Work Success Stories: In Their Own Words

32 Time and Productivity Hacks for Milspouse Entrepreneurs

34 Try, Try Again – How to reengage when your first attempt went sideways No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the Publisher.

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President’s Letter


Sue Hoppin

A SEAT AT THE TABLE Last year we focused on “Embracing the Possible”, encouraging our military spouse professionals to open up their aperture to look at opportunities they may otherwise have dismissed because it didn’t necessarily align with their career trajectory. Don’t we all have the tendency to keep our heads down and just start plugging away? While that’s great, it means we also miss out on what’s outside our periphery and outside our comfort zone is where the magic happens.

This year, our theme is “Grab a Seat at the Table”. To help us flesh out what this means, we convened a group of thought leaders in our community and spoke about what it means and how we can make our way to the Table. Read what they had to say on page 8.

You’ll find this year’s theme woven through all of our events, so join us and learn more about what it takes to grab a seat at the table. And for those who can’t make it to the east coast, we are pleased to partner with our friends at USAA to present TWO of our signature military spouse career summits in 2018. First up will be our Rocky Mountain Summit in Colorado Springs, CO June 11th and 12th. Then we’ll close out the fall with our 8th Annual Capital Summit presented by USAA in the metro DC area October 12th and 13th.

For more information and to register, go to www.milspousesummit.com. We hope to see you at a summit!

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CAROL BOWSER is the president

JANET FARLEY offers military

SUE HOPPIN is the founder and

of Conflict Management Strategies Inc. and is an expert in workplace conflict - what creates it and how to resolve it. While she HATES arguments, she loves maintaining sanity and increasing production by jumping into conflict to fully resolve it. “…What I really like is listening to people’s stories and working outside the legal system to repair workplace relationships…” She received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law and her Mediation Training through Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution. Carol is a speaker, trainer, and consultant for employers on how to avoid workplace conflict.

service members and their families her own brand of straight-forward career management and job search advice. Janet is the author of the Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide, 2nd Edition, the Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success and she writes the JobTalk column for Stars and Stripes Newspaper. She is also the Home Front columnist for the Military Officer’s of America (MoAA) and contributing editor to BradleyMorris, Inc.,’s Civilian Job News. “… As a Marine Corps brat and Army wife... making that positive difference for military service members and their families seemed like the right direction for me…”

president of the National Military Spouse Network, a consultant on military family issues and the co-author of, “A Family’s Guide to the Military for Dummies”. Before founding the NMSN, Sue served as the first deputy director for spouse outreach for a military affiliated non-profit with a 375,000+ membership. She is a recognized subject matter expert on military spouse and family issues and has spoken to audiences nationwide ranging from installation career events to leadership training sessions and national conferences.

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Sue holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Oklahoma and a post graduate certificate in non-profit management from Georgetown University.

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JOYCE NEAVE is an authority on


FRED WELLMAN is a retired

fashion and style. Joyce has been empowering clients for over twenty years. As the owner of That Mom Inc, and now JOYCE NEAVE style group, her work has been featured in the Washington Post, theWashington Times, Washingtonian Magazine, and Bethesda Magazine among others. Joyce has been featured on WUSA9 News highlighting her wardrobe consulting practice and providing viewers with valuable insights.

in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields for 10+ years. She has provided resume development strategies to job seekers worldwide with various backgrounds and experience levels. In April 2011, Amy launched Schofield Strategies. She has appeared in numerous media sources delivering resume tips, including GI Jobs, Business Talk Radio, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, Army Wife Talk Radio, and Blue Star Families. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award. Amy holds an elite Academy Certified Resume Writer credential.

Army officer turned serial and social entrepreneur. He is a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Kennedy School serving 22 years in the Army as an aviator and public affairs officer and four combat tours. He is the Founder and CEO of ScoutComms, a B Corp communications and advocacy firm focused on veterans and military families. He and his wife Crystal also co-own Ladyburg Bath and Body Apothecary, a growing handmade bath and body retail boutique with located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Joyce styles both women and men and is a consultant for several media companies, associations, newspapers, and online magazines. Joyce and her team keep clients current with fashion trends while maintaining a classic, timeless look. Joyce Neave style group collaborates with a network of professionals providing a wide range of services including makeup artists, hair stylists, men’s grooming specialists, photographers, and our preferred tailors.

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In addition to serving as the Entrepreneur in Residence for NMSN, Fred also serves on the National Board of Directors for the National Desert Storm War Memorial and the Board of Advisors for No One Left Behind.

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JULIE WATERS was lucky enough to choose a career that easily transfers between employers as her husband’s assignments moved them from city to city. She holds a special interest in career building for military spouses as she feels it is important to have something personal outside of our military lifestyle. Over the last 13 years, Julie Waters has held various Human Resource positions starting her career at FHC Health Systems in Norfolk, Virginia, then moving to Landrum Professional Services in Pensacola, Florida, Cambridge Health Alliance Physicians Organization in Cambridge,

Massachusetts, and the Military Officers Association of America in Alexandria, Virginia where she served as the Director of Human Resources. Julie currently resides in Spokane, Washington where she is the Human Resources and Operations Manager for a law firm. Julie was born and raised in Washington State. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English and earned an MS in Human Resources Management from Troy University. She is also a certified Professional in Human Resources.

DR. KRISTA WELLS is a certified professional coach dedicated to empowering military spouses. In her private practice, she focuses on improving her clients’ health, increasing their wealth, and strengthening their relationships. In addition to her private clients, Krista offers keynote speeches, workshops for organizations and military bases, and writes for various military publications. She recently launched The Military Spouse Show podcast in an effort to expand her reach and connect with the broader military spouse community.

Interested in writing for us? Contact us at info@milspousenetwork.org 6 | NMSN Magazine


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Photo Credit: Trish Alegre-Smith for National Military Spouse Network.

A Seat at the Table BY CACHET PRESCOTT


n the world of business and career, professionals are constantly vying for a “seat at the table”. Few conversations, however, are had about what it actually takes to get to and maximize time in this seemingly elusive space that serves as a symbol of credibility, influence, power and decision-making. So, what does it mean to have a “seat at the table” … particularly within the military spouse community? To find out, I recently took to the table to converse with five female leaders within our community to tap into their valuable insight and perspective on this important conversation. 8 | NMSN Magazine

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Leslye Arsht, Co-Founder and Chairman, Standardworks, Inc (formerly Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy) Rory Brosius, Military Families Advisor (formerly Deputy Director of Joining Forces) Maggie Hahn, Military Affairs Relationship Director, Military Advocacy (Spouses & Families), USAA Sue Hoppin, Founder and President, National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) Suzie Schwartz, Vice President, Military Spouse Programs, Victory Media


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What does “a seat at the table” mean to you and your professional endeavors? Leslye: To me “a seat at the table” means that you’re an equal and welcome participant in any discussion or debate on any topic, that your “position” whether as a military spouse or the head of a small nonprofit, as a public official or a private citizen offers a perspective and usually an expertise that is valuable to share and to listen to. Rory: To me, a seat at the table means two things: representation and responsibility. On representation, I think diversity and inclusion are critical to our success—not just as military spouses, but as leaders. That means when you make it to the table, you should seek to populate it with people who don’t necessarily look like you, think like you or have the same background that you do. Diversity of thought and experience can breed innovation and it is so important! On responsibility, I believe that when you make it to the table, you represent more than just yourself, and you owe it to those you speak for to be prepared and passionate. My former boss, Mrs. Obama once said in a speech, “when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” I am such a believer in that sentiment, and believe that as military spouses we have such an amazing opportunity to support one another and bring more of our voices to the table.

else. The idea that military spouses will not be able to keep a job very long, as they will be moving, is ridiculous in this current job climate. What are the biggest gains that you’ve seen in the military spouse employment landscape? Leslye: I think the biggest gains for spouses has come in the explosion in virtual hiring and virtual jobs through platforms like LinkedIn; followed by jobs in tech that are portable like coding that you can do from anywhere or careers you acquire through certifications, as a result of short form courses. It’s a benefit that the economy is finally growing again and more jobs are being created so I hope that milspouses are emboldened to go after their dream jobs. I like to think they will benefit from a greater public awareness that military spouses are an undervalued national treasure and that if one interviews for a job today as a military spouse, they will be sought after for their key characteristics, being hardworking, persistent and dependable employees.

Maggie: A seat at the table is a fantastic opportunity to ensure every military spouse has a voice when it comes to professional endeavors. In my role at USAA, I interact with thousands of military spouses all over the country and I can bring their feedback to the table to ensure their voices are heard. As an employer, USAA is doing what we can to not only hire the talent but also work with other industry leaders to do the same. Sue: A seat at the table is an opportunity to provide our unique perspective and be a part of the discussion. Those with a “seat” represent the groups they come from (like fellow milspouses), and that seat comes with great responsibility. Suzie: A seat at the table has always been equal opportunity for military spouses. I remember when people would honestly check your car for a base/ military sticker to see if you were a military spouse. I want to be given the same opportunities as anyone MAY 2018


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Rory: While I definitely think there is a long way to go—we have seen growth in programs designed to support the economic opportunities of our military spouses. We’ve seen states acknowledge and begin to address the issues faced by spouses in occupations that require a license or credential and we’ve seen companies step up to hire milspouses through DoD’s Military Spouse Employment Program. Programs like NMSN and Hiring Our Heroes are working with spouses to ensure that all of their experiences are reflected as professional experience and preparing them for the job market, or sometimes a career reinvention. The fact is though, so many families need a dual income that we have to address this issue more comprehensively. It isn’t just nice for a spouse to have a job, for many it is a necessity, and it can also be deciding factor in whether a service

member decides to continue a military career. This retention issue is a national security concern, and we have to address it as such.

career advancement. Happily, we were able to make progress on both Leslye Arsht, even before I became the DUSD. Co-Founder and Chairman, Standardworks, Inc. The Army had started a spouse Formerly Deputy Undersecretary of Military employment program but it was Community and Family Policy nascent. We began discussions with the Army, the other military services and Military.com, a very new online our young troops and to the worries How did you forge your path to the “affinity” service to help us create table? they have about their families back a DoD spouse “portal” with their home. It’s hard to believe, but it was Well, I’ve had a blessed life; I’ve sat members… this was SO NEW and then, 15 years ago, that I began my at many different tables in different sounds so quaint now but many journey beside military spouses in sectors. I started in government people who had been working on their yearning for more stable and right out of college with a focus on this issue saw this new technology rewarding careers. And, it was being communications and public policy. as a way of scaling this program with the troops downrange that gave I’ve always been interested in the that years later became Military power to my voice in support of their intersection between public policy Spouse Employment Partnership spouses and children, once I was back and how policy affects people’s (MSEP). We also started the pilot for in the Pentagon. lives and I was able to grow my Military Spouse Career Advancement knowledge of how organizations Tell us what the military spouse Accounts (MYCAA). work and how people are motivated. employment landscape was like when Simultaneously, we began work on the In mid-career, I shifted my focus you first became the Deputy Under Military Interstate Children’s Compact from communications to education. Secretary for Military Community and Commission (MIC3) which (eventually) After working at a University and Family Policy (DUSD/MCFP). got all 50 states to agree to handle the US Department of Education, I I started in the State Liaison Office certain transition issues in standard co-founded a non-profit education of MCFP. It was a new office in ways (although the Commission consultancy designed to help parents OSD that represented an important overseeing this is still working on understand what a good school looks revelation that many issues military implementation) and we received like and to help schools, districts families endured were created at authority for DoDEA to start awarding and states create more of them. It the state level and those issues Partnership Grants to schools with was from that position, that I was were exacerbated by the excessive high military populations. All of these recruited by the WH and DoD, to mobility in military life. The issues programs created a solid foundation go as a civilian to Iraq (as part of a I was to focus on initially had been for the Joining Forces efforts of the team) to assist in the rebuilding of Obama Administration to build on and the Iraqi school system. My 9 months intractable: student academic in Iraq was my first introduction to transitions and military spouse they did. 10 | NMSN Magazine


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Initiative brought a lot of corporations to the table around the value of hiring military spouses. From that initiative, corporate leaders emerged who continue to beat the drum on the importance of hiring military spouses. On the entrepreneurship front, NMSN is joined by organizations like IVMF and BunkerLabs in providing resources, programs and support for military spouse entrepreneurs.

Maggie: Over the last decade, I have watched the focus sharpen addressing military spouse employment. In the past, military spouses would hide the fact they were a military spouse. Today, we are watching military spouses celebrate the skillsets, education and experience they can offer any employer. Sue: There have been so many gains, particularly over the last decade. Mrs. Obama’s Joining Forces

Suzie: I’ve seen so many gains that it’s unbelievable! In my mind, the biggest change came the day the DOD launched the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. On that day in 2011, I sat in the US Chamber of Commerce as almost 80 companies agreed to actively seek to hire military spouses. I honestly sat there and cried huge tears. In what areas are the voices of the military spouses still missing? Leslye: I think it’s the nature of the times to never be satisfied with our current station; we want things to keep improving. There have so many groundbreaking changes in the last decade or two. I think our

Rory Brosius, Military Families Advisor Formerly, Deputy Director of Joining Forces

How did you forge your path to the table? I think like most military spouses, I had a non-traditional route to the table. I reinvented my career several times before I applied to a White House internship when I was almost 30 years old. I applied for the program at the urging of a graduate school professor and thought I had no chance at actually getting the position. I specifically applied to an internship in the Office of the First Lady or the Office of the Vice President, where Dr. Biden’s staff was assigned, because I was so excited about the work they were doing through Joining Forces. Long story short, that internship in the Fall of 2012 turned into a full-time staff role as the Deputy Director of Joining Forces a few months later. MAY 2018

I had a fair amount of imposter syndrome going on when I started as a staffer—was I smart enough, did I have the right education, did I really belong? I certainly had my fair share of blunders and if I’m honest, tears in the bathroom, but I followed the advice I had received from a mentor, “just put your head down and do good work.” In my role I felt a tremendous responsibility to our community, and I worked hard to know our issues backwards and forwards, know the relevant data sets for those issues, and to speak up as an advocate when I had the opportunity. Why did Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden feel that the Joining Forces initiative was such an important cause? The idea for Joining Forces came about on the campaign trail in nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

2008, as Mrs. Obama was hosting roundtables with working mothers. The voices of military spouses were heard during those roundtables, and she felt it was a voice that was unfamiliar to so many Americans. When then-Senator Obama selected Senator Biden as his running mate, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden were chatting backstage about what they would work on if the Obama/ Biden ticket was successful, they immediately landed on supporting military families. They felt as though we needed to build awareness around the needs and experiences of service members, veterans and their families, and Joining Forces was borne. To Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden, support of military families was an inherently nonpartisan issue. They sought to forge relationships and opportunities that would benefit the military and veteran communities. In recent months, I’ve joined the Biden Foundation as the Military Families Advisor, and I’m thrilled to see the focus on these issues continue. NMSN Magazine

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youngest military spouses still have great challenges in balancing the demands of the military lifestyle and young families. I think there is still an opportunity for spouses to identify programs that have outlived their usefulness and identify new opportunities that are just emerging. For instance: How many spouses could be interested in tackling a career in cyber security, where there is such a national need for those skills? Are we overlooking them as a possible talent pool? My guess is, yes. Rory: I’m so excited to see military spouses running for elected office at all levels! This is a place where I feel that the voice of the military spouse is underrepresented but definitely needed! Maggie: There’s still work to be done on military spouse unemployment and underemployment, and leaders from across the country are focused on

Maggie Hahn, Military Affairs Relationship Director, Military Advocacy (Spouses & Families), USAA How did you forge your path to the table? In my role as a Military Affairs Relationship Director, responsible for Military Spouse and Family Advocacy initiatives, I have had the tremendous opportunities partnering with great teams like the National Military Spouse Network to ensure military spouses have the information they need to make informed decisions about their futures if employment is their desire. Shared information is so very powerful and NMSN makes brings together top talent to each event with the goal of empowering military spouses to get involved in their futures.

what can be done on both fronts. At USAA, we will continue to advocate for the military spouse and sponsor organizations that are empowering and enriching the lives of the military family. Sue: There hasn’t been a quality, comprehensive study of spouse employment since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Given that the demographic is drastically different, this is vital step in the process before we can effectively move forward with any legislation on the topic of spouse employment. The reality is that you can’t get anything funded unless you actually study the demographic. Also, conversations need to be had about the expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include military spouses as a protected class. Really heartened by the legislation that has been introduced, but it’s been tried before and failed. Suzie: I’d like to see spouses helping spouses and not so much looking for others to help them. Quality relationship building is key. Any last tips for spouses who are looking for more leadership opportunities? Leslye: I’ve been amazed over the years at the variety of activities and programs that mil spouses volunteer in. In my Mother’s era, that’s what women did. They built our entire civic infrastructure; anything that spouses do in their volunteer lives they can turn into career capabilities. And, whenever possible, you should do what you are good at and love to do. I think that we live in a time when you need to be bold; identify where you want to go and work hard, usually with others, to get it. These days, I love Teddy

USAA’s sponsorships allow many military spouses to have a voice. Why is this so important to the organization? How do other businesses and corporations benefit when they invest in military spouse employment initiatives? USAA is committed to working with other industry leaders to assist with creating spouse employment initiatives. It is very important to ensure we also take a look at retention efforts once hired into a company. At USAA we have an Employee Resource Group dedicated to creating a soft landing for military spouses new to the company, consisting of monthly meetings dedicated to military life events such as deployment, reintegration, caregiving and PCS. 12 | NMSN Magazine


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Roosevelt’s saying: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Rory: I honestly owe nearly every leadership position I have held to a mentor. So take the time

Suzie Schwartz, Vice President, Military Spouse Programs, Victory Media

How did you forge your path to the table? I tried several careers until finding my home in the hospitality industry. I then made myself invaluable and was able to be hired back 3 times by Hyatt Hotels, each time I returned to the DC area. Even then, I told them that military spouses make great employees. Tell us what the military spouse employment landscape was like as someone who has lived through the challenges of balancing your own career with your husband’s service. I had no idea what to expect. I’m the last of the Pre-Air Force Blue Ribbon Panel. When my husband was the Commander of a flying squadron, I found a job in a local hotel. I kept it secret as that was frowned upon. When I accidentally let it slip, my husband was called into his boss’ office and told I must quit my job. My husband said he would not ask me to quit and said they could relieve him of command instead. That did not happen. The decision was sent to the 2 Star Command level and we were left in place. They said we were young and we would learn. After that, I was always able to work when we returned to the DC area, and then I chose not to work when he held command positions. It worked for both of us. No regrets. MAY 2018

to foster mentoring relationships. Mentors are the folks that will foster growth in you as a person and as a professional. Most importantly, your mentor can be your most informed critic your and best cheerleader. Maggie: Celebrate the fact you are a military spouse. As a military spouse friendly employer, USAA knows the talent a spouse brings to the workplace. Military spouses are hardworking, dedicated, passionate multitaskers that get the job done. I always recommend having mentors within and outside the organization to give you valuable insight into leadership opportunities and advancing your personal brand. Networking is instrumental in seeking advancement in any career field. Sue: Stay prepared and actively seek out opportunities to contribute. Come from a place of “yes” and help others when and where you can. Remember that while there are many amazing things about having a seat at the table, understand that there are some things that can’t be taught about being there. You’ll only learn the lessons as you experience them, and the bigger the table (or the more coveted the seat), the more isolated you might feel. Mitigate this by finding mentors and cultivating those relationships. Finally, find your tribe. You don’t have to be in it all alone if you don’t want to be. Suzie: The life of the military spouse is wonderful and unique. Make your own path, but don’t resist or forget the great military community. Embrace it ALL. Use all of the resources out there. Don’t be afraid to look and ask. There are so many people and organizations that want to assist, but they cannot assist if they don’t know you need help. Use the leadership opportunities on your installation, too.


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What’s your brand story? BY FRED WELLMAN


used to start a lot of conversations by declaring loud and clear I’m not a ‘branding guy’ but a ‘story guy’ back in the early days of my business. Anything about branding would make my head hurt; from color palettes to art the whole thing confused me. I would argue over and over…I’m not an artsy guy…I’m a guy who tells stories! Then I woke up and realized that a good brand is a good story and matching your brand with your story was the real foundation of success. Your brand for your company starts with your story and grows from there. What exactly is your

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story? How did you start this business? What’s your passion? Who is it you are trying to sell your products or services too? What is that makes your company so special? At Ladyburg Bath and Body Apothecary, my wife Crystal’s incredible manufacturing and retail company, we started off with a fun kind of funky ladybug approach playing off the name, with lots of elements that were red with black polka dots, ladybug icons, and decorations around the store on that theme. It confused a lot of customers. What was the place? Was it a cute little gift shop? Gardening? What?


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Over time we realized that more and more of the products we sold, we were making right in our home and eventually in a kitchen at the shop. The handcrafted movement became bigger and people wanted to know the folks making their products and have faith that quality ingredients were going onto their skin. The “apothecary” portion of the name just started jumping out at us as the real story of the company. Simply, the story wasn’t the funky polka dots but the family members who were personally making every product we sold like an old fashioned apothecary used to mix medicines and cure-alls in our historic town. Our brand didn’t match our story. So, we went back to the drawing board and started emphasizing the handcrafted elements of the brand. We got rid of the ladybugs and got a new logo that was more like an old time wax seal of just the initials ‘LB’ much like how an apothecary would seal the herbs and bottles of medicine with a wax seal. Finally, our story matches our brand and sales have increased and brand understanding has gone up. Ask yourself, what is your brand story? Is it your personal approach to customer service? Is it how you make your products? Is it the level of technical knowledge you hold? Does your brand story match your business story and does it make sense to a new observer? One mistake we often see in the veteran owned business world is that the brand is your set-aside program. How many times have you gone to a government contractors website and the biggest logo is the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Certification stamp? Your brand shouldn’t be your contract vehicle. It should be what you do and how it’s different, that set aside is simply an access point and not who you are. The best first step is having a neutral observer look at your brand elements, website, social media sites, and/or shop for the first time and tell you their impressions. If their impressions don’t match up with what you do then you’ve got a disconnect that you need to address.

Fred Wellman is a retired Army officer turned serial and social entrepreneur. He is a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Kennedy School serving 22 years in the Army as an aviator and public affairs officer and four combat tours. He is the Founder and CEO of ScoutComms, a B Corp communications and advocacy firm focused on veterans and military families. He and his wife Crystal also co-own Ladyburg Bath and Body Apothecary, a growing handmade bath and body retail boutique with locations in Fredericksburg and Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

In the mean time…I know a great place to get soap and bath products made carefully by hand by some really nice folks with a guy who just loves telling stories all the time working on the weekends.

In addition to serving as the Entrepreneur in Residence for NMSN, Fred also serves on the National Board of Directors for the National Desert Storm War Memorial and the Board of Advisors for No One Left Behind.

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ome leadership, a term coined by my husband Dr. Richard Wells, occurs when a leader in a home takes control to actively move his or her family toward a vision. Home leaders are responsible for ensuring the educational, physical, and social development of all the people in one’s family, including children and adults. However, home leaders can take many forms for military families, including grandparents assuming temporary custody of their grandchildren for dually deployed couples, military widows/widowers singlehandedly raising kids, military spouses raising foster children, etc. While military spouses’ visions as home leaders differ greatly, the skills used to achieve health and happiness at home actually prove quite transferable to paid positions. Businessman and writer Max DuPree defines leadership as inherently linked to our relationships, meaning that the parents and spouses among us are actively learning important leadership skills as we manage our families.

Over a decade ago, I made the career move from corporate recruiting to coaching, allowing me to help individuals hone the qualities that organizations seek while highlighting the many skills that my military spouse clients already possess. It is thus through a performance management lens that I share eight of the many competencies of home leaders that allow them to flourish in business environments. Skill #1: Vision

Home leaders are visionaries, task coordinators, and excellent communicators. We are both solutions-oriented and extremely well principled. We take care of ourselves while we take care of our teams.

Excellent leaders are visionaries; just think of animator and businessman Walt Disney, who once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” When I walked around the Magic Kingdom with my husband and my four children last month, I could almost feel how farseeing this man must have been, imagining his goals for Disney coming to fruition so clearly in his mind— that’s vision!

Organizations need more leadership, and the military spouse community is an excellent place to find these leaders. Perhaps that is why, increasingly, businesses and governments are doing more than simply acknowledging the strength of our spouse community—they are making conscious efforts to employ more of us in leadership roles.

Home leaders know what type of lifestyles they desire and are able to hold onto such visions long term. We are able to see what we want for our family’s future and take the necessary steps to help that vision manifest. We allow space for potential expansion, thinking beyond the realm of what seems possible now.

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the children support the mission. These savvy and flexible communication skills should never be underestimated. Skill #3: Solutions-Focused Mindsets While we are married to soldiers who have clear missions in mind, we often have strong callings of our own. As military spouses, we envision nurturing success at home and becoming fulfilled both as individuals and families. As home leaders, we are solutions oriented. Home leaders embrace the idea that what you focus on grows while also embracing unexpected changes. We understand that some things must be accepted while also recognizing that less obvious solutions often emerge when we expand our minds to creative possibilities. Home leaders approach problems with careful eyes, pinpointing appropriate solutions. We avoid getting wrapped up in the details and get the job done. As military spouses, we must be solutions-focused all the time, but we often don’t recognize how helpful this skill can be within today’s organizations. Skill #4: Self-Confidence Being able to hold a vision in one’s mind and manifest it daily and over a long period of time is a great skill for organizational leaders to possess and one that many of us unconsciously develop as military spouses. Companies need employees who can work toward things that are bigger than themselves, which is why military spouses are such a great fit for organizational culture. Skill #2: Communication Home leaders are also solid communicators, able to effectively articulate our values to others. We embrace service and live our lives in a vital way that inspires those around us. We act as role models, serving both our communities and children in an authentic manner that develops naturally. Home leaders communicate in different ways, often evolving along with their children’s growing ages and changing needs. This ability to communicate effectively is a skill that translates successfully into organizations. Ideas need to be communicated consistently across all organizational levels and explained effectively to each department as needed. Just as organizations make the biggest and most successful changes when everyone is on the same page, families change when both the parents and MAY 2018

Good leaders have faith in themselves and feel worthy of focusing on their goals. They are experts at “feeling the fear and doing it anyway,” as psychologist Susan Jeffers explains. Military spouses can manage change. They might feel wary of facing a first deployment, but my clients often share that they have learned to master the stages of deployment stress. Within corporations, mergers and acquisitions aren’t as scary to such leaders who can confidently manage change. While home leaders are often able to accept unexpected changes more effectively, this doesn’t mean that we neglect self-care. However, we can often expand and contract our own requirements based on the needs of others, another skill that translates well within organizational culture. Military spouses are accustomed to taking over many responsibilities when a spouse is deployed, whether it’s managing family finances or caring for one’s kids as a temporary single parent. We know how to ask for help and delegate efficiently. Oftentimes, organizations ask employees to wear multiple hats, sometimes even attending to their own jobs as well as those of others. As military spouses, we have essentially mastered this skill—we accept


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workplace skills and work experience—it simply wasn’t paid! Skill #6: Goal-Oriented Thinking Skilled home leaders set and attain goals. And, like in businesses, when these goals are met, we come up with new ones—we continuously expand our overall visions and work toward continued growth. This ability to decide what goals and action steps work in line with particular visions takes practice, which most of us have received by virtue of being military spouses! We are constantly signing up for schools trips and activities, decorating houses, and packing—all while maintaining family routines. Military spouses are regularly setting goals and measuring progress. We often develop goals to strive towards while our spouses are deployed, such as teaching our youngest to read, finding a meaningful job, or even training for a marathon. Spouses naturally set goals and measure their progress—thus organizations can benefit greatly from hiring such driven, goal-oriented individuals. Skill #7: Determination

what we need to do and know that we can get it done. Skill #5: Task Management Home leaders are skilled at multitasking in efficient, clever ways. We plan for the future while ensuring that ongoing tasks are in alignment with our values and goals. For example, my cousin Mindy never ceases to impress me with her ability to anticipate her kids’ and guests’ needs. She always has the perfect amount of food prepared and is able to delegate, ensuring that everything gets done simultaneously and no one is left unattended or hungry for long. It’s honestly leadership art! She manages her family and her time so well. However, like my cousin, many military spouses don’t give themselves enough credit when it comes to their ability to orchestrate simultaneous tasks and multitask effectively. I hear so many spouses express concern that they won’t be able to find jobs because they haven’t “worked” for a few years as they raised their children. I assure them that they have plenty of transferable 18 | NMSN Magazine

Whenever I am faced with a dilemma, whether big or small, I turn to research. I do some online searching, go to the library or buy books on the topic of concern, talk to other parents, and really seek out seasoned professionals until I have more answers than questions. Many military spouses I work with have the same high level of determination. This vigor is a great hidden organizational leadership skill—simply put, we see problems as opportunities for solutions. Once we’ve accepted that a problem must be solved and is changeable, we develop and implement wellconceived plans. In short, we not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Skill #8: Principles Military spouses are also quite principled. After all, we are making do without our partners for the betterment of our countries, while also learning military culture and minding the home front. Home leaders work to enact these principles in our households, while understanding both the big picture and complexities of individual situations. We help each child discover how to identify their unique values, express these principles, and weave them into the family’s landscape.


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Organizations appreciate employees who are familiar with their own values and those of the company they work for, while also being able to create a sense of continuity between the two. Companies that hire military spouses thus end up with successful leaders who truly believe in their employers. The Value of Military Spouses’ Experiences Workplaces today are facing rapid change as the economy, new regulations, and corporate cultures all influence companies’ bottom lines. In many ways, military spouses provide the solution to all of these needs: we are comfortable juggling two jobs, we are calm leaders, and we have strong ethics, allowing us to handle challenging situations. Military spouse employees can help their peers stay grounded during times of uncertainty because they have naturally honed these skills through supporting their families and spouses. We are used to working hard without a great deal of recognition and definitely know how to stretch limited resources, whether it be time or money.

As a military spouse myself and a career coach for other military spouses, I know that we are huge assets to our organizations. We should be sought after and invested in because our hidden skillsets are so transferable across multiple industries. We provide depth, strength, and stability. After all, heaving dealt with deployments and relocations, the real question is: what can’t we handle?

Krista Wells, Ph.D., professional speaker, writer, and a career coach, is The Military Spouse Coach® Krista runs a career coaching private practice that guarantees you will find a career you love in just three months, and works with the broader community of military spouses helping them find portable professionals they are passionate about; her former clients and colleagues rave about her work to boot. Listen to Krista’s NEW weekly radio show, The Military Spouse Show: www.militaryspouseradio.com that airs on the Armed Forces Network. Ready for career coaching, or interested in reaching out to Krista for your next spouse event? Go to: www.militaryspousecoach.com for more information.

Earn your graduate degree or certificate fully online from the #1 Public College in the South* *offering up to a master’s degree, ranked by U.S. News & World Report

MAY 2018


Learn more at citadel.edu/online NMSN Magazine

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When Jobs in Your Industry are Scarce BY: AMY SCHOFIELD, ACRW AND ACPW


oes this scenario sound familiar? You moved to a new location a few months ago. You have been searching for a job in your field since you moved there. You have not found a single job that aligns with your career goals or professional career level due to the scarcity of jobs within your industry in that location. You get frustrated.

while I am searching for a paid position; 2) Branch out and search for positions in another industry where I could use my transferable skills but also learn something new; or 3) Remain on the same path of job searching, finding nothing, and continuing to get frustrated. For the sake of your career, and sanity, let’s explore options 1 and 2 more in depth:

I personally have been in the exact same scenario on more than one occasion. At the time, I decided I had three options: 1) Seek out other types of opportunities within my career field (yes, most of which are unpaid) but would show hiring managers that I am passionate about that career field and also staying relevant

Option 1 – Seek out other types of opportunities within same career field: If you are dead set on staying in your career field, but cannot find a paid position, think about some things that you can do to make yourself more competitive for a future opportunity within your career field.

Volunteering is the first thing that comes to mind for many. If you go this route, make sure you seek out volunteering opportunities that are relevant to your field. During one of our moves where I could not find a paid position within my career field (human resources), I decided to volunteer for a nonprofit organization that focused on re-employment strategies. After volunteering at this organization for a couple of months, they decided to hire me as a paid member of their team. But volunteering is not the only way to make yourself more competitive when you cannot find a job in your field. Other options include signing up for a class, starting a blog or writing articles, or becoming a guest speaker. Taking professional development courses, whether it is solely one course or a series of classes that lead to a certification, is a great way to increase your skillset and stay competitive. Have you noticed a lot of job postings that require a PMP certification, but you don’t have one? Well, now may be the best time for you to start on that certification. Starting a blog or writing articles will help show your expertise within your career field – and may even lead to paid writing opportunities. Becoming a guest speaker will help build your credibility and your confidence. Each of these options look great on your resume as well as help you to get out there and network while

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you are continuing your search for paid employment. Option 2 – Branch out and search for positions in another industry: This option may be more difficult for you to think about doing, especially if you have been focused on one particular industry for your entire career. However, branching out into a different industry may be beneficial to you and might lead you to find something you are even more passionate about. My first career field was in government affairs, which aligned directly with my college degree – perfect, I thought! But, when I moved to a location that did not have many jobs within that industry, coupled with a devastating hurricane that hit the area the weekend right after I moved there, I realized I had to expand my job search to other career fields if I wanted to find paid employment. This is where focusing on your transferrable skillset comes into MAY 2018

play. Just because all of my experience was in the government affairs field did not mean I was only qualified for positions within that particular industry. Instead, I updated my resume to reflect skills and accomplishments that I had gained in that industry but tailored them to other skills needed within industries that were prevalent in my new location; one of which was human resources. At the time, I never held a position within a human resources department, but the hiring manager was so thrilled with my skillset and other accomplishments, that they hired me to fulfill one of their positions. And… come to find out, I thoroughly enjoyed the position within my new industry and I completely set out on a new career path leading me to where I am now and loving my job. I know how the frustration can set in of being in a new place and not being able to find a job in your industry. Hopefully my experiences can help you get out of that frustration zone and lead nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

you on the path to finding the right opening for you.

Amy Schofield is an Academy Certified Resume Writer and an Academy Certified Profile Writer with 10+ years of experience in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields. She is the founder of Schofield Strategies, LLC TM, an organization that provides resume development and job search strategies to job seekers of various backgrounds and experience levels from around the world. As an activeduty military spouse, she is passionate about helping transitioning veterans and military spouses reach their career goals. Her work is featured in numerous online and print media, including GI Jobs, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, Army Wife Talk Radio, NextGen Milspouse, and Blue Star Families. She is a contributor to Modernize Your Job Search Letters: Get Noticed… Get Hired. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award. NMSN Magazine

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5 Ways to Accelerate Your Job Search For Your PCS BY AMY SCHOFIELD, ACRW


he busy summer PCS season is approaching, which usually means finding a new job at your next duty station. But finding a new job is a daunting task to many people and is oftentimes a job in itself. Where do you begin? When should you begin? The below list will help you accelerate your job search so that you can focus on other things for your PCS. 1. Narrow down your ideal job. Ideally, when you initially receive a new set of orders, you should do this right away. It is generally easier to search for a job when you know what kind of job you 22 | NMSN Magazine

want. Do you want to stay in the same field? Do you want to explore a new field? How far are you willing to commute? Do you want to work for a larger company? Are you more content at a small company? Narrow your job search focus by answering these questions. Once you have narrowed down you ideal job, start researching companies in your new geographic location that match your dream job. 2. Update your resume. Spend the time now to update your resume. Make sure it is reflective of who you are and includes up to date information.


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Did you learn a new skill at your recent job? Have you obtained a new certification since you last updated your resume? Are you now proficient with a new computer program that you weren’t proficient in before? Take some time to review your resume to see what information needs to be updated. If you have not updated your resume in the past few years, you will also want to study current resume trends. Start applying to jobs before your PCS. If you do not have an address for your next duty station yet, you can include the city and state and mention that you are currently in transition to that city within your cover letter. 3. Revise your LinkedIn profile to reflect your resume. Once you have updated your resume, spend an hour or two reviewing your LinkedIn profile. Is your profile lacking information that really shows off who you are? Do you have all of the fields filled out to make your profile complete? Have you double checked your security and visibility settings recently? Change your geographic setting to your new location. Once you update your LinkedIn profile, reach out to 10 new connections. Bonus points if they are located in your new geographic area. Also join at least two new LinkedIn groups and start networking in those groups. 4. Connect with a recruiter or employment agency in your new location. Make an appointment with a local recruiter or employment agency upon arriving to your new duty station. This is important particularly if you have been applying to jobs but do not seem to be receiving calls for interviews or have been going on interviews but have not received a job offer. A recruiter or employment specialist at an employment agency in your new location will most likely have insider information to the local job market, know which companies are hiring, and have a working relationship with hiring managers. Also make sure to go to the military family support center at your new installation since they usually have a binder full of local job opportunities. Remember that temporary employment can always lead to fulltime placement, so don’t count that out either.

networking events, or volunteer opportunities. Look into your new local Chamber of Commerce, community college, or regional associations to see if there are any events that you can attend. Find local nonprofit associations or militaryaffiliated organizations located on or near your new installation to see if they have any volunteer opportunities. Each of these experiences will help you meet new people and will also help you maintain or even gain new skills that you can use in your career. Remember that looking for a job is oftentimes a job in itself, so set aside at least one to two hours each day to focus on your job search and vary your job search techniques. A combination of applying to jobs online, reaching out to connections on LinkedIn, connecting with recruiters, attending professional development events, and volunteering, will help you succeed. With the right plan in place, finding a job as you PCS will happen!

Amy Schofield, ACWR has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields for 10+ years. She has provided resume development and job search strategies to job seekers of various backgrounds and experience levels from around the world. Amy is the founder of Schofield Strategies, LLC TM. She has appeared in numerous media sources delivering resume tips, including National Military Spouse Network, GI Jobs, Business Talk Radio, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, Army Wife Talk Radio, and Blue Star Families. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award. Amy is one of only a small number of military spouses who hold an elite Academy Certified Resume Writer credential. She currently serves as the Resume Expert for the National Military Spouse Network. Need your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or bio updated? Contact Amy today.

5. Seek out professional development, networking events, or volunteer opportunities in your new location. Networking is key to your job search. But what if you do not know anyone in your new location? The easy answer to this is to look for professional development classes, MAY 2018


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Re-Entering the Workforce BY JANET FARLEY


ou can plan your future all you want to but sometimes things turn out differently. The detours can be endless. •

You choose to become a stay at home parent for those fleeting precious years. You move to a new duty station and grow ever so weary of job searching. You turn your attention to full time school thinking that is the path that calls you. Your world takes a turn for the surreal and you become a caregiver for a loved one. You are forced to sit life out and sort out your own physical, mental or emotional demons.

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Life, it would seem, happens to all of us and when it does, your career can be derailed by days, months and even years. When (and if) you finally decide to return to the work place, the obstacles may be daunting. •

• •

Your resume may be sorely outdated and costing you potential opportunities. Your skills may be rusty or worse, obsolete rendering you unmarketable. Your network may be full of cobwebs. You may not have a clue where to start or even what to do.

If you find yourself at the edge of a return to the working world, the following may help you. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

Revive your old resume or create a new one. You will need a competitive resume. If you have an old resume, review it and figure out what is worth saving and what isn’t. Assuming you’ve been out of a job for a while, you may need to get creative and construct a whole new resume that that highlights your skills and abilities over your work history. A combination or functional format may do the trick. Don’t neglect to include volunteer experiences. They most certainly count. If you’re confused about what to include on your resume, then give MAY 2018

it the acid test. Ask the following question: “Does X support my new direction?” If the answer is yes, it stays. If no, then it goes. Inventory your existing skill set. Identify and obtain those skills that are lacking. Looking over your old resume or creating a new one will give you the opportunity to assess your marketable skills. Compare the ones you have with the ones needed for the jobs you want today. If you see a big disconnect, then you may need to update your skills. •

Visit your local state labor department workforce center and inquire about free classes, state provided funding for re-training, onthe-job work experience and paid internships. Connect with the employment readiness program at the military family center on the installation nearest you.

Access Military OneSource and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program. Check out any area nonprofit organizations that offer employment assistance to service members, spouses and veterans. Sign up for a class or certification program at your local community college or military education center. Use MyCAA (if you’re eligible) to offset any costs or search out spouse-specific scholarships and grants.

fashioned networking, online and off. If you’ve been sequestered out of the work force for a while, you need to work extra hard to reenergize your network. • •

Step out from the shadows. You may be incredibly qualified and have all the skills you need to land a fantastic job but (and here’s the bitter truth), you’re not the only one. Your community is full of talented and qualified individuals. The difference between the ones who get hired and the ones who don’t comes down to good old

Actively participate in NMSN events (online and off). Volunteer in your target career field while you’re job searching. You’ll get to meet new people, learn new skills and add a new work narrative to your resume. It’s a win-win-win. Attend community based networking events. Mingle. Do the small talk. Be genuine. Reconnect with people from your past or people in your present who can potentially help you.

Work with a job coach and/or mentor. A job coach or mentor won’t get your job for you, but they can help you to get it for yourself faster. Consider hiring a job coach (the good ones are well worth the expense) or connect with one at the employment readiness program for free. A carefully selected and willing mentor, on the other hand, can also provide you valuable insight and wisdom.

Janet Farley, Ed.M. is an employment specialist at Mt Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the author of several books, most recently Mission Transition: Managing Your Career and Your Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). MAY 2018


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Sponsored Content



he new Blended Retirement System is now up and running. Although skepticism often accompanies change, in my mind, BRS holds some serious promise. The possibility of more military members benefiting, more servicemembers saving for their future, more interest in personal finances and more information and education (yes, some of it mandatory!) could all be positive effects of BRS. However, there are some potential traps you want to sidestep. Here are 5 that come immediately to mind:

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1. L etting Uncle Sam choose your tax treatment. The Thrift Savings Plan offers both Roth and Traditional options. The default option – your option if you do nothing – is the pretax traditional option. While this approach will reduce your taxable income today, many young servicemembers just kicking off their working career may be better served by contributing to the Roth TSP. The Roth option offers the potential to build a taxfree stream of income in


retirement, but you’ll have to visit myPay (or your service’s pay system) and choose to have your investments directed to the Roth TSP. And remember, government contributions to your TSP will always be to the traditional TSP. 2. L etting Uncle Sam elect how much you contribute. Those that join the military in 2018 or later, will be automatically signed up to contribute 3% into the TSP. I love this “auto-

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enrollment” feature because it’s going to create more participation. However, I would have preferred the default contribution be at least 5%. At this level, the participant would get the maximum government contribution of 5%. Don’t settle by just putting 3% into the TSP, shoot for at least 5% and better yet, 10% or more. And remember, no matter where you start today, you can increase your contribution over time. Periodic pay raises and promotions are a great time to boost what you’re contributing. 3. Q uestioning Uncle Sam’s wisdom. I like the new default TSP investment rolled out with BRS. Until now, the default investment election – again, your election if you did nothing – was the G fund. While safe and stable, the G fund is probably not appropriate for many servicemembers saving for retirement 40+ years in the future. For those who join the service in 2018 or later or are first-time TSP participants, the default option is changing to the age-appropriate Lifecycle fund; for someone born in 1983 or later, it will be the L 2050 fund. 4. O pting for the lump sum option. If I had to guess, I’d say the DoD was not overly excited about Congress’ requirement to offer a lump sum option as part of the BRS. That lack of enthusiasm translated into what I consider a poor value for servicemembers who elect to take the lump sum. In my opinion, without diving into a lot of detail, if you choose to take the lump sum you will MAY 2018

marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

be underpaid for what you’re giving up. 5. Q uit daydreaming during training. Don’t blow off financial training. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my mind has wandered during more than a few sessions of mandatory training – both here at USAA and during my time in the military. My hope is that won’t be the case for you and the required financial training will push the needle on financial readiness across the military. Take advantage.

Views and opinions expressed by members are for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as an endorsement by USAA. This material is for informational purposes and is not investment advice, an indicator of future performance, a solicitation, an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation for any security. It should not be used as a primary basis for making investment decisions. Consider your own financial circumstances and goals carefully before investing. Investing in securities products involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

The law concerning tax and retirement plans is complex, penalties are severe, and the laws of your state may differ. Consult your tax and legal advisers regarding your specific situation. The information contained is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional advice before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article in no way attempts to provide financial advice that relates to all personal circumstances. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates.

Joseph “JJ” Montanaro is a financial planner with USAA’s Military Affairs’ Advocacy Group and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional (CFP®). He is a native of Kansas City and graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. Montanaro has more than twenty years of experience as a financial planner. He served in the US Army for six years on active duty and retired as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. JJ’s financial advice has appeared in numerous outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. He writes monthly personal finance columns for Military Spouse Magazine and American Legion Magazine and hosts the USAA Money Drill podcast. NMSN Magazine

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IN YOUR NEW TOWN. MILITARY SPOUSE JOB FINDER TOOL Our job finder tool helps you navigate career changes and challenges that come with a PCS. Get access to résumé builders, job openings in your new city, and more. Nobody does more for those who serve.

Visit USAA.COM/MILITARYLIFE or call 800-531-8521

Membership eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. © 2018 USAA. 248948-0218 28 | NMSN Magazine


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Military Spouse Return to Work Success Stories: In Their Own Words


recently spoke at the MOAA Career Fair Military Spouse Track and shared some amazing military spouse return to work success stories that are now featured on our iRelaunch.com website. Here are the stories direct from military spouse “relaunchers”: Jennifer Pilcher is the CEO and Co-founder of MilitaryONEClick, a one stop shop of resources for military families. She co-founded her company after a five year career break.


“For years, I worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in various school districts around the nation due to moving with the military. In 2003, after our first child was born, I returned to work, part-time, as a College Instructor teaching Communication courses at The College of Southern Maryland. Upon moving to Texas in 2005, we had our second child and I decided to stay home fulltime due to the amount my husband traveled for the military. I spent time volunteering in my daughter’s

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preschool and also as Coordinator of the Mothers of Preschool program (MOPS International) through our church. When we arrived in Maryland in 2008 I learned that the United States Naval Academy Chapel was chartering a new Military Mothers of Preschoolers (division of MOPS international) nonprofit program to provide much needed support to military moms in the DC region. I volunteered to serve as the first coordinator, which is where I met my MilitaryONEClick business partner and cofounder, Kristi Hamrick, who is also a military spouse. In 2010, I was hired as the Manager of Military Moms at Cafemom.com, which is the #1 site for social media for moms. While telecommuting to New York, I learned a great deal regarding social media, marketing, and most of all; connecting with military moms. Through hands on work with the USNA Military MOPS non-profit program and the experience of


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professional career before children, unknowingly prepared me for this life-changing career that I now have. Being an entrepreneur allows me to continue my passions of helping military families and raising our two wonderful children. I am so grateful. MilitaryONEClick co-founder Kristi Hanor Hamrick gives her perspective on co-founding the company: “After marrying an active duty military man and moving 12 times in 18 years, you get a little tired of updating your resume! In 2011, Jen Pilcher and I started MilitaryONEClick. We wanted to help military families, especially military spouses, get to know the ropes of military culture. In short, we wanted military families to have what we did NOT have, a single information source about the military, including scholarships, medical information, and discounts.

connecting with military moms through social media worldwide, I wanted to build a business helping military families. After our commitment to the USNA MMOPS program was complete, Kristi and I decided to move from helping military families on the local level to the global level. Therefore, we combined our professional backgrounds and volunteer experience to launch MilitaryONEClick, LLC in the spring of 2011. MilitaryONEClick.com is a free website source that is accessible to everyone. We are a web aggregator available in over 40 countries providing tangible information with over 200 links and resources. We have established a partnership with the Congressional Military Family Caucus and privatized military housing communities, as well as being a promoter for the White House Joining Forces initiatives, the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Program, and Total Force Fitness initiative. We are in 24/7 constant contact with our military families and families supporting military members through our Facebook, twitter and email. I am proud to own a business that is dedicated to connecting military organizations, non-profits, and the corporate world to provide the best possible resources to those who deserve the best: our military community. MilitaryONEClick’s mission is not complete until every military family knows that help, support, and compassion are only a click away. I truly believe that each step in my personal life and 30 | NMSN Magazine

I am able to work from home, which affords me the best of two worlds. I’m able to stay home with my children and be able to work. Sometimes I do sit at my computer or talk on the phone with a lollipop stuck in my hair, compliments of my two preschool children! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything! In my spare time, I like to cook and ride my 2006 Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle. “JC” Whitsitt, a lawyer, returned to work at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as a financial advisor. Her path was completely different than Jennifer’s or Kristi’s. “Sometimes finding a job is not the hardest part. I’ll begin my story with a very promising law school career. I was an editor on law review; “AmJur’ed” (do they still call it that?) my tax class and my securities class; had a judicial externship; and interned with the DOJ. Towards the end of all this, it became more and more evident that my husband and I were moving overseas. (Did I mention that I’m a military spouse?) So, I gave up. When the DOJ asked me if I would come work for them, I said, “No, we’re moving overseas.” We lived in the U.K. for three glorious years. I worked as a tax consultant at a small accounting firm for a short while (a small “launch”), but then took leave to care for our newborn son. Upon returning to the States, I again attempted to “launch.” My husband and I, however, were soon blessed with another child, and it didn’t seem ethical to job-search when I was two months pregnant. This was coupled with my husband’s back-to-back deployments (two times at sea within two years), and I gave up once again.


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entered.” I take the class anyway. It is the best thing I ever did. I met the most wonderful and talented people. Everyone has a different story. Everyone has something amazing to contribute. The class ends. November rolls around and self-doubt starts to creep in. LRP emails the iRelaunch conference to me. I wonder if it is worth going to yet another “selfhelp” conference. This one, however, does seem a bit different. It’s not only how to get a job but is also inviting recruiters who may want to give me a job. I see that Merrill Lynch (ML) will be there. I remember that BOA combined with ML back in 2009. I remembered how much I really loved that job. I talk to the ML representatives. I go back and talk to them again. Then, I go back and talk to them once more. This time, I leave my résumé. The ML recruiter called me the next day. Seven days later, ML offered me a position in their training program to become a Financial Planner. Fast forward four years and our children are now four and five. Time for Mom to “launch.” I land a wonderful job with Bank of America (BOA) as a Tax Analyst. I love it. A very productive and satisfying year goes by and my husband breaks the news to me that we must leave beautiful Rhode Island after living there only a year. I am heart-broken. We are moving to Copenhagen, Denmark. In an attempt to “launch” once more in Denmark, I steel myself by becoming fluent in Danish. I am confident that I can land a legal position with my tax background, international experience, and language capabilities. Then 2009 hit. No one is hiring. Law firms are even laying off partners. After a year of doing nothing, I look to a Political Assistant position at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. I “launch” once more. It is a temporary position for less than a year, but I take it. Ten months go by and I inquire as to my end date. H.R. informs me that I have the job as long as I want it; that is, until the military moves us back to the States. I continue working for another seven months. It is the longest stretch of employment that I have been able to hold since working at a café in college. We return to the United States and to the Washington, D.C area in Summer 2011. Once again, I look to “launch.” My husband hears on the radio of a “Lawyer Re-entry Program” (LRP) through the Washington College of Law. I wonder, “I’m not really re-entering a legal career. I never really MAY 2018

I am now in Week 3 at ML. Every day is more exciting than the next. Every day I am becoming more and more educated on the world of finance. This knowledge will help others achieve their dreams and realize a more financial stable lifestyle. My job is to learn and help others. Who could ask for more? To sum, my story is not so much of a “re-launch” – maybe a “multi-launch” or a “launch-delayed.” After years and years of “ramping up,” I feel like I’m finally on my way. From these three stories we learn that persistence, ingenuity, the importance of strategic volunteer work, and the surprising benefits of temp work are cornerstones of return to work success in the face of frequent moves. More success stories and resources can be found at www.iRelaunch.com.

Carol Fishman Cohen is the co-author of career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track and the cofounder of iRelaunch. iRelaunch (www.iRelaunch. com) produces career reentry programming, events and content for employers, universities, organizations and individuals. iRelaunch’s signature product is the iRelaunch Return to Work Conference, held in major U.S. cities and in London. Carol and her co-author Vivian Steir Rabin have presented their career reeentry strategies to over 8,000 people at more than 125 events since 2006. Contact: info@irelaunch.com.


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Time and Productivity Hacks for Milspouse Entrepreneurs BY JULIE WATERS


he National Military Spouse Network is the preeminent networking, mentoring and professional development organization committed to the education, empowerment and advancement of military spouses which means that our professional development offerings extend beyond the traditional workplace to include entrepreneurship. In honor of National Small Business Week, some of NMSN’s members and experts got together on our May #NMSNcareers tweetchat to discuss our best tips and resources for milspouse business owners. For solopreneurs and small business owners, time is money. There are some great apps out there to help save both time and money and many are free or available for a low cost. •

Check out Calendly.com for help with staying on top of your schedule. It integrates with your other calendars, can work across different time zones and you can set it with buffers between meetings so you can regroup and prepare. For marketing materials and graphic design help try picmonkey.com or canva. com. They come with tutorials on how to design your materials, edit photos, and samples of different types of documents. Looking for conference

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call capability? Lots of platforms out there, we use freeconferencecalling.com. Business and brainstorming can be done on these calls, not to mention messaging, FaceTime, and Skype, so don’t limit yourself geographically. MileIQ is great for those who travel frequently for their business. They make tax filing so easy! The Expensify app is great for tracking your expenses while on the go, and it integrates with QuickBooks. If you need to convert documents from one format to another, Zamzar is a great tool.

Apps are a great start for enhancing productivity, but it became quickly apparent that no business owner succeeds on their own. The brainstorming and crowd sourcing of ideas can be a great benefit to your business and a HUGE motivator. Find your tribe and stay in touch with them. The tweetchats and calls we do at NMSN keep us on task with accountability partners, plus generate great ideas that can be incorporated into an action. It is easy to complete a task when you are excited about it. Sharing your goals with others will help you stay motivated. If you are looking to connect with people in person, check out any co-working spaces that may have nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

popped up around your city. In addition to a nice place to work away from home or your regular coffee shop, you’ll find likeminded people there and plug into additional community resources. Get out there and meet some other small business owners! Aside from apps and other resources, we have some solid advice for keeping your business running smoothly and staying legal. Consider delegating the tasks that you’re bad at or hate doing. NMSN uses a Virtual Assistant to help maintain schedules, correspondence and editorial calendars. She is fantastic and an integral part of our team. If you’re looking to grow your team, start with our Homefront Business Listings for military spouse freelancers or look at FIVERR and Upwork to get help with projects. When you’re ready to bring on additional remembers, make sure you have a clear cut plan for bringing them up to speed on the way you do business. Melissa St. Clair, our Virtual Assistant (@ paperchaserbiz) says to start off with an Operations Manual. This will help you maintain your policies and procedures, particularly important for maintaining a business through something like a move, and makes it easier to keep your client relationships on track. Melissa also says to streamline your systems and automate wherever possible to avoid duplication. MAY 2018

Now, let’s chat about the “less fun”, but necessary stuff, your Human Resources concerns. •

If you have staff, are they contractors or employees? Do you know the difference? It may depend on how you train them, how you record hours, and the equipment on which they do their work. If they are contractors and you give them a 1099, have them get you the W-9 information at the beginning of the job, then you don’t have to worry about it later. If you do decide on regular W-2 employees a payroll company can help you stay compliant with statutory benefits like taxes, workers comp and unemployment. If you want to offer them extra benefits like health insurance, find a broker that can help you. You don’t pay the broker, they get a cut from the insurance companies.

These are just some points to get you started. You can find small business HR resources in your city by checking out SHRM.com both locally and nationally to find the services available to you. Thanks to all the people that contributed to this awesome list. Totally checking out some of these apps!

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Try, Try Again – How to reengage when your first attempt went sideways.


t the Bowser Household, we have a saying, “it is all in the recovery.” Meaning things happens, stuff gets screwed up, things go sideways and goals get derailed. However, there is always the opportunity to try again. For example, think of a time when you received bad customer service. We all have examples. If the conversation ends on a bad note, you tell everyone how horrid the company was. If, on the other hand, the company re-engages with you and solves the problem, your story is “there was a problem. The company handled it. I will do business with them again.” What good businesses understand is the “power of the do-over”. Now, if we could only spread the message so it is expected that people will actively engage in resolving issues even when the first attempt goes sideways.

• Articulate what you want. Do you want a good conversation? Are you looking for everyone to get along? Do you just want to stop the trauma and drama? • Practice. Practice what you will say. Out Loud. • Prepare. Preparation comes from practice. However, being prepared means that you are ready to go off script and take advantage of new information or unforeseen opportunities.

“I really did not respond well when you told me ______________. I want to hear what you had to say. Can we try again?”

I often find that even if there is the desire to make things better people are at a loss for words. So, here are some words to use.

Of note: you are not asking anyone to “forgive and forget.” You are asking for the opportunity to make it right.

“This did not go the way I intended. Can I start over? I know that we can work through this.”

Be aware that it might take an attempt or two. Most people might be caught in the “defend/ justify/ counter attack loop.” Don’t you do it too. If you feel the defend/justify/counter attack tracker beam pulling you it, it is time to disengage. Ask for a break and a better time to loop back.

“Your response really took me off guard. I needed sometime to process what you said. Can we talk?”

If so, why doesn’t this happen? Simple, most folks are pissed, embarrassed, frustrated and don’t know how to re-engage. So here is how. • Breathe. Deep breathing counter acts the stress response. You will not be able to think when your stress hormones are coursing through your system. Seriously, you are physically unable to think when that “fight or flight” response kicks in. Start breathing. • Assess your part. How did you respond? Own it. 34 | NMSN Magazine

“When you told me __________. I got hooked. I started to defend myself. It went sideways. What I wanted to say was…” Or, my personal favorite, “I acted like a complete jerk. I am sorry. I could give you the reason, but the reason does not justify the behavior. I am asking for a chance to do better.”

Organizations hire Conflict Management Strategies, Inc. to increase productivity by easing workplace conflict and tension, to train employees in conflict resolution skills, to evaluate internal conflict resolution processes, to coach key employees to higher levels of performance and to facilitate tangible change within the working environment. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

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2018 military spouse career summits

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