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The Military Spouse Connection

August 23, 2010

In my years working with the military there was no group I ever spoke with that was tougher than a group of military spouses. I say it in jest, but it’s grounded in the reality that when it comes to taking a topic and asking the tough questions, military spouses weren’t afraid to do it. There were a few qualities of military spouses that I came to appreciate:

1. They’re very protective of their spouses, and are very much team-players in their spouses’ leadership positions.

2. They’ve been around the military a time or two and won’t just take you at face value.

3. They’re independent and self-sufficient, but rely on one another for strength. There really is a community that exists between military spouses that I find incredibly admirable.

Recently I’ve become aware of a few unique projects being run by military spouses that call to mind some of these strengths that I came to notice when speaking to groups of military spouses. It’s no surprise that being a military spouse presents unique challenges, and a lot of this centers around career and professional development. Military spouses looking to pursue personal professional goals while supporting their spouse through frequently deployments, and moves every 2-3 years, experience real struggles with business development and professional employment.

Fortunately, military spouses take care of their own, and recently I’ve learned about just a few organizations that are working to help other military spouses. The National Military Spouse Network is designed to help military spouses network and use peer mentoring and relationship building to find their next job. As someone who has gotten almost every job I’ve had through a friend or recommendation, I truly see the importance of this for military spouses.  The National Military Spouse Network takes the guess-work out and puts spouses into opportunities to meet, mingle, and build their career network.

Another organization that just launched today is the Military Spouse Business Foundation. They’re focused on helping businesses develop, and while they’re happy to help any company looking for business solutions they have a focus – and a heart – for helping military spouses. This is another great niche, considering all of the military-spouse run small businesses that are out there. For all of the military spouse owned businesses looking for the tools to take the next step in building their business, the foundation is there to walk them through it.

And it’s no surprise that these organizations were founded by military spouses. These are just a sampling – there are dozens more organizations, groups, and resources for military spouses – what ones are you familiar with or would you recommend?

I will always have a heart for military spouses (I even consider myself an honorary military spouse – a title I haven’t earned but that I have been given a time or two). When it comes to strength, committment to mission, and really living the Army values I’ve come to hold so dear, military spouses keep the homefront going and are truly a special and unique group. Any chance to get to know spouses, work with them, and see them work together to solve problems, is always an honor.

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