Dec 17 2014
Please meet Kimberly and learn how she is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”:
Q: What branch of service are you affiliated with?
Q: Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I’ve been a military spouse for 14 years. My husband and I got married, went on our honeymoon, and then he went off to join the Army. I stayed behind to finish my MBA but joined him six months later at our first duty station in Stuttgart, Germany. We thought that would be our only duty station, but it turned out that the adventures of Army life suited us. We have a 10-year-old daughter who keeps us on our toes. I love being active, eating well, traveling, and would never turn down a cup of tea.
Q: Where has the military taken you?
A: We’ve been very fortunate to spend seven years in Germany where we traveled aggressively, seeing much of Europe. We were stationed at Stuttgart, Grafenwöhr, and Bamberg. How lucky to spend two years in Bamberg before it closed! We’ve also been stationed at Fort Irwin, CA, Charlottesville, VA, Fort Leavenworth, KS, and Fort Belvoir, VA.
Q: What do you do for a living and are you working in your chosen career field?
A: I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief for InDependent, a health and wellness organization with the mission of helping military spouses thrive through eating well, being active, managing stress, and building supportive connections. We’re fiscally-sponsored through Public Health Foundation Enterprises, which gives us non-profit status. I’m also a yoga teacher.
Did I choose this career? Yes. Am I working as a certified public accountant like I did before I got married? No. When my husband joined the Army, I was working as a senior accountant at a Fortune 500 company. Almost immediately upon arrival in Stuttgart, I was offered a job at Army Community Services as a financial counselor. I turned them down. Civilians didn’t get training holidays like people on active duty and my husband and I decided together that we wanted to travel at every opportunity. Accounting and business was a practical choice for me rather than a passionate one. Had I held a true passion for my original career path I believe I would have found a way to make it work.
Instead, I started a patchwork of random jobs and volunteer work with teaching as a common theme…quilting teacher at a craft store, MOPS program coordinator, Parent to Parent team lead for the Military Child Education Coalition, yoga teacher. I always believed that all of my experiences would come together in a meaningful way.
Holding the space for something big opened the door for creating InDependent with a team of talented women equally passionate about supporting the wellness of military spouses. My work as founder and editor-in-chief brings together my business background with my passions for teaching and wellness. It’s a career path I could never have dreamed of!
Q: What resources, programs or initiatives have you used to keep your career on the move?
A: Each duty station presents unique opportunities, and they always come to me via word of mouth. I had the good fortune to be part of the first In Gear Career group at Fort Leavenworth. I really appreciated the opportunity to get together with other career-minded spouses.
Q: What advice would you give to other military spouses who want to keep a career through the military lifestyle?
A: Just say yes to work and volunteer opportunities even if they’re not exactly what you had in mind. Other people can see skills and talents in you that you may not recognize in yourself. If you’re not able to find a job that’s exactly in your field, be open to other opportunities to develop career-boosting skills, or look for additional training or educational opportunities.
Network. The military community becomes smaller and smaller the longer you’re a part of it. There don’t seem to be very many degrees of separation between people. Friends and mentors are fantastic references that can help you find opportunities. If you have a career goal, say it out loud. People are surprisingly willing to help.
Find an interest outside of work that you’re passionate about — something that you have control over, something that’s yours. When all is quiet on the career front, and sometimes it will be, you’ll have an outlet for your energy that will keep you connected with other people with similar interests and help you maintain an identity separate from military life.
How are you “Keeping a Career on the Move®”?
Share your story with fellow military spouses. E-Mail the MOAA Spouse team at email@example.com to learn more.