Archive for the 'Career' Category

Military Families – Time to Visit the Fair!

Oct 09 2015



By:  Tom Wahl

For military spouses with high school kids, you know that it’s “fair” time. No, not the type with roller coasters and deep fried snickers. These are the fairs where military kids get dressed up, learn a few manners, and stand in numerous lines for 20 minutes for the chance to speak to someone – it’s college fair time!

If your military child is in high school, you’ve probably started getting emails from your child’s high school counselor about upcoming college fairs at the local Hilton/Marriott/Sheraton, or the city’s convention center, or the local college, or even the school. In talking to other military spouses, the benefit of attending these fairs isn’t always clear. I’ve wondered the same thing, especially after taking Joe and Anna to one last year and being stunned by the maze of tables, lines, and kids with their resumes (we turned around and left).

In hope of finding some insight into the benefits of college fairs and their importance to milkids in their college search, I turned to Kerri Beckert. Kerri is a military spouse and the owner and principal in Anchor Collegiate, a college admissions consulting firm (which she has successfully operated stateside and overseas as the Army moved her husband – that is quite an accomplishment). As a certified College Counselor, Kerri has been helping students and families navigate, understand, and succeed in college admissions and application process for many years. So, who better to ask about college fairs?

Q. Why attend college fairs? A complaint I’ve heard from parents is that the fairs are jam packed, and kids wait 20 minutes to talk to someone who doesn’t seem to know specifics about programs or majors – so what is the benefit to the student when they can stay home and do a tour of the college at their website?

A.  Colleges want students who want to attend their schools. How do the schools know if you “like them, really really like them?” They know through demonstrated interest. Demonstrated interest means checking in with their table at a college fair if you can’t visit their campus. Kids should fill out the interest card, (and print CLEARLY). They should also bring a resume and drop it off (some colleges take them, some don’t!) And, PICK up information-brochures and programming literature. This can help give students a clearer picture of the school itself.

If the representative of the college is super busy, then just ask for a card, fill it out, and take some literature!

This is an opportunity for students to take a look at colleges which they do not have the time or funds to make a campus visit.

For those students just starting their college search, you can certainly start looking at many schools- programming, location, size of school. Sign up for information at schools with which you are unfamiliar and receive information in the mail!

Many times, if you are on a school’s mailing list, you will get the opportunity to apply without a fee!

Q.  How should a student prepare for the fair and how can parents help?

A.  Parents should make sure that the student knows how to give a good firm handshake, introduce themselves, and make sure that they are wearing casual, clean and conservative clothing. Adults should not accompany their children, nor should they speak to the representatives!

Having just gone through the college search process with Joe (from a Spring Break trip to visit colleges in the Northeast to his narrowing choices down to 11 schools to apply to), I can attest that the college admissions process is difficult and an enigma. So, Kerri offers great advice. I hadn’t realized the importance of these college fairs when Joe was looking, but I will be taking my high school junior daughter to these – especially if we can get application fees waived.

Thanks to Kerri for taking the time to answer these questions. If you’d like to read more about Kerri, and how this military spouse helps students and their families know and grasp the maze we call the college admissions and application process, visit her website at Anchor Collegiate.

And, if you’re a military spouse and considering a mobile career, I’m sure Kerri would have some good insights for you.


Are you looking for additional sources of financial aid for your college bound child? MOAA offers scholarships and grants for students seeking undergraduate degrees. Find out how to apply or check out additional avenues for funding an undergraduate education. 

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Highlighting How Leigh “Keeping a Career on the Move®”

Oct 07 2015

Please meet Leigh, and learn how she is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”:

Searl headshot

Q: What branch of service are you affiliated with?
A: Army

Q: Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I am a military spouse, originally from Wisconsin. Before I met my husband I was lobbying for Wisconsin Builders and Developers at the local, state, and federal level. I met my husband, an Army Officer, and we got married and moved to Germany. I worked remotely as a Business Manager in Europe for a U.S. based company for three years and then returned to the states and pursued my lifelong dream of attending law school. Despite numerous deployments, military relocations, and raising two children, I earned my Juris Doctor from Concord Law School, an online law school.

After several more moves I worked, again remotely, for DeCaro Luxury Real Estate Auctions, to connect ultra-high-net-worth individuals from around the world with luxury real estate auctions. My journey eventually led me to The Nassimi Group, a real estate development and investment firm based in New York.

As Vice President of Business Development and a New York licensed real estate salesperson for The Nassimi Group, I consult remotely to provide seamless productivity and advice regarding national and international clients, commercial real estate acquisitions, business analysis and intelligence and off-market sales transactions. My professional goals were realized through remote work and it was at this time I decided I would transform remote and telework opportunities for military spouses like me who wanted to retain a professional career.

Q: Where has the military taken you?
A: In my nearly 13 years living the military lifestyle, I have moved 9 times. The military has taken me to Germany, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Bragg, Washington, D.C. and soon back to Germany. In addition, the military has made my family more resilient and able to deal with adversity. Working remotely has offered me the flexibility I need to maintain stability in the family.

Q: What do you do for a living and are you working in your chosen career field?
A: I am the Founder of America’s Career Force (ACF). ACF specializes in providing companies with access to remote senior level staffing solutions. Our D.R.E.A.M.S. program (Discovering and Retaining Employment for Active Military Spouses) focuses on connecting companies with active military spouses to support and fulfill business objectives.

As a military spouse, I was constantly searching for a better way to obtain satisfying and gainful employment living the military life and consequently ACF was developed. Knowing first-hand, remote and telework employment is a winning business strategy; ACF’s primary purpose is to introduce businesses to highly skilled and dedicated individuals to realize maximum potential.

Our philosophy is simple – most business objectives can be accomplished remotely. It’s just a matter of introducing companies to the right candidates to fulfill their needs. Our D.R.E.A.M.S. program provides military spouses with opportunities to secure stable professional careers regardless of their geographic location. We understand the challenges presented by military life and unpredictable relocations. We bridge the gap between the unpredictable military lifestyle and meaningful employment.

Q: What resources, programs or initiatives have you used to keep your career on the move?
A: Globalization and the Internet have minimized the distance between opportunity and talent, changing the dynamics of professional opportunity. Our ACF executives stay connected using secure cloud-based services, video teleconferencing and call forwarding from sources like Dropbox, Google Apps, Skype, FaceTime, UberConference, GoToMeeting and Grasshopper. Our virtual business strategy changes the way businesses view personnel and talent management. I’m also a member of the Military Spouse JD Network, a support group for military spouses working in the legal profession.

Q: What advice would you give to other military spouses who want to keep a career through the military lifestyle?
A: Be persistent and diligent. Don’t give up. If they are interested in pursuing remote or telework opportunities, I would ask they contact ACF for a free consultation to discuss their professional goals. We are their catalyst to open doors, create opportunities, and generate rewarding careers. Let our knowledge and experience be the key to their success and satisfaction. Our services are currently free to military spouses and open to those who have an undergraduate degree and beyond.


Are you located in Tampa, FL? Please join us on October 14th for MOAA’s “Keeping a Career on the Move®” Spouse Symposium. You can access additional information and register here:

Would you like to share your story? We would love to hear from you! Email, leave us a comment below OR engage with the MOAA Spouse team through our Facebook Page and @MOAA_MilLife.


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