Duty Station: USAG Wiesbaden
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 2
Share your military spouse story:
I served in the US Army Reserves for 6 years before marrying my active duty husband. I was thrown into active duty military life head-first when, as newlyweds, we were expecting our first child one month prior to a deployment to Afghanistan. I found myself alone, in a new duty station, and clueless about my roles and responsibilities as a future mom and military spouse. Nine months later…although dad could not be physically present for the birth, he was able to be digitally present thanks to the internet and modern-day technology. We now have lived in 3 homes, moved across the Atlantic Ocean and will be crossing the sea in 2020 bound for our 4th home and 3rd duty station together. The most persistent challenge I have faced as a military spouse has been maintaining viable employment. As a result, I have been “promoted thrice and laid off twice”. In 2018, frustrated and emotionally exhausted, I took a chance on pursuing my dream and started a home-based business in career consulting and military spouse advocacy. At Begin Within, I have hired five other military spouses and in 2019 we won the title of “#1 Military Spouse Owned Business” overall to my amazement. There have been ups and downs, but I found a way to thrive as spouse, mom and entrepreneur despite living overseas and facing challenges in the traditional workforce. I now help military spouses navigate employment challenges that I faced and serve at the pleasure of over 28,000 military spouses, educating and empowering spouses to conquer their careers. I bring relevant perspectives about military spouse life including: owning a small business that employs military spouses; sharing the stories of military spouse jobseekers; navigating the Home Based Business registration process; military spouse entrepreneurship; OCONUS military spouse employment challenges; expertise in USAJOBS and the federal hiring process and much more. You can learn more about me here: https://jaime-chapman.com
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
As a fierce military spouse employment advocate, I believe that military spouses make an incredible addition to the workforce and that companies should actively be hiring military spouses. In practicing what I preach, I currently own a successful for-profit company and employ 5 current or former military spouses in a 100% remote capacity. Prior to entrepreneurship, I served as the Regional Manager for the Army’s Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program in the Rheinland Pfalz region of Germany which has the highest concentration of service members outside of the United States. At SFL-TAP, I managed a team of approximately 15 employees spread across three locations many of whom were military spouses. Despite being relatively young at 29 years old, I’ve mastered my craft and held leadership roles throughout my military and civilian careers. I view my responsibility to empower and provide growth and leadership opportunities the military spouses that I currently lead.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I’ve served in and alongside the military for a decade. I joke that I was the Army’s worst Petroleum Supply Specialist during my 6-year tenure in the Reserves (and it may be true). During my service, I worked in a full-time position where it was my job to help people find employment. While in the Reserves, many of the Soldiers I served with were unable to find civilian employment so I assisted with their resumes and applications. As a result all my peers were able to find employment. While my calling was not to continue serving in the military, it was however serving military members. After marrying my husband, I began working as career coach for the Army’s Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program and helped even more soldiers find jobs. Several years later I still help service members in addition to advocating for military spouses. Along the way, I have volunteered hundreds of hours and joined an amazing community of military spouse entrepreneurs on my installation.
Describe how you support your community:
I support the military community with employment advocacy for military spouses, transitioning service members and veterans. I am the founder of the #1 Military Spouse Owned Business overall where we help high achieving military community members prepare for job interviews, get promoted, get raises and find fulfillment in their careers. To date, I’ve helped over 1,500 people land their dream careers, over 70% were veterans and military spouses and serve as the career advocate for over 28,000 military spouses to reduce the effects of the drastic 24% military spouse unemployment rate. I utilize my influencer and public speaking platform with a combined audience of over 54,000 people to highlight the value military spouses bring to the workforce. I authored "Find a Federal Job" and forthcoming author of "Movers & Shakers: The motivational career stories of high performing military spouses." where I will celebrate the victories, the impressive abilities and resilience of military spouses.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Military spouse employment. The employment space is my area of expertise and while I care deeply about many aspects of the military community, my impact is greatest where I am strongest. It is my duty and responsibility to positively impact the military spouse employment space so that in the decades to come this issue is not forgotten, and future military spouses can maintain viable, long-term employment and lead empowered careers. Happy military families make for happy service members, and happy service members serve our country for a long time. Military spouse employment directly impacts service member retention, force readiness and the freedom of our great nation. In knowing my strengths, I fight daily for the employment rights of military spouses and in a small but meaningful way, I am helping every American.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I am an active public speaker, social media influencer, published writer, and serve as radio show co-host for an audience of 20,000 weekly listeners where I speak about employment and careers. My combined audience includes over 54,000 people and I have even been recruited to appear as a career expert for a (potential) television show that would air to hundreds of millions of viewers. I’ve achieved a large audience all while living overseas in Germany. Upon our relocation to the US in 2020, I will make regular television appearances in the local area, and upon publishing my new book, aim to launch a satellite media tour spotlighting military spouse employment and drawing media attention to high achieving military spouses.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
Achieving the Military Spouse of the Year title would be a great and unexpected honor. From a strategic perspective, the MSOY title would further my current military spouse employment advocacy efforts by enabling my reach to a larger audience. Additionally, this title would solidify my military spouse employment expertise and open the door to collaborate with influencers, business executives, policy makers, and more to create tangible change in military spouse hiring initiatives. From my experience in recently winning the #1 Military Spouse Owned Business Award, I know the deep impact a title can make and have experienced exponential growth as a result. For me, MSOY would be like winning the Triple Crown, a dream that many pursue, but few ever realize.