Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Dyess Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 4
Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story starts with a matchmaker who just so happens to be my mom. One day, my mom came home from an event and told me she had met my future husband. Of course, I was dating someone at the time so this news was not timely. As it turns out, she was right. Over the course of our friendship and early relationship, I learned that my now-husband had always dreamed of becoming an Air Force pilot. At the time that seemed unlikely, but little did I know, a few months after we were to get married he would talk to a recruiter. The rest is history. We both were over the moon excited and I was looking forward to tagging along on the adventure. My time as a military spouse has been riddled with extreme highs, like adventuring around Japan, and extreme lows like losing friends. I’ve seen loss, I’ve been heartbroken, and I’ve been separated from my family. All for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living the absolute adventure of a lifetime with the love of my life. I wouldn't trade any of it, because the adventure was truly made by the people in it. The spouses and service members haven't just served our nation, they've served me. They've shown up on my doorstep with meals and encouragement when things get hard. They've given of themselves when others wouldn't. This life, it's not just about the adventure and fighting the wars overseas. My journey, my dedication to serve, too, it's been for all of those people that have gone from stranger to family. They make the difference for my military spouse story. And, it turns out, mother does know best.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Every year military spouses beat national averages year after year in unemployment rates. In spite of this, military spouses still dedicate their time and loyalty to organizations, even when they are underappreciated and underemployed. My time as a leader has been made impactful because I’ve served side by side with dedicated military spouses. “No leader can ever achieve anything great or long-lasting all alone. Teamwork goes hand in hand with leadership. Leadership is about people and for people.” John C Maxwell. For the past 3.5 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to lead countless military spouses & veterans in my role as a Marketing & team lead at WISE Advise + Assist Team. During my time there, I’ve coached both military-affiliated clients & team members to define and chase their dreams. My only goal as a leader is to elevate those around me so they can pursue their purpose to make their mark on the world.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My approach to the military community has often been one of personalization. I’ve been incredibly fortunate that my military installations have had skilled spouses groups to create events and opportunities to connect in a comfortable setting. At times I’ve served on boards, volunteered at events, and supported where it was needed. However, I’ve found the most pride in working more closely with families and individuals. Learning and listening to their life and needs, and finding ways to provide support that sometimes goes a step deeper. Like when a friend couldn’t bring herself to share a miscarriage with a commander’s spouse she’d never met, but she was willing to share with me. As a community, we can only go as far as someone will allow us to go. But there are times when all that’s needed is a friend. I’ve found the gap and done my best to be a good friend in the military community. One person at a time.
Describe how you support your community:
The military represents 1% of the population. That 1% of men and women are referred to as “the tip of the spear.” The tip of the spear is considered to be the sharpest and strongest point of a spear. It also hits first when being used. A huge majority of the men and women that make up that 1%, the tip of the spear, are chasing lifelong dreams and achieving them. For a military spouse, being around that can be both awe-inspiring and deafening. I support my fellow spouses by reminding them that they too are sharp and strong. They too have a purpose that is bigger than them, a purpose they should pursue even while they follow their loved one around the world. Finally, I remind them that they don’t have to pursue their purpose alone or without resources.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for legacy, for the individual and the group as military spouses. My father was in the Air Force, serving as a pilot. My mother married him the day after he graduated from the Academy. All she knew from the time she was 20 to the time they retired was the military spouse life. Growing up, I heard countless stories about what the spouses had done for families and local communities. They showed up for one another and offered to be family away from family. My mom still has incredible relationships after 45 years. Her legacy is in how she served the community. That is the legacy of the military spouse.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I am fortunate to work with business and community leaders in various media channels to raise awareness about military un/underemployment. On my own platforms, I’ve passionately advocated for military spouses to find their voice and operate in their passions and purpose.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
This award will allow me to serve as a conduit between civilian and active duty communities to help them build bridges, create community, and leave their mark on the world.
Very rarely does a person get the opportunity to meet a truly selfless person. Andi is one of the most compassionate and encouraging women I have ever met- not to mention one of the smartest. She is goal driven, people oriented, and a natural born leader. As a military spouse, she has contributed to the success of many others through her expertise in branding, marketing, and education. She leads by example, in kindness and humility. She defines what it means to multi-task as she maintains motherhood, military life, and a full career. She would make an amazing addition to the MSOY program.
- by Megan Brown