Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 0
Share your military spouse story:
My story as a military spouse starts about a year after I married my airman: Nick was living off base and for the most part kept military life on base. He'd come home in uniform but he had normal hours for the most part and we never really traveled onto base. About 8 months into our relationship, we found out Nick was to be deployed to Afghanistan in July - and that's when things changed. All of a sudden it wasn't "just a job". It wasn't "just a uniform". It really shifted our perspective in our relationship and forced us to look at the big picture. In May, 1 month before he'd deploy, we got married in Vermont surrounded by family. However, because we didn't travel on base and I didn't have friends who were connected to the military, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought it would be like long distance dating. It wasn't. A deployment is so much more than that, in so many ways. I originally didn't want to lean into the military community because of the stereotype of being a "dependa". I was fiercely independent and wanted to remain so. I was scared to lean into the community I desperately needed. It wasn't until we were in the heat of deployment that I found my first military spouse friend, and from there, my perspective on military life changed. When Nick came home 7 months later we had to go through reintegration. I was lost as we tried desperately to get our first year of marriage back and figure out what military life would hold. It was then that I started my podcast, Moments with an MEO, in a forlorn attempt to ask all these burning questions I had about the lifestyle and spouse-hood. Turns out I wasn't alone; many spouses feared joining the community due to this pressure to be dependent. However, we've learned over time that military spouses are fiercely independent have goals and dreams too - dreams worth chasing. I now help other military spouses launch, build, and scale their own businesses so they can life this crazy life on their own terms.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I strive to be a relatable, vulnerable leader of integrity in the online space for military spouses. I strongly believe we need online communities to be that continuous support system; there's nothing else like it. I host events, programs, a podcast and an online community space to show military spouses that it's possible to find that deeply loyal and relatable spouse community, and it doesn't always come from your physical location. I have advocated for military spouse online communities on national TV and to top performing entrepreneurs. Through these platforms, I have connected military spouse entrepreneurs all over the world and taught them how to build their confidence, their assurance in their identity, helped them through PCS seasons, as well as their confidence in their businesses, blogs, and podcasts. My goal in 2022 is to incorporate public speaking & to continue to encourage entrepreneurship as a powerful option to self-discovery and income needs.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have been part of the military community since I was three; when my dad enlisted in the Coast Guard. While he only served 4 years, a deeply rooted sense of pride for our country and military in particular always stuck with me. Since becoming a military spouse in 2019, I have created an award nominated global podcast, Moments with an MEO, as well as the Instagram platform New Altitudes, to create and encourage online communities. I have since started business coaching for this unique community. I have donated portions of our proceeds in the past to important military organizations and in 2022 I have founded a small fund to help military spouse entrepreneurs who need help purchasing supplies get what they need so they can thrive and make a sustainable income, through community.
Describe how you support your community:
I strongly advocate for military spouses and entrepreneurship both in person, online, on audio platforms and on national television. On my podcast, I encourage embracing all walks of life on my podcast, actively seek out BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ spouses, and other culturally diverse podcast guests, and openly lean in when called to by my own community members. I have also been on more than 10 podcasts advocating for military spouses on stereotypes and entrepreneurship. On Instagram, I use terms that are all inclusive and encourage connection and networking. I am very passionate about networking spouses from all over the globe together to create powerful collaborations. I create a gift guide each year of military spouse and veteran owned businesses and share it publicly and encourage purchasing from the military community. I am the first to stand up and speak up about military spouse stereotypes and break down barriers for them in live event settings, and encourage others to speak up as well.
What do you advocate for? Why?
A 2019 DoD survey found a 22% unemployment rate and 26% wage gap; before the pandemic in 2020. The Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce found that in 2021, 48% of the more than 12 million military spouses in the US are self-employed or want to be. These numbers bring me to tears. We shouldn't have to sacrifice master's degrees for minimum wage because of love. We shouldn't have the ultimatum of working for a living or loving our service members. We shouldn't feel like we have no say in our lives and what we do just because we married someone who's serving this incredible country. I advocate for us all. The military spouses who want something to work around motherhood, who want to change their community, who want to have their talents or education be useful, and even the ones who want to build larger companies and brick and mortar businesses. We all deserve that option. Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool military spouses can use to build their own identity and income.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I spread my message and mission on many platforms. Instagram is where the majority of my community networks, but the biggest spread of our mission is through the podcast, Moments with an MEO. Our podcast has been listened to on 5 continents, 38 countries and territories, has published over 100 episodes, and has been featured in over 15 blogs, podcasts, and interviews. I have also been featured on David Meltzer's 2 Minute Drill TV show, season 2, episode 4. Though no longer associated with that company, it shows my passion for the military spouse community and my desire to build accessible online communities for us all. I have guest blogged for multiple military spouse blogs to help encourage the mission of entrepreneurship on others' platforms as well.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
With this title, I hope to help spread the power of entrepreneurship and being military spouse entrepreneurs (MEOs) at a more influential level. I hope to travel to different bases, provide free trainings to MEOs all over the country, and network profusely to gain lifelong friends and the tools needed to exponentially catapult this movement. I am also working on an audio book and upgrading the podcast message and movement, and this platform could significantly help me reach the military spouses I haven't been able to reach on my own yet. I fully believe that entrepreneurship shouldn't be only for those who can afford it, but for everyone. I hope to increase that 48% by at least 20% and help even more milsos find their unique passions and dreams.
Brittany is engrossed in the military spouse space! She has a podcast called Moments with an MEO where she interviews military spouse entrepreneurs - it's in its third season! She is an entrepreneur coach for military spouses (individually and group) and she adds to the military spouse community in more ways that I could possibly list here. She absolutely deserves to win!
- by Kristin Miller
Brittany’s mission is to guide military spouses to find success in their idea business. And she’s incredible at it. She focuses so much of her life efforts on bettering the lives of her fellow military spouses. She also has a podcast called “moments with an MEO” where she interviews fellow military spouse business owners and talked about their journeys, successes, failures, and experiences. She brings so much light and positivity to the milso community. She deserves this more than any milso I know, and I know a LOT!
- by Sarah Curtis