Erin Lukowiak

Branch: Coast Guard

Duty Station: Coast Guard District 5

Number of Deployments: 8

Number of PCS's: 2

Share your military spouse story:
I met my (now) husband when he was stationed in the Bay Area. Being born and raised in California, I never thought I would leave. I am now 2, almost 3 duty stations later and continuing to grow as a military spouse. After over 6 years of marriage, I have worked 4 different jobs and have landed at Blue Star Families—a non-profit that supports military families. I have been able to bring my marketing and business passions together with my newer passion of military and military family life. In the last few years, I have also been an Ombudsman for the the CGC JAMES (WMSL 754) in Charleston, SC, and the Treasurer for the Coast Guard Spouse Club of Washington DC (CGSCDC). I love being able to connect and support others in the military.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
While serving on the Executive Board as Treasurer of the CGSCDC, I worked through a multi-year IRS issue that I inherited. In order to keep the club afloat and legal with the government, I had to tackle the issue to work through our non-profit status. It took a long time with many hours on the phone and zoom calls, but I was able to work to make it a success so that the club could continue to meet and be a part of the vibrant community. Still going strong after 50+ years. Another time I showed leadership was as the Ombudsman on the JAMES out of Charleston, SC. While serving there, the ship was diverted to Puerto Rico to assist with hurricane recovery just days before they were supposed to be headed home. Many spouses and families were sad to hear this, but my Co-Ombudsman and I handled all of the changes and upset families to make as smooth a transition of the change as possible.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I work as the Strategic Communications Manager for Blue Star Families. I have been there for 3.5 years working on marketing our programs. I love being able to support the military community in this way I have also been an Ombudsman for the JOSHUA JAMES out of Charleston, SC for one year before we PCS’d. I have also been the Treasurer for the Coast Guard Spouses Club of Washington DC for 2 years. We will PCS this summer, so I will not be able to continue this role.

Describe how you support your community:
Currently, at Blue Star Families, I support our national capital region chapter. I also work with our Applied Research team to help get responses for our annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. These survey responses help dictate policy and drive change within the military community. Most of our research has led to learnings of how important it is for military families to feel a sense of community and belonging. We have helped implement programs and policies to this effect. Also, as the Treasurer for CGSCDC, I work hard to help make our spouses feel included as we have been virtual almost the entire time I have been on the board (due to COVID). I’m always ready to try to help new spouses (and those that have lived in the area who want to get connected) get connected with others in the area.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Ever since I transitioned from my first job due to marrying my spouses and moving cross-country, I have had a strong passion for military spouse employment. I wanted to advance in my career while moving around from duty station to duty station with my husband and maintaining as much stability as possible. I have received some negative comments from employees who looked down upon hiring military spouses. With that experience in my back-pocket, I wanted to work for an organization where I could “be myself” and work for a company that I felt I could get behind. I often felt that I had a limited amount of time to be invested in and be invested in by my supervisors. In working remotely for Blue Star Families, and the opportunity to help our Applied Research and Careers team improve military spouse employment through policy changes and employment opportunities, it has been a really great experience to be able to help other military spouses that desire to advance in their career as well.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
For military spouse employment, I help share our annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey to increase respondents to make sure military spouses have their voices heard. We want to hear from them. And in doing so, we get the responses and turn around to local, state, and national government officials to work on changing policy for military spouses so that they can advance in their career. One way that we have helped is by changing the policy for accreditation and licenses that spouses need when moving from state to state. So many families need to or want to be dual income families. In removing this need for redoing their accreditation for every move, it allows spouses to jump right into a new career, instead of delaying almost a full year due to test availability and hours needed to meet license requirements. I help spread awareness on this information as well. So many civilians have no idea that this is something that affects our military families.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I would love to continue to help military spouses feel empowered in their career. Also, as my husband and I embark on starting a family, I would really love to elevate and support working military moms/parents who continue to work. I know that this is a huge challenge for many of my co-workers who are both military spouses and moms/dads, but I would really love to be an advocate and supporter of those who do it so well. I would also like to provide resources for them to be successful in their endeavors, and provide them with a support network.


Erin has a passion for helping Military Spouses and families evident in both her employment at Blue Star Families and the countless hours she volunteered on the board of our Coast Guard Spouse Club- most recently as Treasurer for the past two years. She steadfastly volunteers for each event and works behind the scenes in an amazingly efficient way to get the job done. Her skills with technology were desperately needed with the shift to virtual mode plus a club platform shift and she was always ready to volunteer. She even tackled an inherited year-long, non-profit IRS issue, head-on with positive success! Erin has also been a conduit for our service to learn about issues and programs that families are faced with DOD-wide. PCS is coming but we know Erin will be a fantastic addition at her next duty station.
- by Adell Servidio