Nominations are closed. Come back February 3 to meet the candidates!

Lindsay Helm

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort Shafter

Number of Deployments: 5

Number of PCS's: 7

Share your military spouse story:
I am an Army veteran and military spouse. Our family consists of our three children, two dogs and my active-duty husband, Travis. I am the Fort Irwin 2017 Military Spouse of the Year, for the work I was doing in the local community while we were stationed there. In 2018, I was rejected from a position that I was definitely QUALIFIED for. It was this moment of unprecedented rejection that transformed into an unexpected moment of advocacy. I was certain that the firm’s blatant discrimination had to be illegal, which prompted me to take action. I reached out to the hiring firm directly. Their explanation was that I had not been discriminated against as a military spouse (military spouses are not a protected class), but they simply would not hire me because the spouse’s career would not guarantee longevity at the company. I felt this is an injustice to military spouses, and I decided to take my struggles public, creating a Facebook video explaining my situation - which quickly went viral. Fellow military spouses around the globe began sharing that they, too, had experienced similar discrimination in their careers. I was then given the opportunity to write an article about my experience in Military Spouse Magazine, shining a huge light on an often overlooked predatory practice.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
All of the above inspired a few major life changes! I launched Empower Employ - my own company dedicated to providing companies and organizations with access to high-quality veteran and military spouse talent. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching my friends within the military community get passed over for career opportunities simply because they didn’t use the right amount of keywords or due to gaps in their career caused by PCSing. Empower Employ bridges the gap through our coaching and consulting services forged from the tried-and-true experiences of our vast network of military-affiliated professionals. My passion throughout all of this has been in the countless hours I’ve spent coaching and mentoring veterans and military spouses on their career issues.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have served as a board member and webmaster for the local Military and Civilian Spouses Club at Fort Irwin. I helped create Fort Drum’s local Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network chapter, where I was responsible for placing 150 military spouses into full-time positions - remote work that generated an estimated 1.2 million dollars in revenue. I've been highlighted by Linkedin as a Boots in the Door Pin Recipient, which is awarded for assisting veterans and their spouses with getting their “boots” in the door at companies that typically would skip over them.

Describe how you support your community:
Through my business, Empower Employ, I created and funded my own Mighty Network, connecting military spouses and veterans with career support services. By recruiting HR professionals from our partner companies to participate within our network, we are able to help take the algorithms out and through networking, put the human touch back in. I've also developed a piece of custom software that I use in my business to help make these connections. I make myself available daily to answer questions from those seeking career advice and support. I travel, and I also do public speaking engagements.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for access to careers that make sense for our community with EQUITABLE PAY. I love sharing those roles and walking people through the process. I advocate for military housing to add an extra room for a home-based business or home office when availability allows. Coaching military professionals throughout various points in their careers, to include small business owners and entrepreneurs, has opened my eyes to disparities and challenges other military families also face. Through networking with industry leaders, I have been able to make real change, allowing corporations to see the value in the military community and the creative changes they can make to retain military talent long term through remote work. in and has led me to networking with leaders of corporations. Through advocacy with elected officials, I’ve been given the opportunity to ask a lot of questions about SOFA as well as give feedback with positive changes that would impact thousands of military families.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have had the most success with creating excitement through social media, given that our online military community is spread out all over the world. In addition to speaking engagements and online zoom training, I have been able to recently branch out of my comfort zone through stand-up comedy and media articles and outlets.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
Being a part of the AFI Military Spouse of the Year program is a huge honor for me. With the title, I’d love to continue advocating for and working to support the military community throughout their careers. Through the MSOY platform, I want to give hope to our transitioning service members and their families looking for work that equitable pay and portable careers do exist and companies DO want to hire from our community.

Nominations

Lindsay has helped me out more than I can count since I’ve joined the military life. She has become a very close friend of mine and anytime I have questions I can go right to her for an answer.
- by Brittnee Crow

Who is Lindsay Helm? Is she a veteran, a military spouse, a CEO, an advocate, a mom, a volunteer, or an actual super woman? Well, as it turns out, she’s all these things, and yet, so much more. When I met Lindsay during my interview for her ground-breaking start-up company, Empower Employ, aimed at solving spouse underemployment. She told me that those around her often jokingly call her “Hurricane Helm,” a nod to her fierce tenacity and drive. I laughed. Yet, every day, the more than I see her in action, the more I understand that in her relentless pursuit of helping America’s military community, Lindsay truly is, like a hurricane, an unstoppable force. She has served as a board member an integral part of Fort Drum, New York’s local chapter of the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network, where she was responsible for placing 150 military spouses into full-time portable positions, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for the economy, before her PCS to Hawaii.
- by Stephanie Standridge