Duty Station: Marine Corps Base Quantico
Number of Deployments: 0
Number of PCS's: 1
Share your military spouse story:
I met my Army husband, John, in beautiful Hawaii in 2017. I was proudly representing my country of birth as New Zealand’s Deputy Consul General in Honolulu. My 13-year diplomatic career was on an upwards trajectory. Then, I made the tough decision to leave the New Zealand foreign service after we married as I was unable to continue while remaining in the United States with John. We PCSd to Virginia in the middle of the pandemic and I immersed myself fully in the military community, while simultaneously reinventing my career.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
As Deputy Director of Government Relations at the National Military Family Association, I led advocacy on legislation and policy affecting military family financial stability and spouse employment. I had hundreds of meetings with congressional staff during 2022 to advocate for the Military Spouse Hiring Act, which would lower the high military spouse unemployment rate by creating a new tax credit for employers. While the legislation did not pass due to broader politics, this outreach significantly raised awareness on the Hill of the employment challenges experienced by military spouses due to the military lifestyle and the need to help our community. I am optimistic this legislation will pass in future.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Although I became a military spouse later in life than many, and was new to military culture, I jumped in the deep end. I have mentored other foreign-born spouses on career transitioning in the US (through Hiring Our Heroes), leveraged my networks to introduce spouses to career opportunities, supported the Modern Military Association of America’s policy work to support LGBTQ+ military families, and participated in Blue Star Families’ programs to welcome new military families to the Northern Virginia region.
Describe how you support your community:
By showing up anywhere I can make an impact. By building broad networks so I can use those connections to support others in need. By listening with empathy to others’ experiences, and being a voice for LGBTQ+ military families and foreign-born spouses who are often ignored and face unique challenges.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for military spouses who are struggling in their career goals to take control of their journey, make the most of available programs, and become their own cheerleaders. When military spouses have meaningful employment this benefits everyone – it improves family financial stability (and therefore military readiness), as well as the spouse’s mental and emotional resilience and sense of purpose.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Through speaking on panels and at events (Hiring Our Heroes, Blue Star Families), by sharing opportunities with my networks in person and via LinkedIn, and collaborating with other organizations such as the National Military Spouse Network. I have shared my own story as a new military spouse who successfully pivoted in my career after settling in the US as an immigrant. I tell my military spouse story with pride whenever and wherever I can!
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
To raise awareness of the negative impacts of military spouse un- and under-employment, encourage more employers to give military spouses the same opportunities their civilian counterparts have, inspire other spouses in their career journeys, and represent the LGBTQ+ and immigrant military communities with pride.
David Treacher is a former diplomat in the New Zealand foreign service who fell in love and married an American soldier. He uprooted his life to support his husband, John, in his military career. Since becoming a military spouse, David has been a vocal advocate for the military spouse community—particularly for LGBTQ and foreign born spouses. He quickly became a champion for military families and is beloved by everyone he meets. From his time as a military spouse fellow at Hiring Our Heroes to his work on the government relations team at the National Military Family Association, David has his left his mark. David is currently following his dream and working as a policy advisor for the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, DC. In his free time, he sings for the prestigious Washington Gay Men’s Chorus and educates the world on the wonder that is Tori Amos. I can’t think of a better representative for our community.
- by Besa Pinchotti