Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Naval Air Station Pensacola
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 5
Share your military spouse story:
As a military family, we are taught to adapt and overcome. This is my eighth year as a military spouse, however, it feels as though eighteen. I can honestly say, I didn't know what to expect when Matt and I decided to marry and become a blended family. Not only was I suddenly becoming a military spouse at 37, but I certainly wasn't prepared for the four pcs's and three cross country moves in those eight years. As a passionate and driven entrepreneur and business owner, that in itself has been its own challenge. Growing a company from the ground up and having to restart and grow your local network over and over has been incredibly exhausting. That's where being adaptable and knowing how to overcome with grace come into play. My entire life has unknowingly prepared me for this role. Being born with a cleft lip and overcoming those insecurities to being an incredibly determined and driven human. I have always had the ability to push my mind, my body, my goals to achieve success in anything I put my heart toward. I was previously married and resided in Kuwait for over decade. I have overcome the anxiety of living as a civilian in a war threatened nation and building a makeshift bomb shelter. Post divorce, I launched a company in Canada as a single mom of two boys, working diligently during the day and taking business courses at night. At the age of forty, I decided to push my body to the limits and compete in my first bodybuilding competition. After two previous c-sections, I conquered my self imposed limitations and won nine medals. I continue to push myself and my abilities everyday despite military challenges. My most recent accomplishment was my trek to Mount Everest BC in 2021 as a novice climber and my first mountain. I wanted to do this three week adventure to not only test my own mental fortitude, but inspire and show other women, and military spouses that anything is possible! What is your Everest? www.womenwhodowonders.org
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
It wasn't long after becoming a military spouse that I noticed a lack of wellness services. At the time, in 2018, we were stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. I decided to host a summit to inspire and provide wellness resources to spouses, active duty, and veteran women. It was an incredible success after hosting nearly 200 women at the convention center. Since then, I was honored to host another large summit in 2019, and a global virtual summit in 2020 which included inspiring speakers such as Olympians, Wellness Experts, Female Firsts, and our special guest, General Jeannie Leavitt. After moving to Pensacola in 2021, I joined forces with a fellow Navy spouse and launched the first chapter of The Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce in NW Florida. We have since gained 200 local members and host monthly meetings. We are organizing the largest Military Entrepreneurship Forum in NW Florida with a Pitch Competition in Nov. 2023. www.milspousechamber.org/nw-florida
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I continue to help support our military community through our NW Florida Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce. We are building local partnerships with likeminded organizations such as The Monument to Womens Veterans, the Florida Association of Businesses, SBDC NW Florida, among others. It is important for us to make sure we help bridge the gap between our military spouse, veteran, and local communities. An example is attending important military forums at City Hall and speaking up on behalf of our chamber. Last year, I had the pleasure of consulting with one of the largest law firms in the nation, Levin Papantonio Rafferty and their endeavors to support our local veteran community by assisting in organizing various town halls in the region.
Describe how you support your community:
I am an avid volunteer here in NW Florida and beyond. Through my own publication, Women Who Do Wonders, I regularly share the stories of military spouses and veterans in each issue. Most importantly, I am a proud volunteer in my community that goes far beyond our military community. I have been deeply passionate about advocating and supporting survivors of sex trafficking. I volunteer and partner with local organizations who directly support sex trafficking survivors by aiding in fundraising efforts, providing motivational talks for the girls, and volunteering as Personal Care Coordinator at Magdalene's Safe House. It is my mission to leave a lasting impact in the community and assist organizations and individuals in any way I can. Over the years, I've volunteered internationally by visiting families of babies undergoing cleft surgery in Nepal, to empowering young girls in Nepali villages with Empower Nepali Girls, to distributing warm clothing to Operation Hope in Kuwait.
What do you advocate for? Why?
My vision is a world where all people are free. I hope to inspire other women, especially military spouses, to know that we all have the ability to make a change in this world. We can sometimes feel helpless in advocacy, that we have little to offer, or because we don't hold a high profile position, we simply cannot make a difference. That's far from the truth! I started with an idea to create a nonprofit to not only advocate against modern day slavery, but also provide life changing opportunities through scholarships for book publishing to entrepreneurship. As military spouses, we have the ability to take on endeavors like this. It takes one voice... and others will follow! I am also passionate about advocating for military spouses to follow their dreams in entrepreneurship. Having co-launched the first chapter of the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce, under the National Chamber, we are taking a step in advocating for our spouses in Northwest Florida and beyond!
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Networking has played a vital role in my advocacy. It is vitally important to immerse yourself into your community in order to create the opportunity to have a voice and be heard. Each time we have pcs'd and settled in a new area, my goal has been to network and immediately research groups, organizations, and events that will serve my interests and my advocacy. This past year, I had taken the leap in organizing my first large scale fundraiser for my nonprofit, Mission Wonder Women Foundation. We had been in the area for a year, so it was crucial that I immerse myself in the community. I utilized radio interview opportunities, podcasts, magazine write ups, and simply walking in to companies and pitching sponsorships. I've also taken opportunities to speak at City Hall events, and other speaking opportunities when asked. Social media is an important avenue. However, face to face personal connection has served me well over the years. Your passion will always show!
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
What an incredible initiative the AFI Military Spouse of the Year program has given to our community. I was blessed to hold the base title for NAS Pensacola last year as well. I'm always amazed by the passion behind each of the overall branch winners. This year, my company and nonprofit are set to release several projects, including an inspiring children's book to publications to working with an award-winning screenwriter, hosting bigger and more inspiring fundraisers. I have witnessed the incredible opportunities that can arise with holding the title of AFI Military Spouse of the Year. As Matt and I roll into our last year of active duty service, this title would be an incredible honor, as well as, potentially helping to bring my advocacy and projects to the forefront. As one we are incredible, but all together we can be unstoppable! I would like to thank Manda McVey for her thoughtful nomination. Please visit: www.missionwonderwomen.org
Pamela is an amazing human. Aside from being co-director of the NW Florida Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce and growing it to more than 200 members, she has founded Mission Wonder Women Foundation, a non-profit supporting survivors of sex-trafficking.
She has spent countless hours volunteering time with the survivors to learn how her organization can better serve the survivor community. She hosted a fundraiser of high profile and notable locals, speakers and performers to raise awareness and funds for new programs.
She has launched “Author Scholarships” and has two survivors in the process of writing their stories as part of the healing process.
Her organization will soon launch the Entrepreneur Empowerment Program.
Pamela has also penned a children's book and all profits will benefit the non-profit.
Pamela is a force of light and change in the world and I believe she will keep doing great things.
- by Manda Lynn McVey