Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Not Affiliated With a Duty Station
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 1
Share your military spouse story:
I have been an Air Force spouse for the past 8 years, a mother of 4, and an online business owner. We got married on November 22, 2014 and a week later we found out we were expecting our first child together and two week later after that, he left for Osan, South Korea for a year long tour! Our first year of marriage we spent apart. Although it was difficult and challenging experiencing the pregnancy without him physically present we got creative in all the things that we did to spend time together and stay strong. Over the last 8 years I have learned more about me than I have over the last 41 years on this earth. I am super grateful for all the lessons learned through this journey as a Military Spouse. I didn't know how strong & resilient I was until I had no choice but to be. I have discovered that at every level of success there's more to learn, more to uncover and more to heal and it's such a blessing to have the opportunity to experience it all, good and not so good. And in the process of all this growth, it has allowed me to identify that it's ok to not be ok, it is ok to not know all the steps of what is ahead. As long as you keep your faith present at all time you are cover by God. I run an online business and over the last 7 years I coached dozens of Military Spouses on how to build and launch their online brands. I have coached hundreds of online entrepreneurs on how to launch their digital products online.It has been a blessing to be able to share my expertise and knowledge to help other military spouses grow their online presence. More recently my husband became a recruiter and no one told me that comes with a another layer of adventures. We are located in Mary Esther, Fl. His reporting base is Montgomery, AL and his recruiting office is here in Mary Esther, Fl so not having his reporting station nearby has disconnected us from base activities all together so my efforts have been focused on connecting with online military communities.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I am a true believer that personal growth comes from being in community. As a Digital Marketing Expert I have been invited to speak and serve at numerous Online Summits, Live Events & Online Military Communities like AMSE & Milspouse Creative. I have volunteered many hours to support other Military Spouses who are starting their own online business. It is my mission to help more Military Spouse see the potential we have, we don't have to be unemployed all because we do "bounce around every few years". We are much more than what society wants to believe and I want to continue contributing to that shift.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I was part of the Admin Group of Military Spouse Online Community, where we would host paint parties, coffee meetups, mastermind chats and many more business educational workshops. We also took part of a local event that was held to raise money for a fellow military spouse who was going through chemotherapy. The whole family participated in this event and it was great to see the community come together in support for this military family.
Describe how you support your community:
I have served many military spouse online communities and local communities offering my expertise as a Digital Marketing Expert. I have been invited to speak and serve at numerous Online Summits, Live Events & Online Military Communities like AMSE & Milspouse Creative. Where I have share my story as a military spouse entrepreneur with a blended family who experienced identity loss in hopes to inspire many more that they are not alone and ultimately to take the leap of faith and pursue their dream as well. It has been part of my purpose to support fellow military spouse define their online presence, messaging and packaging their offers so that they can launch their digital services to the world and create another stream of income while creating impact.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for fellow military spouses to pursue their dreams while still being able to be a supporting role to their service member. Just because we are a supporting role in our service member's career does not mean we need to forget about SELF. We can pursue our own goals and dreams and in fact be more prepared for when it's time for our services members to retire.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Since becoming a Military Spouse Entrepreneur I have utilized my platform to bring more awareness of the possibilities of entrepreneurship for Military Spouses. I created a podcast called Courageous Hustler and I use this platform to inspire others by sharing my story and struggles of when I transition from being a full time corporate employee to entrepreneurship. I also utilized my social media channels to help more on my area of expertise with digital marketing and business coaching.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
My hope is that I can help and support more military spouses out there. I was one of many military spouse that was hiding and not asking for support, winging it alone all because I didn't feel like I belong in this community and sadly I know like me there are many more that don't ask for support and sometime suffer in silence. You don't have to do this military lifestyle alone, and you don't have to figure it out alone. There is a community that can help you through many of these seasons.
Sandra is my biz bestie and an incredible military spouse who flies under the radar with her huge heart to serve. I met Sandra when I invested in myself though a program called Purpose to Platform. Sandra was a coach and we instantly clicked through our love of leveraging tech to make things happen. Sandra’s unique story as a military spouse entrepreneur with a blended family is inspiring. She volunteers countless hours in communities the support military spouse businesses like AMSE and Milspouse Creative. I’ve seen her share her genius again and again with a heart of wanting to see our small businesses thrive as a means to control the narrative despite our community’s struggle with unemployment and underemployment. Sandra is the host of the Courageous Hustler Podcast, is a transformational speaker, coach and mentor. With this nomination for AFI’s MSOY I hope Sandra get’s a much deserved “thank you” and that more military spouses can be inspired by her grit and determination.
- by Bree Carroll