What started out as a simple call-to-action has morphed our More Than a Spouse campaign to a mantra for military spouses everywhere!
Started in 2015 as a way to engage military spouses around the world, the More Than a Spouse Facebook Party brought together hundreds of participants to a single social media event for one hour. This “party” was moderated by volunteer panelists who shared their career goals and aspirations, discussed educational and professional options, and encouraged participants to believe in themselves!
“We wanted our audience to feel invigorated and believe in themselves enough to take that next step–to apply for one of NMFA’s scholarships, to sign up to take the GRE, update their resume, or apply for a job,” one panelist shared. “Whatever they wanted to do, we wanted to support them.”
The More Than a Spouse Facebook Party won an Honorable Mention in the PRNews Digital Awards – 2016 WOW! Campaign–an award that celebrates the year’s most outstanding digital communicators and campaigns in a variety of media such as video, website design, mobile apps, and more.
In 2016, encouraged by the overwhelming response for more by participants, a face-to-face on-site networking event took place at NMFA headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Over 60 participants, from senior military spouses to community leaders gathered to mix, mingle, share ideas, goals, and opportunities.
A series of weekly Facebook Live videos followed, highlighting diverse military spouses in different career fields from STEM to entrepreneurs to volunteers. Participants in these videos shared their career journeys, roadblocks, and struggles. Video participants, like Katherine, encouraged law students in her Navigating Law School & Your Legal Career as a Milspouse video, and Michelle encouraged milspouses to be creative in How to be a Freelance Writer.
Continuing the momentum this year, NMFA is taking More Than a Spouse on the road! With the help of NMFA volunteers worldwide, pop-up events will be hosted near military communities across all our regions.
More Than a Spouse piloted in Quantico, VA last week to an excited group of spouses on Marine Corps Base Quantico. This event brought together military spouses from all branches of the Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force. These spouses traveled far and wide from around Northern Virginia because they identified with being More Than a Spouse.
At the event, one spouse admittedly shared that she was a terrible milspouse and was pessimistic in attending any milspouse events. It just wasn’t ‘her thing’ and being a working military spouse, most events never fit with her work schedule, so she never felt comfortable attending. On the urging of her colleague, she took a courageous step in putting herself out there at our Quantico event. With her strong personality and candid wit, she made us laugh until we cried and charmed us with her story of meeting her Marine when she arrested him!
Our Quantico event brought together a few nurses, an immigration lawyer, a police officer, a few students, a life coach, a travel agent, an interior designer, and a few volunteers. This group shared and encouraged, joked and cheered. The afternoon flew by as we enjoyed each other’s company and lost track of time. Connections were made and networks were extended but a single question reverberated from every guest “When’s the next event?”
Our hope is to use these More Than a Spouse events as an outreach tool to connect diverse, professional milspouses in their own communities–these events will provide a comfortable outlet that allows talented spouses to share, encourage and empower their peers. Hopefully everyone will walk away feeling invigorated, motivated, and refreshed with new ideas!
Marjorie, a busy graduate student, mother, and caregiver to her injured service member, told us that she had an awesome time, “I met some really resourceful women and reconnected with old friends. That’s what it’s all about! Thanks for putting this together.” Standing at just over 5 feet, Marjorie proudly held her sign as “a force to be reckoned with.”
Look for a More Than a Spouse event to come to a community near you this year. As we enlist the help of our NMFA volunteers throughout our regions worldwide to help host an event, we hope to be in your neighborhood before too long. Our next stop will be Annapolis, MD in March!
Posted by Pikkwan Boston, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager