Duty Station: Randolph-AFB
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 4
About the nominee: Hi, I’m Lindsey! I’m a proud Air Force wife and mom of two amazing kids. When I’m not brushing little teeth or hunting down eternally missing socks, my professional life keeps me busy! I run both a marketing and real estate business that each hire fellow military spouses, and I volunteer as a co-chapter leader for the MilSpo Project to help other military spouses find their professional path, too. As a military wife, I didn’t think it was possible to have a career while supporting my husband’s service. I was passed over for countless corporate positions because, despite my contributions to the organization, I was essentially only ever considered a transient member of personnel. During our third PCS in a short period, I learned my corporate marketing position—a remote position I had worked hard to achieve—was no longer mine. I was devastated. Alone in a new city, living a temporary lodging with a toddler, I wondered if anyone would ever hire me. It felt like I had hit rock bottom. We were essentially “living” in TLF—a situation I know so many military families can relate to—because we hadn’t yet found a home. We had visited San Antonio to house hunt prior to our PCS, but we couldn’t seem to find the right house. Unemployed for the first time in my life with no career prospect in sight and no house for our family, I finally hit my tipping point. I needed to take proactive steps to improve my situation. Fast-forward three years later to the present… The combination of losing my job and my failure to find a home on my timeline would be the fuel behind why I created a real estate business. I never wanted to be without a career or a home, and I wanted to make sure that I could help other military spouses from reaching that same point of despair during their PCS. Becoming a real estate agent, and later a business owner, meant I would always have a source of business (my friends always move!), and I could take my business anywhere Uncle Sam said we needed to go. Most importantly, though, it helped put me in a position where I can EMPOWER, INSPIRE and HELP my fellow military spouses find meaningful, mobile careers in real estate because it is a perfect, portable career path for a military wife!
Hobbies: I love being outdoors--yoga, surfing, skiing, climbing and mountain biking—you name it, I do it! Staying active is a big part of who I am, and now it’s a big part of my children’s lives, too. Trips to the trampoline park and climbing gym are a must in our household. I also love helping my fellow military mommas! I have a love for interior decorating and often will help my fellow spouses move things around or decorate a room for a new baby. Some spouses are intimidated to decorate because we move so much, so I help by showing them ways to buy furniture and décor that will work in any house, anywhere!
Interesting Facts: Myself and my team of military spouse realtors earned both local and national recognition in 2016 for our work with military families in San Antonio. Our team, The Litton Group was nominated as one of the Wall Street Journal’s top 1000 real estate team’s in the US, and I was named the San Antonio’s National Association of Women Business Owner’s “Rising Star” in 2016. On a more personal note, over the last three years I traveled nine European countries—the perks of having a spouse stationed in Germany—while continuing to run my real estate business remotely.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Military life has taught me how to be incredibly persistent and creative. In the beginning, I had a hard time adjusting to PCSing. I saw it as this horrible dark cloud that loomed all too frequently in the not too far future. The cloud was always there; it reminded me that change was coming and to not get too comfortable. My experience in losing my job and PCSing all at the same time felt like the cloud turned my world into a tornado. That was my turning point. I shifted the way I saw PCSing. I now see it as an opportunity to try new things, to grow, and to double down on my efforts to get creative in the ways I pursue maintaining a professional life as a military spouse. That persistence and creativity has allowed me to overcome many obstacles. When told I would never be successful in real estate because I was a military spouse or that it would be impossible to continue to run my business when we PCSed, I hunkered down, pushed through and got more creative. Because of that persistence, I am now achieving things not only for myself but also for the many mil spouses I’ve encountered along the way.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Happy communities start with happy households. As we’ve seen, many military families aren’t just fortunate to have dual incomes, we now live in a time where many families are dependent on it. Military spouse unemployment is a large issue that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should. 90% of military spouses are either unemployed or underemployed. Many families struggle to make ends meet because they are barely able to find work and pay for childcare; most of the military spouses we’ve hired faced these struggles time and time again. Carving out a professional life as a military spouse is hard, but it’s not impossible. I believe by inspiring, empowering and educating military spouses about employment options can help create a better life for many military families.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Ironically it is the one thing I once dreaded—moving! I have really grown to love seeing parts of our great nation that I would never have seen or experienced without military life. The hundreds of people we’ve met and now call friends is amazing. The bond you create meeting people and staying in touch is something I truly treasure. It seems that no matter where we go, we have friends there!
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I’d like to empower spouses who feel hopeless in their career endeavors by telling my story as well as the story of the many amazing military spouses with whom we work—not only in San Antonio, but now in many parts of the US—to show them it is possible to have a meaningful, rewarding career! I, too, once thought there was no way I could have the career I wanted while supporting my husband’s military career, and that painful memory of believing that my choice of marriage would ultimately demand sacrificing any hope of a rewarding professional life still stings. If I can inspire and motivate other military spouses to seek the professional opportunities that their hearts and minds desire I truly believe we can create happier communities, happier homes and happier service members.
Reasons for nominating:
Lindsey has committed her career and military spouse goals to empowering other spouses to pursue their dreams. Her number one objective is to fight the high unemployment and underemployment rate that military spouses face today and has began to change that by starting her own company, hiring military spouses and helping military families through her passion: Real Estate. Lindsey has already been recognize by business organizations and publications, but to her all of these recognitions are pieces of the path to successfully advocating for military spouses that want to pursue and continue their careers by letting them know that it is possible to have a career while also supporting their spouse throughout his or her military career. -- Deborah Ortiz de la Pena, Military-Spouse