Duty Station: Naval-Base-Point-Loma
Number of Deployments: 0
Number of PCS's: 1
About the nominee: I am the 2016 Spouse of the Year Installation winner for Naval Base Coronado and am honored and humbled to be nominated for this program again this year. These past several years have been a life changing experience being apart of the MSOY Program. My spouse and I were in the news, my military outreach initiatives quadrupled, and we were even the recipients of Equality California's 2016 Vanguard Equality Award, largely in part of being named a base level SOY. I am determined to have an even greater 2018 while building my military spouse employment programs, promoting the Department of Defense's Equality Initiatives, and creating an even stronger bond with the MSOY family. The military community is full of diverse life stories. Stories of love and compassion, struggle and sacrifice, and stories of friendship and duty. As military spouses, we all have one of those unique stories. None of us are identical but we do have several qualities in common that we learn and cultivate together. Qualities like leadership and compassion, humor and commitment. One thing is for sure, my life has forever benefited by being a military spouse and being a welcomed member of a leadership team who works hard to make sure that our community is taken care of in all of the delicate ways it needs. I come from a strong military family. My father was a Vietnam Veteran. I have two nephews currently serving, one in the Air Force and one in the Army. And of course, my pride and joy is my husband, and almost 19 year active duty Sailor in the US Navy. Shortly after I married into the military family I got involved with and eventually was voted onto the board of the Family Readiness Group with Amphibious Construction Battalion One aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and eventually took the reigns as the Board President for a year. After a PCS in 2016, I am currently serving as Command Ombudsman on a two year term appointment for Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center aboard Naval Base Point Loma where I work as the liaison between the command leadership and the families, managing the flow of information in both directions. Understanding that for a lot of military spouses and families, the abundant resources in a military metropolis like San Diego can be intimidating, it has been my mission to create relationships within our local military family. In my experience it is more beneficial for people to feel comfortable and confident with bringing their needs to a public light if they know and trust the person they are communicating with. From military spouse employment needs to housing needs, to larger, more intimate issues, it is an honor to serve in this resource capacity. For the last several years, I have served as a volunteer Network Lead for Hiring our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network, a program of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. In this role I coordinate and lead events that help build and sustain networks for professional military spouses. We work on everything from resume building to symposiums on managing a career while being a military spouse. This platform has given me the unique opportunity to work directly with military spouses to improve the unemployment rate and remove the stigma associated with being military spouses in the employment space. This is another aftereffect of being a part of the MSOY Program that I treasure and enjoy working in. All of the work I do as a military spouse would not be possible if it weren't for my own career. I am the Vice President of Marketing and Realtor for a real estate brokerage where I have recently become a shareholder. My career offers me the opportunity to work with a lot of people, creating relationships that can help in my military spouse initiatives. It also offers me the flexibility in my schedule to be able to accomplish those initiatives.
Hobbies: I am a tennis playing, summer-lovin', gadget-geek who is desperately in love with Southern California. When we do have time away from work and collateral duties, you can find us on the water! We are members of a boat club here in San Diego, so we spend as much time as we can boating, sailing, kayaking...pretty much anything on the water. The other major passion I share with my husband is our desire for traveling. Anything from road trips through the states in the Jeep to traveling to Normandy, France to witness where my husband's Grandfather stormed the beach as a part of D-Day during World War II, we take every opportunity to experience the world we live in and by doing so it opens our minds to multi-cultural environments and strengthens our love and respect for humanity.
Interesting Facts: Late last year, I was asked to speak at the San Diego Military Family Collaborative's annual conference. The conference attendees were a mix between military spouse volunteers leadership and military family resource providers. When putting together the outline for the speech, I wanted to find something that would draw them in and grab there attention....so I told them my Tricare OBGYN story. This story has since become quite the humorous conversation piece so I thought I would share this as an interesting fact about my life. When I first got married and switched from private insurance to Tricare, I signed up for a primary care physician and went about my business. The first time I wanted to see my doctor, I had a terrible sinus infection and just needed to pop in for an exam and a prescription. When I showed up at the office, I was shocked to see that I was assigned to an OBGYN. Obviously that wasn't going to work so I headed over to the urgent care and got treated. I called Tricare and explained what happened and they said they would assign me to another PMC. Fast forward a year or so and the annual winter "Man Cold" came around and it went on for a day or two too long so I went to see my new doctor. When I arrived at this office, my jaw dropped. They had sent me to yet another OBGYN. I finally had to call and as bluntly as possible tell them that I appreciate all they do for military families but I simply do not have those parts!
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? The list of things I have learned from being a military spouse could eventually rival a full set of encyclopedias but if I have to narrow it down to one item, I would bring light to the bond that happens between military families. It is unlike any other relationship I have been a part of in life. There is an instant camaraderie that is absolute. There is a desire to immediately find how you can help one another. The kinship is strong and through modern communication technology is everlasting. It is unlikely to find this social behavior in other large segmented communities. I have learned to not only love this about being apart of the military community, but I have grown accustom to participating in it as well. I have learned how to make personalized iron-on "Navy Baby" patches on onesies for a countless number of military babes that have been born at commands my husband is attached to.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? One of the most important issues facing modern military families is employment and the public perception of military spouses and their abilities. Whether we like it or not, the idea of a single family income is becoming something of the past. To participate in a middle class life in this country, it is more and more required for the military spouse to offset the military pay of their spouse by growing and maintaining their own career. There are many programs in various stages of experience and reach throughout the community but there is so much work that needs to be done. The outreach happening between states to ease state licensing restrictions on military spouses is an important lobbying effort that needs years of hard work to see into a successful resolution. Networking through local communities, veteran and military spouse organizations, local chamber of commerce groups, and our own social networks need streamlining. This is a passion of mine and am rolling up my sleeves and digging in to work together to secure a higher percentage of gainfully employed military spouses.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The absolute best part of being in a military family is being surrounded by constant patriotism. I love this country with a passion that I would rival against anyone. I believe in our democracy with such love that even at 39 years old I still get the chills when I hear the Star Spangled Banner. We are a nation of fighters. A nation of passionate, diverse, and creative people. A nation that strives for a better tomorrow. While we have different political parties and even some rival ideas as a nation, we still come together in the end and defend our principles. We will give our only shirt off our back to help a fellow American. We learn from each other, we work hard to be stronger and smarter. In the military family, you find the best of these qualities. Being around that kind of patriotism holds me accountable to participate and give back the best I can.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? The Military Spouse of the Year title is just that, a title. What you do with it and how far you go with it, has been unique to each winner. Imagining myself in that role is a humbling and exciting thought. The MSOYs that I have had the pleasure of knowing are leaders with compassion, role models with class, and strong advocates with passion. One thing I would want to accomplish with this title is to follow in their footsteps, make them proud, and take the MSOY Program to an even higher level of visibility and exposure. This program and the people in it have the power to change the world for the better and if I was to carry the torch I would want to grow and continue to reach and strengthen our community. This is all about what you do and who you effect and understanding that is the most important piece of this amazing process.
Reasons for nominating:
Brian is the epitome of leadership both in and out of the military spouse community. His list of volunteer accomplishments is quite impressive, and his goal in every endeavor is to help people become the best version of themselves. When he's not carrying out his duties as the Command Ombudsman for Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center or volunteering at MWR events, he's got his boots on the ground as the Chapter Lead for the San Diego region of the Hiring our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network. Through this organization, Brian manages a network of over 200 military spouses as they navigate their careers. He hosts workshops where he helps improve their first impressions, works with entrepreneurs, and helps to make connections to get military spouses gainful employment. Brian has been invited to speak at several military spouse conferences, hiring fairs, and as a guest speaker aboard Naval Amphibious Base during their Sailor’s Diversity Training. He has written several articles for Military Spouse magazine that created a lasting conversation about being a male military spouse in a same-sex, biracial marriage. In addition, he was a contributing author for Behind the Scenes: "The Tales of American Military Spouses Making a Difference a military spouse legacy project"; where he details the positive impact each person can have on our military community. Brian is also an entrepreneur himself. He's a shareholder and board member in a real estate firm where he also is a top agent and Vice President of Marketing and Property Management. And in 2017 he aligned himself with another Military Spouse owned business and became a minority partner in order to lend his marketing expertise to the budding business and help it grow. Nearly everything Brian does prioritizes the military community...which is why he is among the most respected and celebrated members of the military community here the San Diego region and beyond. Of all his accomplishments, Brian's heart, drive and motivation to help others become the best versions of themselves tops the list of reasons he should be named 2018's Military Spouse of the Year. He is inspiring, and seeks to inspire every person he comes into contact with. He is exactly the person who should be representing the military spouse community this year and beyond...because Brian IS the change we wish to see in the world. :) -- MJ Boice, Fellow Military Spouse
Brian Alvarado is one of the most dedicated military spouses I have ever met. Brian currently serves as the Command Navy Ombudsman for his husband's command at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, California. He works tirelessly to provide support and resources to the service members and families of that unit. He is the spouse that hosts service members and friends during the holidays, football games, or for no other reason except that he is an amazing friend. He is humble and kind, but also steadfast in his personal a professional life to always give a voice to those who feel unheard. Brian never hesitates to provide information, support, and friendship to all those he encounters. He sets an example as a military spouse that makes me feel so honored to call him my friend and fellow spouse. Brian is always encouraging to our military community, and so many that know him personally find comfort from his words and his actions. The world needs more people like Brian Alvarado and his husband Matt. Together they are a powerhouse couple bringing strength, hope, and love to the military community through example of commitment in marriage and to our nation's armed forces. Brian has amazing things to offer the military spouse community and he deserves this award! -- Heather Smith, Military-Spouse