As the wife of an active duty service man, South Carolina-native Stacy Swearengen knows the most challenging aspect of military spouse life: maintaining a career through multiple relocations. So 29-year-old Swearengen, who has a master’s degree in Adult Education and a certificate in career counseling, founded Military Spouse Portable Career Planning in 2010. Services include resume critiques, interview tips, and general career assessments.
Along with two classmates from the West Point Class of 1958, Lee Miller founded the non-profit Wounded Warrior Mentor Program in 2003, after seeing how many returning soldiers needed one-on-one support. Their mission is to assist these service men and women by helping them get internships or jobs, maximizing their benefits, and providing emotional support. Currently, the foundation has 375 combat veterans mentoring 400 wounded warriors in several military hospitals around the country.
Frustrated with the lack of pro-military fashions on the market, army wife Celeste Boyd used her graphic design skills to start Stiletto Gear. The online clothing company sells logo t-shirts for women and babies, but is slowly expanding to include menswear. All the tee’s feature images, such as tanks or rifles, and sayings, such as "Marine's wife" or "Love my soldier." Based in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Boyd also works as a freelance lawyer (she has a degree from Yale Law School).
In 2006, Chris Cancialosi decided to start a consulting firm, gothamCulture. Based in New York City, the firm focuses on organizational culture assessment and large-scale organizational change. Using his pre-Army background in consulting for companies including JetBlue, Cancialosi also used his experience as an Army officer to help him launch and lead gothamCulture.
After spending years as an operations manager in various sectors of the Air Force, Reggie Crane founded Next Level Coaching and Consulting in 2009. The company, based in Cocoa Beach, Florida, caters its development and consulting services to government agencies and non-profits.
As wives of active service men, Kristi Hamrick and Jennifer Picher put their careers on hold to start Military1Click, a website that features resources for military families (like links to help for PTSD and employment). Based in Davidsonville, Maryland, Pilcher says the site is set to launch a partnership with bi-partisan members of Congress to help further support military families.
With her husband overseas in the Navy, Christene Schaaf found photography as her outlet for stress. She then turned it into her career. Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she founded C.S. Photography. While she shoots standard portraits and weddings, she also offers a home package, which includes custom photo shoots for entire home-art projects.