ICYMI: MilSpouseFest goes to Washington, D.C.

MilSpouseFest, the modern network for military spouses, presented by USAA, was thrilled to have our first in-person events for 2022 in the National Capital Region, which included our first ever hybrid event, connecting spouses from around the globe! MilSpouseFest events are for military spouses from all branches of service including national guard and reserves. This was the first visit to the region since 2017.

“We were thrilled with the engagement onsite in Springfield and Bowie and using the Whova app allowed all our attendees to engage virtually with our resource exhibitors and speakers before, during, and after the events,” said MilSpouseFest director Julie Shepard.

“We rebranded MilSpouseFest events with our theme Unite and Ignite. We focused on making friends, professional networking, military spouse jobs, and celebrated Month of the Military Child. MilSpouseFest provided free professional headshots for attendees at our Springfield location. Over 35% of our registrations indicated spouses who were looking for employment resources and we knew that having a professional headshot would be very impactful for military spouses.“  

“I received a lot of good information to give me a jumping off point for getting back into the workforce,” said one attendee. “I’ve been a stay at home mom for ten years, and except for driving home from the hospital with my first newborn, few things have scared me more than going back to work. This event made me aware of a ton of resources, and made me feel a little less alone in my journey. Thank you for that.”

Our April 26th events took place in Springfield, VA with an in-person daytime and evening session. Our April 28th event was held in Bowie, MD and gave attendees an option to either attend in person or from the comfort of home. Keynote speaker and Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce Jaime Chapman talked about “confessions of a compulsive achiever.”

Maureen Haney, Program Manager for Military & Federal Programs with Tutor.com, shared the rescources available from Tutor.com for service members and their families. 

Military Child Education Coalition CEO and President Dr. Becky Porter addressed the audience with a prerecorded message in honor of the Month of the Military Child. 

The ever-popular Building Connections Panel with Shepard, Chapman, and USAA Relationship Director of the Military Advocacy Group Chuck Bunch allowed attendees to answer questions on networking with others and they discussed ways spouses can be more involved in the community.

“Whenever I was deployed or away from home, I never had to worry about what was going on there because of my military spouse,” said Chuck Bunch, Relationship Director with USAA to the attendees. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart from all you do.”

Financial Fact or Fiction, led by USAA’s Relationship Director of Military Advocacy Groups,  JJ Montanaro, informed attendees about different facts on finances that could ignite savings and good financial planning. 

Military spouse owned businesses R.Riveter and Dreadnought Designs were on site for spouses to purchase merchandise at the event and donated prizes for in person and virtual attendees to win. Nomades donated a duty station shared charm bracelets, and Innovation Consultants of DeKalb donated author signed copies of the children’s book “I Move a Lot, and that’s Okay.”

Other resource exhibitors that attended in person or virtually included Army Community Services from Fort Belvoir and Fort Meade, Blue Star Families, Cohen Veterans Network, Exceptional Family Members of the Military, Hiring our Heroes , Joint Base Andrews Military and Family Support Center, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Family Advisory Network, Military Spouse Advocacy Network, Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce, Military Spouse Jobs, Modern Military Association of America, National Military Family Association, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Ohana Homefront Foundation, Secure Families Initiative, The Barry Robinson Center, United Through Reading, USO-Metro, and Vet Tix.

The virtual attendees participated in breakout rooms, and were able to visit the exhibitor booths on the Whova app. “I attend to connect with other milspouses and to learn about what is available in the military community,” said one virtual attendee. “I like the hybrid model because it allows me to have flexibility since I am not able to go in person.”

MilSpouseFest will host several more MSF Casts through the rest of the year and will return in-person in San Diego, CA for events on 10/25 and 10/27. For more information, visit MilSpouseFest.com and make sure to follow us on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We invite you to join our MilSpouseFest Facebook community group, featuring exclusive content, where you can engage with other spouses and resource partners.

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