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MSBA in the media 2012
Operations Director, Rikki Winters, interviews with Chris Pape of Macho Spouse to explain what MSBA is and does for military spouses.
Article written by Chief Marketing Office, Laura St.John, of Imagine Tomorrow. Laura mentions MSBA and MSBA members Shelly Geist and Tashia Webber.
MSBA in the media 2009
Co-founder, Joanna Williamson, is voted CinCHouse 2009 "Movers and Shakers Awards". The article mentions Joanna's work with MSBA and with the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act.
MSBA in the media 2008
Cinchouse Article appearing 9/23/2008
One resource tailored specifically to women in the military community is the Military Spouse Business Association. Lanette Lepper, one of the association founders, is a Navy wife of seven years and a self-described “stay-at-home mom.” She also owns and operates her own small business from her home, creating, selling and marketing hand-crafted cards. Several years ago, she teamed up with Army wife Rebecca Poynter and Navy wife Joanna Williamson, both of whom are entrepreneurs. Together, they created the MSBA.
“We recognized we needed to pool our experience and create an organization with a two-fold mission,” Lepper said. “We provide support to other military spouse business owners, a lot of whom are at home and unable to interact and network, which is really important to be successful.”
They also created the Red, White and Blue pages, a list of military spouse business owners.
“Spouses and the general public can use it to support military spouse owned businesses,” she said.
In addition to providing business resources, the association offers a member’s forum for discussing start-up questions and lessons learned.
“They can ask each other how to get new customers or what to do in a certain situation,” Lepper said. “We serve as a virtual water cooler.”
The MSBA is now some 300 members strong and growing. Member and Army wife Stacey Abler joined the organization to network as she grew her business, MarriedtotheArmy.com, an online mall of services, shopping and information for Army wives. She knows it can be tough for military spouses to chase their own dreams when so much focus is on their husbands’.
“We get so wrapped up in the fact that our soldiers have little control over their military career that we forget that we do, in fact, have control over our own,” Abler said. “Working for myself has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done.”
She encourages other entrepreneurs to persevere.
“There are many resources available, including MSBA,” she said. “Take the chance, be persistent and remember that any failures are only opportunities to learn.”
America Supports You Article appearing 8/29/2008
Starting a business requires cold, hard cash and moral support, both of which are now available to military spouses through a Virginia-based organization.
“Military Spouse Business Association will help military spouses with the tangibles of financial and business resources and the intangibles of motivation, encouragement, support and recognition,” said Lanette Lepper, a co-founder of the organization, and a military spouse who owns her own business.
The other co-founders, Joanna Williamson and Rebecca Poynter, share the same backgrounds as military spouses and small-business owners. Their idea to create the Military Spouse Business Association stemmed from phone conversations during which they discussed military life, she said.
They also talked about business and financial topics and agreed that sound financial preparation had allowed them to start their individual businesses and keep them going. The trio also agreed that even though they didn’t all live in the same area, they still could share their experience with other military spouses.
“Two of us had never met each other in person, and we thought if we shared our ideas and encouragement remotely, motivating and learning from each other, then why can’t other military spouses do exactly the same thing?” Lepper said. “It also occurred to us that if we wanted to find other military spouses to buy from, hire, make a friend, find a colleague or mentor in the same profession, we didn’t have a way to do that.”
The organization now offers military spouses who own their own businesses networking opportunities as well as financial and other resources.
The organization’s Web site offers what the founders call the “Red, White and Blue Pages.” It’s a directory of military spouse-owned businesses, which enables military spouses to find other military spouses in their geographical or professional areas.
“The directory is also available to [members of] the general public who would like to support these military spouse-owned businesses,” Lepper said.
Lepper said civilians looking to support businesses owned by military spouses should know those businesses are in good hands.
“The prototype of a military spouse might surprise you,” she said. “[They’re] most likely to be female, most likely to be employed, better educated than their civilian counterpart, [and they] live near a major city and are Internet-savvy.”
Military Spouse Business Association is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
Registration is temporarily closed while the organization moves its Web site. Registration should be available again Sept. 1.
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MSBA in the media 2007
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