Anne’s husband is in the Air Force and they are currently at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. although in June they will be PCSing to Langley in Virginia. Anne has a Bachelor of Fine Art in Graphic Design and she is a gifted artist. She paints and sells abstract pieces, portraits and animals!
What made you decide this career path? I have always been creating since I was a toddler often only needing a drawing utensil and paper to be happy. The social work path came later after a particularly difficult solo tour. I found my true calling when I picked up a paintbrush during this time. That is when I discovered that the answer to my coping with mental illness could help others too. I began applying to graduate school to become a clinical social worker who advocates for military mental health policy reform and to learn how to create an art therapy program for military families that utilizes the military spouse community. Creation is healing, coping, closeness and expressing without having to speak. Color is beautiful, bold, happy, love, excitement, joy and a necessity in life. Advocacy is at the heart of my artwork with a focus on military mental health. Transparency is being courageously vulnerable. All voices matter, especially in the silence of creation.
Where have you lived and what has been your favorite base so far? Our first station was Las Vegas, then Oklahoma, then Sean went to S. Korea for a year and I went home to Massachusetts. We are currently located in New Jersey and it has been my favorite station so far. Thinking about it, I believe this has to do with how much I
have learned how to handle my mental health symptoms and the neighborhood we happened to be placed in. This is the first station I really opened up to others and made friends that I know will be forever kind of friendships. It is also the kind of community where we all genuinely look out for each other. Its special and doesn’t happen often.
What is the biggest challenge of being a military spouse and pursuing your career? The biggest challenge for me has been the mental health toll and the constant moves. It took me getting to the lowest part of my life and advocating for my own mental health care while in crisis to get better. The military insurance system is difficult to navigate should not be what those in the military community have to do to cope with this lifestyle. However, I am grateful for this experience as it showed
what my purpose in this journey is. Especially with careers that require licensure it is difficult to finish school and get the amount of unpaid placement hours to get certified in your field. Then by the time you do get the hours and get certified, you PCS and have to get certified in a new state with new requirements. I am hopeful that there will be new state reciprocity policy allowing this transition to be easier.
What are your other hobbies? I love spending time with my family outside like nature walks and playing soccer. I have a passion for writing and like to incorporate that into my business whenever possible. I love to garden and even make my own raised garden beds every year.
What are some benefits of being a military spouse as a
business owner? The biggest benefit of being a military spouse as a business owner is that we are used to constantly pivoting, adapting and extremely resilient. That’s what makes military spouses perfect for entrepreneurship! The military community is the other BIG benefit of starting your own business. There are so many support systems out there with free services and you can meet so many amazingly talented, successful military business owners to lean on and learn from. It is such a special gift to be able to have that community that truly understands what it is like to own a business and deal with the very specific stressors that comes with military life.
If you could, what advice would you give yourself when
you first started your business? Realize this is a journey not a light switch to success. Enjoy the process and know that no matter what you are struggling with in the moment your future clients need you. The world needs you. Never give up.
Contact info Links
Victoria Lea Photography
Photos by Erin- @photo_byerin