When Passion and Career Goals Coincide

By: Heatherlynn Akins

Mona Dexter believes passionately in helping military members, veterans, and military family members realize their career employment dreams. As a longtime military spouse herself, she’s experienced firsthand the challenges and struggles this segment of the workforce faces. Their skills and abilities don’t always translate easily to the civilian sector, but they are valuable assets for civilian employers. That’s why she joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) program in January 2018 as a special projects manager with the military spouse team. Today, Dexter serves as HOH Chief of Staff and Vice President of Operations and Communications.

Dexter’s journey to HOH was roundabout, typical of many military spouses. Her initial career was in higher education student affairs administration, primarily in career services and adult learning and development, and with programs focused on underserved populations. As she moved around, however, she began to find her passion for assisting those in military life with finding their career fits. She transferred her attentions first to the Army Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program, a program designed to help those transitioning from active-duty service to life after the Army. As a result, Dexter found her perfect fit with HOH, where she can help the organization provide 360-degree career development training and education through internships and hiring events. HOH’s unique mission to “educate civilian employers on the value of military-connected talent in diversifying and thus strengthening their workforces” is critical to Dexter’s way of thinking. That’s the missing link she couldn’t find with her previous position. Having lived the military life but working in the civilian sector, Dexter is singularly qualified to be a part of the bridge that effects understanding between those in the military and civilian worlds.

HOH is also authorized to operate on military installations, allowing its programs and services to be brought directly to its targeted clientele. HOH’s holistic approach to establishing hiring events along with internship opportunities and digital communities designed for networking and support purposes has been effective and successful. In 2012, HOH identified a possibly more alarming statistic: the drastically high rate of military spouse unemployment. When Dexter started with HOH in 2018, the unemployment rate for military-connected personnel was down considerably and the focus on military spouses was well underway. (more…)

2021-10-08T13:33:01+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Did You Know?

Business growth is directly tied to the goals we have for our businesses already. Things like brand loyalty, a stellar reputation, and an ability to recognize and anticipate our customers’ needs. At its heart, business development is nothing more than a process for determining how you can improve, whether that be financially, in reputation, or in overall value. All aspects of your business are covered under this broad umbrella because, really, all growth stems from the same basic mission: to provide your customers with on-time, reliable, and efficiently driven deliverables. Read through this month’s newsletter for lots of tips on how to update or plan for your own growth goals.

If you’re lost on how to make the most of your business development needs, Powerhouse Planning can help. We offer a wide range of services that can help you bring your business to the next level. Contact us today for details.

2021-09-27T19:46:23+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Tips for Growing Your Business in 2021

By: Meghan Traynor

According to a survey reported on by Small Business Trends, 92% of small businesses had to “reinvent themselves” during the pandemic. Whether your business had to pivot over the last year, or you’re just ready to grow, we believe, “Growth doesn’t come with a single action. It is the consequence of persistence courage and hard work” (Anonymous). Here are a few actions you can take to grow your business successfully.

  1. Be adaptable. If you were one of the 92% of small businesses who recently reinvented themselves, then you are already very familiar with this one. Being adaptable in business allows you to grow even when things don’t go according to plan. If you haven’t already created one, a strategic adaptability plan is something your business should consider so you are always prepared for the unexpected.
  2. Remote work and virtual services are in high demand. According to the Remote-How 2020 survey, 87% of remote managers believe that remote work is the way of the future. With so many businesses continuing with a full-time or part-time remote workforce, there are a few things you can do to set your company up for success:


2021-10-12T17:49:43+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Defining Professional Development Goals

By: Meredith Flory

As your company expands, employee growth won’t only be connected to the number of employees you have, but to their expectations for career progression, benefits, and skill-building as well. As a small business or entrepreneur, you don’t have to fear employee growth; rather, it shows your dedication to quality work and the development of your team, which aids your customers. If you’re in a position to start providing professional development opportunities, here are three suggestions for making it a part of your company culture.

Consider Your Goals for Professional Development 

Just as you have measurable goals for sales and services, developing professional development programs requires considering cost, time, and measurable outcomes. There are multiple types of professional development, some that focus on the individual, some that focus on skills and networking, and others that the team participates in together. As you develop a professional development program, consider the following to get the most out of your plan:

  • What is your budget, cost, and available time? Do you want to spend money on specific classes or conferences to then offer to employees, or do you want to provide funds for employees to request when they find their own opportunities?
  • Where do you see a need for improvement? If you have a specific skill in mind that you see a pattern of employees needing assistance with, you can enter professional development programs with a measurable goal in mind. This goal might be related to growth if there is a new technology or skill your company will be implementing, or it might be a professional skill where your employees need more experience or coaching.
  • Can you attach professional development to company growth? If you foresee growth that will lead to new positions, developing needed management skills in current employees may allow you to promote from within and encourage company loyalty.
  • Plan for time to offer opportunities for feedback, both named and anonymous, for any programs you will offer.


2021-10-12T17:48:29+00:00September 27th, 2021|


Client Profile: Home Professionals, Inc.

Powerhouse Services Provided: Business Growth – Remote Executive Assistant Support

“Powerhouse Planning is a pleasant, professional, and enjoyable team to work with. The Powerhouse team works hard to build relationships with their clients in order to understand client needs and deliver services effectively. We have utilized their services on several different occasions with excellent results, and we look forward to working with them again as future needs arise.”

– Jeffrey Garza, General Manager, Home Professionals, Inc.

2021-09-27T19:46:01+00:00September 27th, 2021|


Growing your business can be a scary prospect, especially in these uncertain times. We’ve all been in triage mode for a long time, and the idea of branching out and getting bigger can feel like a monumental hill to climb in 2021. We’ve assembled a sampling of digital resources that can help you decide when and where to grow your small business.

You can always take a trip to the Small Business Administration’s website. It’s packed with information designed to support you at every step along your entrepreneurial journey.

Want tips that are relevant to today’s changing business topography? Check out this article for 16 timely tips on growing your business in 2021. From learning where to set your sights to making baby-step changes, it has something for everyone.

Not sure if you’re ready to grow? Or how to begin understanding the process? The Harvard Business Review has assembled five signs to help you determine if your business is “in the window.”

Need a starting-off point? How to Grow Your Small Business from The New York Times might help you recognize areas where you can grow and improve, and it provides brief tips on digital tools that can help you succeed.

As always, Powerhouse has plenty of resources available to help you with both traditional and outside-the-box solutions.

Overwhelmed or unsure of where to start? Powerhouse can help. We offer support for everything from identifying areas ready for growth and helping you craft a timeline that’s right for you to freeing you up to focus on what you do best: delivering a quality product to a quality client. Contact us today to see how our business growth services can boost your business.

Have you? Have you checked out Powerhouse online recently? Our website has undergone a facelift! And it’s more than “skin deep.” New (FREE) resources, case studies, and more can help you determine how Powerhouse can best help you. Not only are we constantly updating our website, but we’re also ever-present on social media as well. Check us out on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You never know what we have going on. Who knows, you may even get a chance to interact with our president; she’s currently scheduling one-on-one 30-minute sessions where she will speak directly to you and offer advice/mentoring on any of those thorny business issues you might be facing.

2021-09-27T19:46:38+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Don’t Miss It!

Powerhouse Planning is so excited to share that Jessica Bertsch will be speaking alongside 21 incredible military spouses and lifestyle experts at this year’s PILLAR—the digital retreat for deployment countdowns!

Jessica is looking forward to talking about “Surviving Through Service: How Community Engagement Can Change Your Deployment” and sharing her favorite tips on how community engagement can shift your heart and mind and impact your family in a way that demonstrates that during your military life you can serve your country and your community.

If you’re a military spouse wanting to make your deployment countdowns really count, then grab your FREE ticket using the link below and join us November 12-14!


2021-09-27T19:46:46+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Giving Back and Getting Involved

How A 100% Volunteer-Driven Nonprofit Sparked Community Involvement and Delivered 17,500 Baskets Full of Hope to Florida’s Space Coast Families in Need

By: Julie Kirchner

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving 2020, and a 10-year-old boy dances in the rain. Soaking wet but cheerfully oblivious, he enthusiastically directs cars while his Dad loads frozen turkeys that will be delivered to families in need. It is the first year this father and son have volunteered at the Space Coast Thanksgiving Basket Brigade in Viera, Florida. For the four years prior, they had been recipients of a basket—they had been the family in need. Now, in a better place and wanting to give back, they donate to support families and volunteer their time.

“This is the impact, this is why we do what we do, and why it’s so important to us,” says Jacqueline (Jackie) Giurleo, President of the Space Coast Basket Brigade. “We never set out to become a charity or this large, we were just trying to do the right thing, and something kind for others.”

  • In 2009, in the wake of an economic recession, a family set out to make a difference in their hurting Space Coast community. In the twelve years since their work began, the Space Coast Basket Brigade has grown to 2,000 annual volunteers, fed more than 17,500 families in need, supported over 130 schools and local charities, and created countless stories of hope to last a lifetime.
  • In 2019, over 2000 volunteers (50% youth volunteers) joined in to package, decorate, and personally deliver 4,983 Thanksgiving Baskets to families in need. And last year—during a global pandemic that completely paused many charity organizations and a concurring food shortage that impacted store shelves nationwide—the Basket Brigade persevered to deliver over 3,000 meals to families who needed help more than ever.


2021-10-08T13:34:33+00:00September 27th, 2021|

Spotlight on Fritz Bertsch

Once a year we try to pin down Powerhouse Planning’s founder and president, Jessica Bertsch, and ask her to impart some words of wisdom, Powerhouse history, etc. for us to share with you. This year, we decided to take things in a slightly different direction and instead asked Jessica’s husband, Fritz, to sit down with us and give us a slightly different perspective on Powerhouse—how it started, where it’s going, and what sort of impact having an entrepreneurial wife has had on their family.

First, Fritz is actually the fourth of five Fred Stanley Bertsches, the name having been passed down through the generations. Fritz is an active-duty Coast Guard officer who recently celebrated his 20-year anniversary. He’s not slowing down or looking to retirement just yet, though. After recently finishing up a two-year tour as the commanding officer of the USCGC VIGILANT, a 210’ Medium Endurance Cutter, he is now taking up a fellowship that will see him spending a year studying at Carnegie Mellon University. After that, it’s up to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has been a part of Fritz and Jessica’s story from the very beginning. Back in 2004, Fritz met Jessica when she was vacationing with friends in Nassau, Bahamas. He was deployed there with the Coast Guard and wandered into a restaurant/bar to watch a basketball game. As Fritz says, “Jess made the mistake of asking me who was winning. After that she couldn’t get rid of me.” Several hours later, knowing he was leaving the next day, he asked Jessica if he could call her when they were all back stateside. She agreed, and the rest is history.

Being married to a military member can make having your own career difficult, and Fritz says it was “extremely difficult” watching Jessica continue to juggle her career and sacrifice opportunities so that he could focus on making the most of his military service career. Even though they made their decisions together, the stress and frustration of juggling all the aspects of a civilian career and a military lifestyle isn’t easy. “It is awe-inspiring to think of the sacrifices she has willingly made in supporting me. In truth, she has served our nation as well through her support and efforts because I know I would not be where I am today without her,” Fritz says.

When Jessica hit upon the idea for Powerhouse, Fritz remembers most the passion she had for the idea. It wasn’t so much about finding a portable career or making money, but what drove Jessica was the idea that Powerhouse could “provide opportunities and possibilities for military spouses who were just like her.” The untapped potential in the military spouse community is incredible, and this talent is so often underutilized due to the uniqueness of military life. Fritz knew Powerhouse would be successful not simply because it was a “solid concept” but also because of the passion Jessica had to make this a reality for others like her.

It’s never easy to start a business, and even though the early days were stressful and meant lots of working at all hours of the day, the commitment to learn while doing everything the business required was “impressive to watch,” Fritz says. Although Jessica might disagree, Fritz says his role was minimal during this time: “I jumped in where I could, like dropping things off at the post office. I simply have tried to be supportive and return the favor of love and support that she continues to provide me.” Jessica has stated many times that his support role is what got her through those early years.

Today, Fritz and the rest of the family continue to provide support and expertise where they can. Fritz lends his knowledge and free time to the financial side of things when needed, but he claims his efforts surely cause his wife “more stress and consternation than I relieve.” Their three children help out as well, stuffing envelopes, keeping themselves occupied when Mom needs to work and Dad is deployed, and other tasks as their ages and skills allow. Powerhouse really is a family affair for the Bertsches, and one made even more so this last year as Jessica ran Powerhouse while simultaneously homeschooling her children with assistance from her mom, a retired schoolteacher. Fritz can’t imagine Powerhouse going forward being anything but successful. In fact, he thinks the next ten years will see similar growth to what the company has experienced its first nine years. He’s noticed the personal growth Jessica has achieved reflects the company’s growth. “She continues to refine her approaches to problems and has gotten even better at multi-tasking,” Fritz says. At the same time, Jessica and Powerhouse have learned to establish boundaries and limits to maintain a healthy balance. It’s not always an easy endeavor and can lead to increased stress levels at times, but in the end Powerhouse’s flexibility is key. Even while becoming an entrepreneur and growing and honing a business model that provides career opportunities for military spouses and veterans, Jessica has been able to be present with their children and be “an amazingly loving and supportive spouse, the nucleus of our family,” according to Fritz. While the Bertsches’ situation is unique to them, the flexibility Powerhouse provides for its freelancers is, as Fritz says, a “wonderful thing.”

We asked Fritz, “If you could be Powerhouse president for a day, is there anything you would change?” After assuring us he’d never take that job as he knows he’s not well-suited to it, he said that if he ever did find himself in that position, there is one thing he’d do: hire Jessica and make her the president! “She thrives in the areas that Powerhouse needs from its president and that’s why she has been able to make Powerhouse so successful.” Entrepreneurship is a fantastic opportunity for military spouses as long as the opportunity “meshes with the family dynamic and the setup of the family’s life,” Fritz says. It’s certainly worked for the Bertsch family.

We asked Fritz if there was anything he was willing to share that not many people knew and we offered bonus points if it was something Jessica didn’t know either. After assuring us that there isn’t anything Jessica doesn’t already know, he offered this one last insight into the story of their meeting: “I actually had to call Jess three times after meeting her in the Bahamas before she returned my phone call. Since she wasn’t ready to date at the time, I waited six months to officially ask her out. I have known how special she is since I first met her. Now, of course, she’s stuck with me and can’t get rid of me.” Given the amount of support Fritz has given Jessica and Powerhouse throughout the last nine years, we’re glad they’re stuck with each other.


2021-09-16T00:39:25+00:00September 13th, 2021|

Checking in with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick

As dedicated readers will know, we like to shine the spotlight on some of our amazing, talented Powerhouse Planning “powerhouses,” aka the freelancers who are responsible for making Powerhouse what it is. Occasionally, we also like to direct that spotlight on the leadership team that consistently grows and shapes Powerhouse in the direction founder and President Jessica Bertsch envisions. This time around, we sat down with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who recently took on yet another title—Experience and Project Manager

Jennifer started with Powerhouse over five years ago when, as she puts it, “Jessica invited me into her brain.” Originally signing on to be Jessica’s executive assistant (and, let’s be honest, right-hand woman), Jen has spent the last five years on “an inspirational, busy, challenging, soul-searching, fun, and amazing ride to personal and professional growth.” It is a journey Jen is grateful for and one that has given her so much more than she ever expected. She quickly went from “just an executive assistant” to assuming the responsibilities of Powerhouse Operations Officer, though it took Jessica a lot of convincing for Jen to accept the official promotion. Since then, Jen has added duties to those of operations officer, earning her the title she currently holds of Experience and Project Manager.

Jen is the one who maintains a working knowledge of all Powerhouse’s clients as well as of each Powerhouse team member, working tirelessly to strategize, lead, support, and manage as needed. In addition, she checks in with team members and clients to ensure that Powerhouse is exceeding their expectations, “whether by the services we provide or as a place to work,” she says. It is not where she thought she might end up when she first accepted Jessica’s offer to come work with her, but it is not an experience she would change at all. “Jessica is a natural born leader and truly inspiring woman,” Jen says. “Her strong discernment and huge heart continually provide me the push when I need it and a safe place to land when I start to fall. She sees the gifts you have when you may overlook them.” Jen adds that this leadership style, where she is constantly pushed to discover the depths of her abilities, is one of the best aspects of working for Powerhouse. It keeps the team dynamic, always looking toward growth potential, and that is why team members continue to succeed and exceed even their own high expectations.

For those who may not know, Powerhouse is a military spouse owned and operated business and one that largely employs military spouses and veterans, along with several who just love the Powerhouse mission to create a work/life balance for freelancers and entrepreneurial spirits. That is why Jen would highly recommend entrepreneurship to military spouses. “There is no easy path,” she says, “but with hard work, a passion for excellence, and the right team surrounding you, you will do well. The growth mindset really is the secret sauce to maintaining a positive attitude, which leads to wisdom and growth.”

That spirit is what leads to the Powerhouse difference. The commitment each team member has to each other and to clients results in dynamic performance and growth. Powerhouse offers many internal growth opportunities to its team members, such as book clubs, mentor sessions, and encouragement to grow not only in areas of expertise but also in areas of interest. Jen’s favorite internal opportunity is the monthly Power Hour, a time when team members come together in both professional and personal ways. Power Hours might include a guest speaker discussing some professional aspect of virtual work or a trivia night, but it’s a time for the virtual team to come together no matter where they are in the world in order to truly feel like a team—even without a physical office space.

Jen’s favorite Powerhouse program is the Share the Goodness campaign, a direct correlation to her servant’s heart. Jessica started Share the Goodness as the charitable arm of Powerhouse, but she didn’t just focus on things that were important to her. She opened the program up to all Powerhouse’s freelancers so that the company can actively support the causes that are personally meaningful to the team. The program has spurred the formation of an entire professional branch for Powerhouse: working with nonprofits. Jen says, “The work we do with nonprofits has given me tremendous insight into the struggles of these organizations as well as compassion to work with the nonprofits I volunteer with to try to help them succeed.” To work with other people who have servants’ hearts just as strong as Jen’s gives her joy.

“I genuinely can’t think of anything to improve [about Powerhouse],” she laughingly says when questioned about what she would change if given the opportunity. “The best things about Powerhouse are its clients and its people. We work so well together. Everyone works hard, is amazingly talented, humble, kind, helpful, sincere, caring, compassionate, encouraging, and FUNNY! Also, we’re heard,” she continues. “Jessica listens to every suggestion, and even if it’s not implemented, we’re given reasons why it’s not in the best interests of our clients and/or team.” That openness is part of why Jen thinks Powerhouse will continue to grow, because Jessica has created a company where every voice is heard, which keeps Powerhouse growing and dynamic in the communities it serves.

Jen always thought her dream job would be to return to work for the Disney company, where she worked during her college years. It is, after all, “the most magical place on earth.” Since starting at Powerhouse, though, Jen’s changed her mind. She’s already got her dream job. “The way my job [at Powerhouse] has evolved is truly magical. Not to mention, when you live the military spouse life and are surrounded by military families, which I worried I’d miss when my husband retired from the Coast Guard, it’s a small world after all.”

We’re just glad that Jen has chosen to make Powerhouse part of her world. With her as part of Powerhouse’s stellar leadership team, the sky truly is the limit.

2021-09-04T22:15:29+00:00September 8th, 2021|
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