Amanda Thurn is the daughter of a retired airman, a veteran spouse, and a lifetime resident of Brevard County. Amanda understands and values the significance of serving and is excited to join the Powerhouse team as a business development specialist. She brings a passion for service before self with over 10 years of experience supporting nonprofits in leadership, coordinator, and volunteer roles. Amanda is a passionate advocate and a strong connector, and she is gifted in the development of effective and genuine relationships. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and finding the best seafood in town.
By: Meredith Flory
Marla Bautista is a successful military spouse. As an author, blogger, speaker, and co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit The Bautista Project Inc., she’s been decorated with awards such as Armed Force Insurance 2018 and 2019 Military Spouse of the Year Base Winner, and her family was named a 2020 General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year from the Central Florida USO and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While extremely accomplished, Bautista is also eager to give encouragement and advice to other military spouses and is honest about her earlier struggles. Throughout our interview, she discussed her journey to be an author, her passion for making an impact on homelessness, and how to make event facilitation a success. Of course, she also had specific advice about writing and other military spouses working to pursue their passions.
Bautista has been telling stories and writing since she was a little girl. She recalled, “I used to sit in my closet, I had a little walk-in closet, and I would read books and write short stories and poetry.” Much of her childhood and young adulthood was challenging and traumatic with facing the death of her parents, abuse, and homelessness. Writing was a way to “imagine words that were safe and fun and inviting,” she says.
3 Tips to Maximize on Virtual Events in Your Marketing Strategy
By: Julie Kirchner
From convenience to cost, virtual events pack a big bang for both businesses and event participants alike, and “many companies are planning to host even more online events in 2022 than they did in 2021,” according to an Inc.com article. You’ve got a green light to level-up your marketing strategy in 2022 using virtual events to your advantage. So, how can you maximize your return on events?
- Webinars are a winning strategy.
Video and events are positioned to be the top two content marketing-related investment areas in 2022, and the investment in these events is expected to grow. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) “12th Annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends: Insights for 2022,” among the survey respondents including marketers and professionals, “51% rated webinars, webcasts, and web series first when it came to producing results.” Highly successful marketers “prioritize the audience’s informational needs, differentiate their content from the competition, and craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey,” says CMI. (more…)
Events with Heart: The Kelly Principles
By: Nicole Keeny
“Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”
– Meg Ryan, You’ve Got Mail
Meg Ryan may just be a business maverick. Okay, not Meg Ryan herself, but the character she plays in the movie You’ve Got Mail—Kathleen Kelly. Here is this young woman who finds herself fighting to keep her children’s bookshop afloat when a large bookstore chain moves into the neighborhood. A classic David and Goliath scenario.
Now, if you have seen this movie, you are probably thinking, Wait a minute. She lost that fight. Goliath won. How exactly do you want to hold her up as a successful business example?
Because she teaches us that business is personal. Because she shows the big corporation that small, intentional acts of hospitality are what set businesses apart and turn consumers into lifelong customers. Because she demonstrates that business is not merely a matter of checklists but rather a matter of heart.
And Kathleen Kelly has a thing or two to teach us about hosting events, no matter what size or scale they may be.
Service Doesn’t End, It Just Takes a Different Form
By: Heatherlynn Akins
If you know anything about Powerhouse Planning, you know it’s got military ties. Our founder and president is a proud Coast Guard spouse who started Powerhouse because of her deep desire not only to have a portable career for herself, but also to be able to offer the same to other military spouses and veterans. You might say that supporting military families is a passion of hers. While not all of us are military spouses or veterans, we all love our military-connected coworkers. Which is why we thought April was the perfect time to shine some light on two of our Powerhouse freelancers, as April is Military Spouse Appreciation Month. Both are veterans and military spouses who have made service part of their lifestyles.
Sarah Zerr, one of Powerhouse’s project managers, and Crystal Toy, one of our social media strategists, have been with Powerhouse for less than a year after serving in the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, respectively. We recently sat down with both of them to reflect on their experiences and how they’re continuing a lifetime of service even after their active-duty time has come to an end.
PH: What branch did you serve in and for how long?
Sarah: I went to the Naval Academy and served in the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot. All told, I spent over 10 years in uniform.
Crystal: I served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 14 years and 11 months. The majority of my work was concentrated in port security, federal law enforcement, and search and rescue missions.
PH: And both of your husbands are also military, correct?
Sarah: Yes, my husband Greg is also in the Marne Corps. We actually met at the Naval Academy and married on graduation weekend. Now he is in the reserves. Proud wife brag: He was recently named the Defense Logistics Agency field grade reservist of the year!
Crystal: My husband has been in the Coast Guard since 2006. He’s currently serving as the Armory Supervisor and Lead Firearms Instructor for USCG Sector Puget Sound.
PH: Congratulations to both of you. Sounds like you have both moved successfully on to being military spouses and veterans. What made you decide to serve in the first place?
Since the beginning of any year is a time to start fresh, explore all the possibilities open to you, and focus on new ventures, we thought it only fitting that our first team spotlight should fall on Powerhouse Planning’s newest employee. Crystal Toy has been with us for just two short months, but she’s already made a vibrant impact on all of us. As one of our dynamic social media specialists, Crystal has come onboard running, ready to absorb everything she can and turn it into amazing content for our clients.
As a Coast Guard veteran, Crystal goes “all in” with anything she does. Her commitment to serve our nation as a member of the Coast Guard lasted 15 years and is something she’d still be doing if she hadn’t put her family’s needs first. With her husband also being active-duty Coast Guard (with 16 years and counting), and two young children to consider (who have already moved five times in their 8 and 7 years, respectively), Crystal decided it was time to find a new way to serve.
Which is why she’s glad she found Powerhouse. “I am happy to be working with a company that has a demonstrated desire to support the military community by contracting diverse teams of (mostly) military spouses and veterans,” she says. Diversity and the opportunity to learn and broaden one’s horizons attracted Crystal to military service in the first place, so to find a company that continues these opportunities while still helping her feel connected to the wider military community she loves was a definite bonus in her opinion. “Plus,” she adds, “I also love the consistently warm, uplifting, and professional culture that Powerhouse upholds.” Finding all those elements in one company that also allows her to work remotely and achieve the work/life balance she and her family needs equals a perfect fit.
Crystal describes herself as “creative, enthusiastic, and outgoing,” which are all characteristics we’ve immediately noticed about her in the short time she’s worked with Powerhouse. She’s quick to share any opportunities for professional growth she comes across; always works to find the new, best approach to our clients’ needs; and enthusiastically supports those she works with, whether she works with them closely or not. It’s just who she is, she says. “Having operated in countless volatile, complex environments during my time in the military, I have developed a keen ability to think outside the box while maintaining a positive, forward-moving mindset.” She’s also learned the intangible benefits that come from encouraging and uplifting those you work with. When you build a team you can trust, one that’s built on positive energy, the possibilities are endless.
Having made the shift from military to remote work, Crystal has had to figure out how to maintain a positive work/life balance. “I relentlessly prioritize and schedule self-care,” she said. “I live by the mantra that you can’t pour from an empty cup!” She suggests that you take ten minutes and make a list of all the things that bring you joy. Then add those to your calendar and make a pact with yourself that these items are non-negotiable. “Tell everyone that you are not free during these times. This includes family and friends,” she stresses. “Prioritizing your needs will give you more energy to give back to others. Your family will thank you.”
When she’s not working, Crystal prioritizes her family and self-care time by doing as much outdoors as she can. “Playing sports, hiking, snowboarding, it’s all in there,” she says. Travel is important to the family as well. “We love to travel. We love to cruise. And we love Disney World. Being stationed in Cape Canaveral, Florida was fantastic because we were so close!” she says. Her new position with Powerhouse means she can capitalize on family time and self-care, even if she isn’t currently anywhere near Disney World.
Crystal is excited for the future of Powerhouse, feeling that we’ll grow our nonprofit support services in the next five years. It’s something she’s looking forward to because supporting those who are supporting others is what she’s all about. Being so new, she hasn’t figured out if there’s one service Powerhouse offers that she likes more than others, but what she loves most is “Powerhouse’s ability to provide a vastly diverse package of services suited to any client’s needs. There are so many robustly talented freelancers at Powerhouse,” she adds. “I really don’t know that we have a limit on what we can do!” She is, in true Crystal fashion, exuberantly excited for what 2022 holds in store for Powerhouse. “This is going to be a great year!” she says, and we’re inclined to agree.
As always, we asked Crystal to share something about herself we might not be aware of, and she laughed a little, since she has only been here one month. Still, she didn’t disappoint. She shared that she spent over a decade playing competitive travel ice hockey, even playing in a few Coast Guard national tournaments. More surprising than that? At only 5’ 2” tall, she played defense, which is not common for such a short individual, she assures us. We’re not surprised. We might not have known Crystal long, but there’s certainly one thing we already know: She’s passionate about the things she loves and she’s always all in, no matter what. That kind of passion is exactly what Powerhouse is all about, and we’re excited to see how Crystal channels hers for our clients.