About Jessica Bertsch

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So far Jessica Bertsch has created 356 blog entries.

New Powerhouse Team Member

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.

2022-06-21T23:51:25-04:00June 21st, 2022|

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Emily Anderson

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Emily Anderson

Emily Anderson, one of the newer freelancers to join team Powerhouse, has been with us for the last nine months. As one of our marketing specialists and grant writers, Emily is currently working on behalf of two of our clients. In the short time she’s been with Powerhouse, she has impressed all of us with her support, exceptional work ethic, and talent.

That feeling is mutual, according to Emily: “My favorite thing about Powerhouse? The people most definitely! I work with an amazing group of people that I have come to admire and look up to so much.” She goes on to say that she learns so much from everyone at Powerhouse and feels privileged to work “with such a kind, driven, caring, and intelligent group of people.” What can we say? Emily fits right into that definition!

When she’s not working on behalf of her Powerhouse clients, Emily loves to challenge herself or find a new adventure. For example, her first job in high school was working in a tobacco field. “I was challenged to go into the tobacco fields and work,” she explains, “so I accepted the challenge and technically that was my first job.” Emily is all about the adventure, the challenge, and the discovery of new things about herself and the world around her. “I love having fun,” she says. But even more than having fun, Emily loves spending time with her friends and family. “They’re the most important things in my life,” she says. That connection to others, and deep desire to see others happy, is what sparks her enjoyment in helping others. “I just enjoy watching them grow and succeed,” she says.

Emily and her new husband got married just the two of them at the courthouse in 2019 (“Yes, we’re COVID people,” she says with a laugh) and then had the big family wedding in 2021. (We’re not kidding when we say she’s a family person.) This outdoors-loving couple lives in the city but right next to a park they take full advantage of along with their dog. When not outdoors, they enjoy cooking and trying new things. “You might find us playing real-life food ninjas in the kitchen when it comes to cutting fruit and vegetables,” she says by way of explaining that while they have no children themselves, they act enough like children to feel like the family is complete.

Emily is passionate about the work/life balance that Powerhouse strives so hard to achieve. She believes that when you work remotely it’s important to create boundaries. “One thing I do,” she explains when asked about maintaining a positive work/life balance, “is I have my ‘work hours’ and my ‘no-work hours.’ I make time to sit at my computer and work, and I schedule time to spend with friends and family. Create boundaries and don’t feel guilty for not always being readily available to work.” She points to some fantastic free resources one of our clients, HelloHealth, provides designed to help achieve positive work/life balance as well as the free resources Powerhouse has created.

Another work passion project Emily has discovered is working with nonprofit clients. In her time with Powerhouse so far, Emily cites working on grants for Camp Cranium as her favorite: “Being able to find grants for such a great cause really makes it worth every moment we work on the project. Being able to make an impact and help really means a lot to me.” Which may be why she says that one of her favorite things about Powerhouse is our grant library, a resource those who work for our nonprofit clients have access to in order to save on research time and streamline the grant-writing process. “Powerhouse sets you up for success at every turn,” Emily states. Still, her absolute favorite resource at Powerhouse is the people. “The women at Powerhouse are a great resource for any project and bring their past experiences and current to the table,” she says. Emily just adds to that collective knowledge.

As we always do, we asked Emily if there was anything others might not know about her that she could share. Most often, we get fun trivia or unbelievable personal history anecdotes, but Emily shared that she’s lived with a chronic condition for over 20 years, which can be extremely challenging. But after only a short time with Powerhouse, she has felt comfortable sharing her journey with us, which, she says, “has meant a lot to me.” That, right there, is exactly the kind of work culture we strive to cultivate every day, and we’re honored Emily is a part of it.

Want to know more about how Powerhouse can help your small business? Contact us today or visit our website. Want to see if you can bring your skills to our dynamic team? Check out what a Powerhouse career could look like for you.

2022-06-14T20:24:46-04:00June 14th, 2022|


The Bautista Project: A Conversation with Co-Founder and CEO Marla Bautista

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.


2022-03-01T10:31:29-05:00March 31st, 2022|


According to Verified Market Research, the global events industry is valued at around $886.99 billion and is expected to grow an estimated 13.48% between 2021 and 2028. While those numbers may seem mindboggling, remember that we are all still returning to normal after the pandemic. As we move past the critical stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be attending or planning more and more events and brushing off those rusty, in-person corporate social skills.

If it’s been a while since you have had the opportunity to plan a business event, or if you started your business during the pandemic and need assistance on entering the event-planning world, Powerhouse Planning can help. Whether you are looking to provide some team-building experiences for your company or are ready to host your first conference, we offer a wide range of services that can help you bring your business to the next level. Contact us today for details.

2022-03-01T10:31:39-05:00March 31st, 2022|


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?

  1. 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…)

2022-04-22T16:35:24-04:00March 31st, 2022|



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.


2022-03-01T10:32:35-05:00March 31st, 2022|


Powerhouse Service Provided: Business Growth and Content Creation

“Our vacation rental business grew pretty quickly, and we struggled to keep up with the guest needs, so we hired Powerhouse Planning to take over the role of guest experience manager. Even though Jennifer has never been to any of our properties, she handles guest booking requests and needs better than we ever did. Powerhouse treats my business as if it’s their own and takes pride and initiative that is really hard to find these days.”

– Kirby Atwell, Founder and CEO, Green Vet Homes/Living Off Rentals/Dune Dwellings

2022-03-12T09:58:48-05:00March 31st, 2022|


Event facilitation encompasses a lot of things in the business world. From small, in-company events to large corporate conventions, event facilitation takes on many diverse forms. For an overview of event facilitation, covering everything from what constitutes an event to how to devise a event budgets, check out Cvent’s “Must-Know Guide to Corporate Event Planning.”

Have you been tasked with planning your company’s next event? Need a primer on what to think about and the types of questions you need to ask while planning? Maybe you need to figure out what to delegate to the others on your team. Social Table’s how-to guides can help you with that; our favorite is “How to Plan a Corporate Event: 8 Tips to Know”. It helps you jump-start your planning brain by giving you a fairly extensive list of things you will need to consider.  

Need to consider COVID-19 protocols when you plan your next event? GlueUp’s “Guide to Corporate Event Planning” includes checklists and tips for navigating events during the ongoing pandemic.

As always, Powerhouse Planning has resources and services to help. We can plan and implement your next event with our total team solution, freeing you up to be the perfect host without having to worry about all the behind-the-scenes moving parts. Want more information on how we can help? Check out this case study, which details how we helped one of our clients with their event facilitation needs. Or contact us today to see how we can help you create the event you’ve been dreaming about.

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 are also ever-present on social media as well. Check us out on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You never know what we have going on there! 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.

2022-03-01T10:33:09-05:00March 31st, 2022|


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?

2022-06-18T13:03:55-04:00March 31st, 2022|

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Crystal Toy

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.

2022-03-11T22:28:04-05:00March 11th, 2022|
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