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 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|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Julia Maier is a lifelong Maryland resident living just outside Washington, D.C. She attended Mount St. Mary’s University where she studied communications with a concentration in public relations and event planning. Throughout college, she spent three years planning and executing campus events as well as coordinating conferences hosted by the university. After graduating in 2014, she has worked for an industrial insurance company, wearing many hats ranging from office admin to executive assistant and, most recently, business analyst. Julia is excited to join the Powerhouse team as a freelance writer and social media strategist. In her free time, Julia loves spending time with her family on the Eastern Shore, cooking, and attending concerts.

2022-03-04T11:20:01-05:00March 4th, 2022|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Jessica Yost is thrilled to rejoin the Powerhouse Planning team as a project manager. After working with Powerhouse in 2016, Jessica continued her freelance career in social media strategy, copywriting, and digital content creation along with starting a small business, Electra Lane, where she teaches makeup lessons.

With a B.S. in psychology from Towson University and a master’s in strategic public relations from The George Washington University, Jessica is passionate about streamlining processes and creating clear communication channels no matter the task.

Jessica enjoys running and baking, and she is learning how to play golf. She lives with her active-duty Navy husband and two beagles, Clark and Kent, in Alexandria, Virginia.

2022-02-22T14:52:42-05:00February 27th, 2022|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Maria is a lifelong Maryland resident now living in West Virginia where her husband is a firefighter at the Air National Guard base. Much like she learned to adapt to military spouse life, Maria adapts to new work situations quickly and is excited to be part of the Powerhouse Planning team.

With more than a decade of marketing experience and an undergraduate degree in marketing, she is looking forward to completing her Master of Science in integrated marketing communications at West Virginia University later this year. In addition to strategic marketing skills, she added the HubSpot SEO certification to her arsenal in 2022 and is anxious to put her experience to good use.

2022-02-15T23:50:12-05:00February 15th, 2022|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Crystal Toy is an ambitious and energetic Coast Guard veteran turned digital marketing specialist. She is a Coast Guard spouse and mom of two with several specialized college degrees, bringing over a decade of technical expertise to the Powerhouse lineup of independent contractors. Her robust career experience in learning and development, event coordination, and project management is a powerful addition to any team.

After transitioning out of the Coast Guard to support her husband’s active-duty career, she has remained committed to developing her multifaceted toolbelt by serving in several creative volunteer roles such as event coordinator, photographer, and social media manager. Fueled by her dedication to lifelong learning, and several professional certifications later, she has made an impressive pivot into the world of digital marketing, with specializations in project and social media management.

Crystal is a goal-oriented team player with a creative mind who thrives under pressure and is semper paratus (always ready) to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her family, staying active outdoors, and seeking out the best Baja-style tacos wherever she ventures.

2021-12-21T14:06:52-05:00December 20th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Beth Soto was born and raised in a small town near the north Georgia mountains. She attended North Georgia College and State University for two years before transferring to Lanier Technical College where she studied interior design and architectural drafting. She graduated in 2007 and worked in both residential and commercial construction as an architectural drafter, estimator, and project manager for 15 years. She is the current owner and lead designer of Coastal Peach Interiors in Melbourne, FL. Beth and her husband, Steve, returned to Melbourne after Steve’s military retirement in 2020 following his 22-year military career. They were married in 2013 and have a blended family of five children, Hunter, Chris, Emma, Savannah, and Dean. They enjoy traveling and making memories together as a family as well as playing board games and spending time by the pool.

Beth has admired the Powerhouse Planning team and their work for years. She is excited to join Powerhouse Planning as an architectural drafting and design consultant and is looking forward to being part of such an amazing group of people.

2021-12-21T09:14:37-05:00December 14th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Nicole is a milspouse of over 12 years and mom of a daughter, Itahlee, and two Dobermans, Luther and Lexie. Along with a love of traveling and exploring the country, which has been easily done as a Coastie wife, Nicole enjoys creating memories with her family. She grew up in Pennsylvania, but throughout their Coast Guard career, she and her family have spent time in New England, Texas, NYC, and NorCal. Professionally, Nicole has a passion for business, leadership, achieving goals, supporting a positive people experience, and organization. (Yay for spreadsheets!)

Nicole earned her B.S. in accounting and her M.S. in organizational leadership with a focus in human resources. She brings a background in retail management, both big box and specialty, as well as in recruiting and training in early childhood education to the Powerhouse Planning team. Nicole views the challenges faced as a career-driven milspouse to be developmental opportunities and is grateful to put that experience and drive to work for her clients at Powerhouse!

2021-11-02T02:17:29-04:00November 2nd, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Amy grew up in Macon, Georgia and attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in education. She then pursued a Master of Education degree from Mercer University while teaching full-time in the public school system. After marrying her high school sweetheart, they began military life together, moving all around the world from North Carolina to Germany with countries in between. They have been married for over 20 years and have raised two children, both of whom are now adults. After Amy’s husband retired from the Marine Corps, they settled in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Amy joins Powerhouse Planning as a freelance project liaison. Between her teaching career and volunteer endeavors, Amy has worn a variety of job hats over the years. She worked many years as a full-time classroom teacher as well as a virtual ESL teacher. As many of the Powerhouse family know, military life brings many moves, deployments, and sometimes “single parenting” moments. Because of these circumstances, there were times over 26 years of military spouse life that Amy did not “work” but instead volunteered her time/talents. She volunteered in school settings as a classroom helper, reading tutor, and PTO board member. On the military side, Amy volunteered to organize and run several fundraising events for military-based clubs, as well as coordinate and advise families before and during deployments.

Amy believes that working as a project liaison will give her the opportunity to utilize skills/talents that she has developed from her previous positions. Amy’s instructional, organizational, problem-solving, and curriculum development skills have all been honed as a result of her teaching career and volunteer duties during military life. Amy enjoys working as part of a team and feels that she is at her best when she is helping others.

When Amy is not teaching or volunteering, you will find her lunching and shopping with friends, exercising, reading books, and vacationing with her family.

2021-10-30T03:52:09-04:00October 30th, 2021|
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