Ashleigh Messmer is delighted to join the Powerhouse team as a client care manager. With six years of experience in the hospitality industry, she is looking forward to using her customer service skills in a remote setting.
Ashleigh currently resides in central Maryland. She graduated with a B.S. in communication studies and a minor in business administration from Frostburg State University. She has since worked as an executive assistant and manager in a variety of small business settings including a bakery, wedding venue, and property management company. As a five-year military spouse, she knows the importance of multitasking, problem-solving, and developing true, authentic connections with those she interacts with. Ashleigh strives to apply these skills to her professional work and is excited to bring these qualities to her work with Powerhouse Planning.
When Ashleigh isn’t running around with her toddler, she loves to work out, watch Marvel movies with her husband, take day trips to Washington, D.C., and drink far too much coffee.
We are thrilled to welcome Randi Cairns back to Powerhouse Planning! Randi is a former (20+-year) military spouse and a national advocate for military families. She’s a nonprofit professional who has dedicated over three decades to advocating for vulnerable populations. She’s also the owner of Randi Cairns Consulting, where she provides nonprofit and small business consulting and freelance writing and editing services. Her favorite title? Proud mama of four of the world’s greatest military kids who she hopes will always have a passion for learning and a heart for changing the world for the better.
Kate is incredibly excited to join the Powerhouse team as a graphic designer. She has six years of experience working in fast-paced agency settings and is looking forward to bringing her skills to this remote creative team. Along with her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, Kate holds a master’s degree in project management. She has a creative eye for detail as well as efficiency and process improvement.
Kate was born and raised in South Florida and then moved to Alaska after graduating college. She quickly fell in love with the mountains. Kate enjoys anything that will get her outside—hiking, camping, gardening, photography, and archery. On any given night, you can find her watching the sun set over the farmer’s field behind her house in Oklahoma. Kate’s husband, Noah, is an active-duty Air Force pilot. They have two huskies that bring much joy, and fur, into their lives.
Danielle is excited to join Powerhouse Planning as a finance specialist. In her 18 years in the financial industry, she has worn many hats. She started her career as a bank teller for a small community bank and quickly advanced into other areas of banking, finance, and tech. Her experience includes roles such as lending operations, project manager, IT support, BSA/AML specialist, internal auditor, and accountant. Prior to the pandemic, she was the senior accountant for Ron Jon Surf Shop but left to homeschool her children and focus on her family. Danielle currently holds a full-time position with Pershing of BNY Mellon in bank and depository balancing.
Danielle lives on Space Coast of Florida in Merritt Island with her husband and two teenagers. In her free time when she is not driving the kids to and from rehearsals or practices, she likes to work on home improvement projects, tend to her ever-growing collection of plants, or work on macrame creations for her side gig, Joy Bus Art. She also loves to travel, so she and her husband purchased a 30-foot 1998 Thomas school bus that they are slowly turning into a tiny home on wheels.
A creative problem solver with a great attention to detail, Danielle is always looking for ways to improve processes to make them more efficient while also remaining compliant to current policies and standards. She is eager to bring these skills to Powerhouse and is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with such a dynamic team of positive people with a passion for serving others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.