Town Hall 2017: Did We Empower YOU?

Military Spouse magazine hosted its 5th annual Town Hall sponsored by Allstate on May 11 at the Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. Five sessions throughout the day touched on a different aspect of empowerment. Check out what each panel and speaker contributed to the message. And you can join us next year! Keep an eye out for more info.

Sponsors, How Do YOU Empower?

Moderator: Sue Hoppin, founder and president, National Military Spouse Network

Panel members:

  • Melissa Christmann, military program manager, Allstate
  • Tom Down, diversity and military talent acquisition manager, Capital One
  • Herrick Ross, recruiter, military talent acquisition, Starbucks
  • Theresa Lepow, senior program manager for military recruiting, Amazon

credit: Steve Barrett Photography


The people in the room with you today are your tribe. In a time when resources are scarce and vary from installation to installation. We have one resource that never goes away: each other. Remember that and you’ll go far.” ~Sue Hoppin

Allstate: “If your program doesn’t include military spouses you only have half of a program.”

Capital One: “We look at spouses as equally as we do veterans.”

Starbucks: “As military spouses you have the opportunity to see the world in a different way.”

Amazon: “We look to hire military spouses and then retain them and honor them. I look to build a military spouse program with a menu of options.”

Each of the representative companies championed the military spouse employee and what they can bring to the table. One key takeaway? Be proud of the fact that you’re a military spouse. Be sure to self-identify if there is an option. These companies want to know you’re a spouse. They are looking for the skills you bring to the table.

As with any other job seeker, though, be calculated and specific about what jobs you apply to. Keep your resume to one to two pages. Use your cover letter to show your personality, explain any gaps in your resume and really iterate what an important role being a military spouse is. “Your cover letter should reflect what job you’re applying for. I know it’s a lot of work, but it’s what gets you a job.”

Consider three Cs when applying for jobs: Culture, commute and compensation. How you prioritize those is up to you.

Regarding the sometimes awkward salary conversation, the panel members emphasized research and realistic expectations. Websites such as and give reasonable expectations as to what number is appropriate based on job title and location. Don’t forget to take other benefits into consideration, too; the whole benefit package counts. Don’t focus on a target number. Rather, have a salary range and be flexible.

Each company differed in work from home policies. The common takeaway is to have a conversation with your manager. Company policies vary, and policies vary by specific job and manager as well.