Making change is born of drive, passion and grit. It's taking a cause, matching it with purpose and coaxing the ability to stay after it, day after day, into first a spark, then a flame, then a fire. It's more than a day job, although it can be part of a day job. It's a calling.
The changemakers are those who show that drive. And Military.com's Spouse Changemaker of the Year recognition seeks to highlight those individuals. A single awardee will be announced May 8 during the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year reception just outside Washington, D.C.
Selected by a panel of Military.com experts, the award acknowledges the truth that making change can be lonely, unglamorous work by highlighting the quiet forces who are making a sizable difference.
There is no shortage of individuals who fit that description in the military spouse community or among those assisting the military spouse community. While the field of potential finalists was broad, these three individuals stood out as not just thought leaders in their area of advocacy, but as people who are putting in the sweat equity to make a difference.
For the next three weeks, we'll be highlighting in individual profiles the work of each of our three incredible finalists -- Ashley Broadway-Mack, Herrick Ross and Libby Jamison. For now, here's a sneak peek at the work they've done and the change they've made.
President and founding member of the American Military Partner Association, Broadway-Mack lets her personal experience as an LGBT military spouse fuel her passion to help others. As an unpaid volunteer helping lead the organization, her work has had a direct impact on same-sex military spouse and family policy on Capitol Hill, at the Pentagon and on installations worldwide. During her time on the board or as the organization's president, AMPA has advised on policy changes that include the rollout of benefits for same-sex military partners and LGBT cultural education efforts throughout the Defense Department, including DoD schools. The changes she has made have improved the lives of countless military families.
A Marine Corps veteran and recruiter for Starbucks, Ross has been at the forefront of the corporation's efforts not just to hire 25,000 military veterans and spouses by 2025, but to change the corporate culture around military and spouse employment issues. Among those changes, Ross and the Starbucks team created a program that makes it easy for military spouses to relocate, moving into a similar job at a store in their new location. Through his experience in the military and his dedication to military families, Ross has made a direct impact on the ability of military spouses and veterans to get hired and stay hired, both in and outside Starbucks.
As a Navy spouse, Jamison knew she would face relocation. With a law degree and career as an attorney, she also knew she had marketable skills. After an abnormally long tenure at one duty station, her family was relocated to Florida, and she experienced firsthand how frustrating moving with a professional license can be for military spouses.
That was all the push she needed to dive headlong into volunteering with the Military Spouse JD Network, an organization that advocates for license reciprocity for military spouse attorneys by working directly with each state's individual bar, which governs rules for those practicing law. As the outgoing MSJDN president, she has been the driving force for bar rule changes in California and Washington State, two notoriously stringent locations; advocated for military spouse employment as head of the San Diego Military Spouse Empowerment Zone; and opened a consulting business to help both military spouses and civilians navigate the challenges of professional licensure and relocation.