Military spouses face a higher rate of unemployment and underemployment than their civilian peers due to frequent relocations.
Hiring Our Heroes established the Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) to address this challenge and connect spouses with networking opportunities in their communities. Today, MSPN has more than 70 networks across 27 states, Washington, D.C., and 11 countries.
This month, Colorado Springs MSPN co-lead and military spouse Amanda Scott shares how she regained her confidence and found meaningful employment at Raytheon. A longtime MSPN volunteer, Scott helped to launch a networking group for spouses at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. Two years ago, she became the Colorado Springs MSPN co-lead. She also co-chairs Raytheon’s Military Family Steering Committee within the veteran employee resource group, RTX VETS.
Name: Amanda Scott
Status: U.S. Air Force military spouse
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Job Title: Global Trade Manager
Employer: Raytheon, an RTX Business
Colorado Springs MSPN Co-Lead Enjoys Helping Others
Tell us about yourself. I am a passionate advocate ensuring those I care about have a voice. Also, I am a curious person who likes to solve problems. I find a lot can be accomplished by wanting to help others.
Sometimes this help is a question.
Sometimes it’s encouragement.
Sometimes it’s jumping in and doing the work required to get a project across the finish line.
In my current role as an export manager and empowered official at Raytheon, I am responsible for managing several programs’ export compliance. I regularly work with legal regulations and a team of analysts to ensure the programs have the education and proper approvals to fill their contracts and work in the international arena.
What do you like about your job? My favorite part of my job is empowering others to be able to deliver on our contracts. Export compliance is a heavily regulated environment, so I love being able to problem-solve to compliantly get our products where they are needed. I learn something every day and have amazing coworkers. This is a dream role for me.
What is your professional and educational background? My professional background is in the legal field. I have a bachelor’s degree in political science, and I am working on a Master of Business Administration (MBA). I expect to complete my MBA at the end of 2024.
What has been your biggest challenge as a military spouse in the workforce? My biggest challenge was accepting the military’s impact on my career.
When we moved to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, I went on 10 job interviews in one year. I was rejected for 7 positions. One person told me, “We’re not going to hire you because you are a military spouse.” This was in 2015! To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
Eventually, I gave up on finding full-time employment and worked three part-time jobs. Being underemployed for the first time in my life left me with shaky confidence. I started doubting my skills.
MSPN Taught Me How to Network
How did you hear about Hiring Our Heroes and the Military Spouse Professional Network? Seven years ago, my professional confidence was at an all-time low. We had just relocated to Tucson, Arizona, after living in Texas for 18 months. I nervously began my job hunt, and I accepted a job as a file clerk because I thought it was the only job I could get.
Around this time, I heard from a friend in Las Vegas. She landed a corporate HR role within three months of relocating to Nevada, thanks to an MSPN event. I saw there wasn’t a network in Tucson, so I helped to set up the Davis-Monthan AFB MSPN.
Related: Joint Base San Antonio MSPN Volunteer Wants Military Spouses to Know They’re Not Alone in Their Struggles and Aspirations
How has the Military Spouse Professional Network helped you? MSPN helped me progress professionally by providing opportunities for leadership experience. It was a leadership lab where I sharpened my facilitator competency and increased my communication skills and strategic planning abilities. I believe these skills prepared me for my first corporate management role, which I got earlier this year.
MSPN also taught me how to network in a new location. Prior to MSPN I would have had no idea how to reach out to a recruiter or use base resources to tap into companies that want to hire military community members.
When I decided to apply for a position at Raytheon, I reached out to the Davis-Monthan AFB Military & Family Readiness Center (M&FRC) and asked if they could connect me with a recruiter at Raytheon. They did, and that recruiter introduced me to the person recruiting for the role I was interested in. And the rest is history. I have been employed at Raytheon for over five years to include multiple deployments and one PCS.
MSPN Is Your Cheerleader
What impact has MSPN had on you and your community? MSPN has allowed me to take back my narrative on being a military spouse.
It can be tricky to navigate one’s identity as a career-minded military spouse. I initially tried to ignore my connection to the military because I didn’t want to be defined by my marriage. Then I realized the military was going to impact my career, so I needed to shape the impact.
MSPN connected me with resources and like-minded individuals. They understand the nuanced life I live and how to navigate it.
What advice would you give to a military spouse unfamiliar with MSPN? GO TO THE EVENT. My biggest piece of advice is to put yourself out there. Use the resources, attend the event (even if you don’t know anyone), and ask questions in the MSPN Facebook group.
The volunteers of MSPN want to help you maintain your career – whatever that looks like for you. Being career-minded is a mind-set, not a status. MSPN is your cheerleader to help you reach your goals.
Career-minded is a mind-set, not a status.Amanda Scott, co-lead, Colorado Springs MSPN
Where would you be right now without MSPN and Hiring Our Heroes? I would not be the advocate I am today, that’s for sure.
MSPN gave me the confidence to go up to the regional lead of Raytheon’s veteran employee resource group and ask what we were doing for military spouses. This question led to an invitation to be a panelist at an annual event which culminated in co-founding a military family steering committee. I found my co-founder on the virtual MSPN Facebook page when we both tried to refer a military spouse to RTX.
Since then, we formed a committee of 15 military spouses working to ensure the military family voice is heard. We raised more than $6,000 via our virtual 5K, created a military child packet, organized several events, and developed an internal mobility guide to help military spouses advocate for themselves.
Without the MSPN I don’t see how any of this would have happened.