Marines

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Brittanie Harrison, military spouse and crafts specialist, strings jewelry creations with her daughter during the Spouse Networking Day at the Stone Street Community Center, Feb. 27. The event brought spouses together to trade job ideas and career tips, the program opens peoples’ eyes to starting their own business out of their homes.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

SOI-E Spouse Networking Day brings out the jobs, careers

27 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Spouses of Marines with the School of Infantry–East gathered together for the first Spouse Networking Day at the Stone Street Community Center, Feb. 27.

Much like a job exhibition, the networking day is designed to give spouses a way to showcase their own hobbies or out-of-home jobs while giving attendants ideas of what they themselves may be able to do.

“It’s the basis for spouses to create a network of their jobs and careers and also tips on how to make their own,” said Steve Gilchrist, family readiness officer for SOI-E. “Spouses have a need to network when bouncing all over with the military, constantly being uprooted from previous jobs.”

Some of the jobs displayed included making and selling your own jewelry, crocheting and artwork, marketing Mary Kay products, interior design consulting and teaching gymnastics lessons.

“There’s also a woman who teaches how to use coupons to the best of your advantage, like using a $1-off coupon for a 99 cent bag of trail mix and having the cashier pay you a penny,” said Gilchrist.

While coupon cutting isn’t necessarily a job, it, along with other money-saving techniques, may help plant the seed for a personal business. Alongside such financial methods is good advertising through written publications, word-of-mouth or popular online social networking Web sites.

“I found out about this event through the Facebook page ‘Camp Geiger Wives,’” said Valarie Custodio, military spouse and crafts specialist. “Without this, I never would have known about these other wives, their trades and how far I’ll be able to go with my own craft.”

Custodio is a volunteer for the Hidden Talents craft store where she also sells some of her crocheted products. After attending the networking day event she now plans on making her own business out-of-home, continuing to network, to promote and expand her business.

“Anything that has to do with a group of people getting together is good advertising,” said Custodio. “Not only will I be able to do a job at home, but it leaves me with the freedom to do what I want, work my own hours and eventually care for the kids when we start a family.”

By the end of the day participants left with a few purchases, a few ideas and new trades. They also got help in starting their own business. The importance of networking has also been taught with the promise of events, along with an area off base for spouses to present their trades year-round.

“Networking shows payoff, especially for those spouses who didn’t have the opportunity beforehand,” said Wendi Mundi, family team advisor for SOI-E. “You have to start somewhere with your business, and for these spouses this is it. Even when they rotate out, they still have their connections here.”