As with so many other people who land their perfect match on the internet, our founders met online. No, it wasn’t Tinder, although we'd all like to believe they would both totally swipe right. They randomly found each other in a virtual fitness group, and soon learned they were both Army spouses, moms, and business driven. Over time, Liza and Erica found that despite their diverse backgrounds (software developer/project manager and child development specialist turned Silicon Valley community consultant), their journeys weren’t all that different.

As military spouses, we’re frequently uprooted before we’ve had a chance to hit our stride. Right about the time you remember where the light switches are in your new house, or perhaps most common, you finally get a job, it’s time to go. Convincing an employer that you’re worth investing in despite your expiration date is not only daunting, it’s often impossible. We see it over and over again. Women with doctorates not able to get a job at a fast food restaurant. Male spouses pigeon-holed by stereotypes and unable to secure something with a regular schedule. And everything in between. Erica and Liza both had repetitive experiences like that. Overqualified and undervalued?  Not Anymore!

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In 2003, one of Erica's first experiences as a new Army spouse was marching into the career services office, eager and excited about the prospects of a job. She was told to look at the “opportunities!” cork board hanging in the office, where two positions sat on weathered notecards: housekeeping and driving kids to psychology appointments. She begrudgingly figured the latter was at least in her wheelhouse as a child development specialist. After landing the interview she was told that she was overqualified, and they figured she'd be leaving in 6-12 months, so just enjoy the time in the area. Gee thanks. The next 10 years left her fighting for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) positions with every move. So in 2012, she took a new opportunity and made a hard pivot into the Silicon Valley start up space,  learned a new skill set, how to work virtually,  and hasn't turned back.

Liza was met early on with the same hurdles. She has an impressive resume, with over 16 years experience contracting multi-million dollar projects with the government and private sector. She started her career as a software developer and moved to business analysis and project management. She’s owned businesses. She’s sold businesses. You’d think it would be impossible for her not to get hired. And yet, she found herself being offered positions to stock shelves because “that’s all we have available for spouses right now.”


It’s not just Liza and Erica that have been overqualified and undervalued as military spouses in the workforce. We know that this is a far-reaching problem, plaguing many of our peers. We also know that military spouses are some of the most resourceful, creative, strong and flexible people we know. We simply have to be.  We consistently find that military spouses are exorbitantly resilient. They are multi-tasking machines that excel in navigating ambiguity, are self-starters with unparalleled senses of loyalty, and are the ultimate team players. Aka, they are the perfect team members. We want to match those mad skills with companies that would not only use them, but will value, appreciate and foster them.

And so MadSkills was born.

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Spring 2016, Erica asked Liza to hop on a quick video call to brainstorm. Erica tasked Liza to just humor her as she rolled a vision out of her head. Liza's response was immediate, “No, we need to do this now.” They got started the very next day. It was magic. Suddenly this pipe dream was an incredible, collaborative product. It was true agile development and community outreach in one. And what’s even better: it’s working. We designed a company around virtually matching these unbelievably talented spouses with companies. We are working daily with customers, on boarding new contracts, placing qualified spouses in virtual jobs...and just like our friendship that started online, it’s even better than Tinder.  That's our story...and we're sticking to it!

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Interested in learning more?

Start your team today!

 


by Team MadSkills

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