AMSE’s Initiatives and Innovation
Helping our Latina and Military Spouse Community
By Moni Jefferson
From the beginning, I knew I had to serve the underserved—the
military spouse. And most importantly, the minority military
spouse. As a Latina entrepreneur and business owner, I have
faced a tremendous struggle in building my business. I lacked network,
mentorship, and access to funding because of my ever-mobile military
lifestyle. However, what stands out the most, and what I consider the
hardest was my inability to find opportunities. Oftentimes, I was the only
Latina military spouse in a room among a sea of white business owners and
In 2014, I decided to become a business owner and had to learn the
hard way that access to information on how to start your own business was
all over the place, and not easily accessible. At that time, organizations were
serving career-driven military spouses, and in my humble opinion, not a
good fit for me, which is why it fueled my passion and interest to fill that gap
where no one was serving --- not only Latina military spouses but for
spouses of every color.
When Flossie Hall, Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE)
COO and I set out to launch the AMSE, we knew we had to be an inclusive
and diverse network for ALL spouses. This is our “why” and the cornerstone
of our organization. This set the foundation for how we committed to
being present in our community for both the Latina and military spouse
community of entrepreneurs (both super niche and often forgotten)
regardless of race, creed, gender, and religion. One of our core values at
the AMSE is to cultivate a culture of mi familia; Like my Puerto Rican roots
(Tai-no Indians, Spanish, and African) a military spouse entrepreneur is made
up of a very diverse community that is only successful and strong as a
family. All of which is a perfect combination when supporting minority-owned
businesses in the military space.
Not only does AMSE provide masterclasses, and digital resources. We
provide a space where Latina spouses have a diverse network and
community support to thrive and grow with like-minded individuals. Above
all else, a network that wants to see other military spouse entrepreneurs
win, and in turn is willing to lend a helping hand by getting an invitation at
the table that are oftentimes excluded from but where their voices are most
needed. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 24 percent, now
more than ever AMSE is a key ingredient in helping minority and military
spouses build businesses with the support they deserve.
The pandemic has brought about many new opportunities for Latina
and military spouses to expand their remote business opportunities, which
is why in 2020, we released the Latinx and Hispanic Military Spouse Owned
Business Directory, where AMSE showcased over 50 entrepreneurs who
have stayed afloat, thrived, and pivoted during the pandemic.
So many military spouse Latinas are changing the world and doing
remarkable things. Take Nicte Cuevas, an award-winning graphic design,
and branding firm that continued to create courses on LinkedIn Learning
and has thrived during the pandemic. And our organization provides a place
for spouses to start, scale and sustain their business.
Moni Jefferson is a serial entrepreneur and Active Duty Air
Force Spouse. She is the owner of Dog Tags and Heels, a
PR and social media agency where she works with national
and celebrity clients to build brand evangelism and social
impact. Most notably with Blue Star Families, Heroes at
Home, and Military Spouse Advocacy Network and Semper
K9. Founder of the global networking community for
MilSpouse entrepreneurs full of mentorship and resources.
For more information visit www.monijeffersonpr.com
(Picture: Moni Jefferson with her family, husband Major
Roy A Jefferson Jr., and children Amira, Zahara, and
AMSE provides resources and networking for military spouses to
virtually ask questions, collaborate, and pivot to running an online business
with the Build Your Business the AMSE Way Curriculum where national
leading experts provide instruction and teach spouses in our curated
masterclasses, personalized group coaching, and virtual coworking space.
Our focus and advocacy at AMSE are to bring our underserved agile
milspouse entrepreneurs to the forefront of society. Military spouses
demonstrate grit and resilience like no other community.
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48 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle V ol. 26, No. 6, 2020