DANDELION DOCK DREAM
My dream and passion for Dandelion Dock cowork spaces began in November 2015.
At the time, I had been married for 7 years and had experienced first-hand the struggle of military spouse employment - for myself, my friends, and even my mother and aunt (both 20+ year military spouses).
To really understand my passion for military spouses, why I want to ensure they have solid work opportunities, and support system, we must go back to where my military spouse journey began…
Dandelion Dock LLC
My military spouse life began in 2008 in the Washington D.C. area. My then-husband was stationed at the National Guard Bureau and I was working at a software company, MICROS Systems Inc., as a Project Specialist. While there he applied for and was accepted into US Army Flight School. At the time, my position could not be fulfilled remotely; so, when it was time to move, I quit my job, we packed up and moved down to Fort Rucker, AL.
If you have ever been to southeast Alabama, you know there are not many career opportunities in the area. I was bored out my mind. I bought myself a sewing machine for Valentine’s Day, then learned how to sew via a lot of Skype sessions with my mother. I took to sewing very quickly, so I opened an Etsy shop where I sold fabric wallets, passport cases, and baby quilts. The shop was successful-enough, and I loved to use my sewing talents to make some extra spending money; however, I was lonely. Sitting alone at my sewing machine, watching Netflix, or listening to Podcasts gets old fast!
I also volunteered at a Crisis Pregnancy Care Center and started a "Coffee Mondays" group with fellow pilot wives to meet our need for socialization. It was a special group of ladies who will hold a place in my heart forever. We welcomed A LOT of babies into the world in a 2-year period – I was blessed to be stand-in-Daddy when my neighbor’s first child was born. Her husband was in the last week of Survival School (SERE) and rather than pulling him out (which would have meant a restart of the 21-day course) I took his place, supporting his wife and new little girl - Amelia.
Orders came at the end of flight school, we moved to Ft. Riley, KS (which I love, btw – totally hidden gem) and resided there from 2012-2016. While there my then-husband’s work schedule was hectic, to say the least – frequent multi-week and multi-month deployments, long dayshifts, night-flights, trainings. Our decision at the time was I would not work full time because…flexibility.
I continued to run my Etsy shop and I also became a substitute teacher for the county (which I really enjoyed). I volunteered as Family Readiness Group (FRG) B Company Leader. In that role I ensured that spouses and families of soldiers were continually informed of unit-specific, Ft. Riley, and surrounding area information and announcements, I was the primary liaison between unit leadership overseas and stateside families during 9-month Afghanistan deployment, and maintained emergency roster of the 75+ soldiers’ next of kin. After the deployment, I filled the role of 2-1 GSAB Battalion FRG Advisor – a position usually held by the O-6's spouse, I was a CW2's spouse. I thrived from taking care of the military spouses and bringing them together. Overall life at that time in my life was hard, it was lonely, and in these years my marriage deteriorated and ended.
So, the dream of Dandelion Dock! Where did that come from?
Well on November 12, 2015, I read an article on Business Insider: The 17 Coolest Co-Working Spaces in America. As you can see from my Facebook post below, I LOVED the cowork concept!
Two days later, another pivotal article crossed my path: The Rise of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know. The sentence that really struck me was:
"Career minded military spouses (91% of whom are female) face the added challenge of maintaining careers while relocating every few years....As a result, a growing number of these military spouses have taken the skills they have developed managing military families and translated them into businesses that move with them when the military relocates their families to the next duty station."
My vision for Dandelion Cowork was born with the culmination of these two articles, and now 5 years later the passion is still burning. What better place to start than where I am now - Savannah, Georgia. I am so excited to start this new venture on behalf of all the military spouses out there!
My hope is that Dandelion Dock Cowork will enable and encourage military spouse members to telecommute or work independently in a portable career field. Dandelion Dock will provide networking opportunities, community, and a professional environment in which to work and meet clients. This will help military spouses gain career longevity with their employers; and therefore, help close the gap between military spouse and comparable civilian salaries.
You can help further this mission by donating or joining us in a sponsorship agreement.
Here's to the journey!
- Katy Michno
Dandelion Dock LLC