Season 5 • Episode 11

Known as Military Appreciation Month, May also marks Military Spouse Appreciation Day – a day to acknowledge military spouses’ significant contributions, support, and sacrifices. In this episode, we sit down with Evie King, recruiter, Executive Director of the military spouse wellness nonprofit InDependent, Inc., and 2023 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. Tune in as we discuss her experience growing up in a military family and now as a military spouse, working for a military spouse-supportive employer, the challenges she sees military spouses facing as they seek employment, and ways employers can better attract and accommodate these invaluable individuals within their workforces.


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About DE Talk

For DirectEmployers, it’s all about valuable connections and meaningful conversations. This monthly podcast features honest and open dialogue between powerhouse industry experts on a variety of HR topics ranging from OFCCP compliance advice to emerging recruitment marketing trends, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and insightful solutions that help infuse new life into your HR strategies.

Hosted by Candee Chambers, Executive Director of DirectEmployers Association.

Guest Host

Kim Lott

​Kim Lott

Community & State Outreach Administrator, DirectEmployers Association

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Kim Lott came to DirectEmployers Association in February 2023 as a Community and State Outreach Administrator, leveraging expertise gained through her time as a Veteran Program Manager with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. As a U.S. Navy Veteran who experienced challenges and underemployment upon transition, she is impassioned by veterans securing employment, which allows for their flourishing. Kim’s experiences have informed many of the issues that drive her, such as the intersectionality of race, gender, and disability and the significant ways in which these issues often adversely impact employment and career trajectory. Kim is also a New England-born, Florida-transplanted, dog-loving, caffeine sippin’, pun-abusing, kindness-advocating, Christ-adoring, wife and mom to three humans and two Mini Goldendoodles.

Episode Guest

Evie King

Evie King

WWC Global; InDependent, Inc.

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Evie King is the 2023 AFI Military Spouse of the Year and a nonprofit leader who advocates for the well-being and mental health of all military spouses. The child of two Army veterans and a military spouse, she recognizes the importance of building a resilient military community and eliminating barriers to wellness. As President of InDependent, Evie espouses and reinforces team well-being through healthy digital boundaries and open feedback. She leads a team that focuses on creating dynamic and educational wellness content that empowers military spouses to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families. Evie also seeks to bridge gaps in existing resources and foster more inclusive mental health and holistic wellness programs. Evie’s leadership and advocacy is focused on ensuring that every military spouse feels supported and valued in pursuit of their well-being.

Episode Transcript

Candee Chambers (00:00:02):

Get ready. The DE Talk Podcast starts now, insightful conversations and dialogue, helping you put the human factor back in HR.

Kim Lott (00:14):

Ms. Evie, welcome to the DE Talk podcast. I am Kim Lott, DirectEmployers’ State and Community Outreach Administrator, and I’ve been looking forward to connecting with you today. First and foremost, happy Military Appreciation Month. As a US Navy veteran and a part of a dual military spouse couple, I’m genuinely excited to have this conversation with you and to discuss a topic that’s so near and dear to my heart, and I know that’s near and dear to your heart as well. So we could, let’s start out by just sharing a little bit about yourself. I know that military life runs deep for you. You grew up in a military family. Tell us what that was like for you, Evie.

Evie King (01:00):

So both of my parents are veterans. My mom was actually a higher rank, she’s six years older than my dad, so we used to find it funny and now that I’m a military spouse, I don’t know why it makes me giggle a little bit. But my dad would have to salute her. Oh yes. When he would see her around. And I’ve had the opportunity to live overseas three times now. So to me, military life has been such a gift because I really enjoyed it as a child, what I could remember about it, what my parents would tell about it. We lived in Turkey, and now having lived overseas twice; once in South Korea and now in Germany, although I am now moving back to the States, I don’t know, military life has been unexpected in so many wonderful ways. It’s also been just very emotionally draining in so many ways. It’s hard to describe military life because not only is everyone’s experience different, but I don’t know, I try not to be overly positive, but I can’t help but saying that I really do enjoy the life we live, and regardless of the many challenges that has brought, and I wonder if part of that is just because it’s been a part of my family on both sides for many, many generations.

Kim Lott (02:31):

Right. Well, I mean, knowing that, I hear that you always said you would never marry into the military. So now hearing some of that story, how did you end up with a military spouse?

Evie King (02:44):

Yeah, it’s so interesting because I think I was the only one of my five other siblings that ever mentioned that. So it is kind of interesting that I’m the only one now connected to the military. So none of my siblings ended up going into the military, and I’m the only one now married to a service member. So it’s ironic in that way, I guess. But, well, honestly, it’s the person. I married, an amazing man, his name is John, and I like to think that I would’ve married him regardless of whether he was a service member or not. He deployed almost right after we started dating, so I feel like I got a little bit of a crash course into military life right away, and it wasn’t something that I shied away from. And so I think in many ways I went into our marriage with my eyes maybe wider open than some people who have not gone through, at that time, two deployments with their spouse and could really test whether or not that was something that they wanted to do.

Kim Lott (03:55):

Well, good point. Knowing that you have that foundation with your family and still made that decision to marry into the military, what was most unexpected for you, you would say, about being a military spouse?

Evie King (04:14):

I think it has been the trajectory of my professional growth. So I started right out of college in corporate finance, and honestly, I’ve really, really enjoyed my job. I loved my employer. It was a manufacturing company, so I got to go out onto the plant floor. I was wearing steel-toed boots and personal protective gear, which is kind of unusual for people in the finance world. I loved having the ability to communicate the value of knowing what your finances and budgets were to people who, that wasn’t their background, and then giving them the knowledge that they needed to make decisions for whatever part of the company they were in charge of. And I found that really, really rewarding. And when I first became a military spouse, my mom, she was a stay-at-home mom, and she was a stay-at-home mom who never described it as a sacrifice, and I just sort of thought that that was now the next step in my personal life, like, that was being a military spouse as you followed your service member around and then you just sort of volunteered.


So I sort of volunteered indiscriminately. I was like, “Oh, I’m going to do something here and I’m going to do something there,” because I wanted to keep myself busy. I still wanted to invest in my own personal and professional growth, but I was really unhappy. And what I do now is not at all corporate finance. I’m a recruiter, I’m a nonprofit leader, and in many ways, the path to get here has been completely unexpected, but I’m really happy with where I’ve ended up. I love all of the opportunities that I’ve been given. There have been many times when it is been really professionally frustrating, I think, because our career trajectory is not a linear line, and it can confuse some people if they’re looking at that and they’re going, “Wait a second, you were promoted pretty much every year and then all of a sudden you have this break in employment and then you’re admin assistant, how does that work? And wait a second, now you want to be…” I think it was a compliance analyst. “How do you jump all over the place?”


And so I think that has been one of the biggest surprises, but I’m grateful for where I’ve ended up. Like I said, I’ve loved the opportunities that I’ve been given that I might not have. I think I would’ve been happy being in corporate finance, probably up until this day. But I’m really grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to try so many different things and realize that there are other things out there that I really enjoy and some that I don’t.

Kim Lott (07:09):

I mean, to some point, military spouses get the opportunity to try on those different hats in those different fields. In some respects, maybe that decision wouldn’t have been there. You would’ve stayed at one organization, stayed in one career path. So that is a silver lining to that that I’m glad that you brought up.


Now you are the 2023 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. I’m making some fanfare here in the back, but this is your second time being nominated for this award, so congratulations. So tell us about that honor and what it means to you. I’m sure all of this stuff you shared with us already has had some say in that decision in you being chosen, but tell us what that honor means to you.

Evie King (08:01):

It was very surprising, not because I don’t think that what I do is very valuable, but when you read the stories of the other military spouses that were nominated the same year that I was, they’re all incredible. And I think that is what constantly, I’m reminded when I read about the profiles of those spouses, is that we are a community of extraordinary individuals who, despite the many challenges that the military throws at us, we are doing amazing things that impact so many other people besides ourselves. And winning this award was really interesting because my platform was military spouse wellness, which until that point had never really had an opportunity to have its spotlight on it, which I think the timing was great because as we all know, military quality of life is at the forefront of a lot of the retention conversations. And it really is true that military spouses, once a service member gets married, can often have a really strong say as to whether or not their service member will stay in the military. My husband says all the time that if I was unhappy that he would probably get out.


And so for me, military spouse wellness is about taking care of our unique needs because we are not the same as our civilian counterparts and we’re definitely not the same… Have the same needs as our military service members or the military service community in that way, but giving us what we need so that we can really take care of ourselves and take care of the home front so that when the service members are on a mission, they’re not worried about what’s going on at home, right? And I think that’s really important, especially because so often in military life we can feel like we have a lack of control, but something that we can really impact is our well-being. Sometimes we just need a little help to get there. And that’s something that I’m really proud to be working on, not only myself, but my amazing team that I have at Independent.

Kim Lott (10:23):

Well, very good. Congratulations again. So, let’s talk a little bit more about military spouses and their makeup. It is important to note here that not all military spouses are female. It is a absolute diverse group. How many US military spouses are there spread across the globe? Do you have the number for that Ms. Evie?

Evie King (10:48):

Yes. So the DOD says there is approximately over 600,000 active duty military spouses around the globe. So that does not include National Guard, or Reserve, or those who are veteran spouses retired, who still have access to some of the resources that are available. But when you think about that 600,000, over 600,000 active duty military spouses. And then within that number, approximately 21% of them are unemployed or under employed. That’s a really large number of highly capable individuals out there who are looking for work, or who are in a job that is not at the level and experience that they know that they can operate at.

Kim Lott (11:38):

Absolutely. And just, I mean, how tragic is that? Out of that number 20 or so percent, I think you said, that are unemployed or underemployed. So I know that you recently participated in the DE Masterclass Roundtable discussion with myself, and a few other individuals to talk about the challenges in hiring and retention of military spouses. I have to say, I got a lot of great feedback about that, a lot of messages, folks that wanted to dive deeper. So thank you for participating in that panel. And I want to talk a little bit more, dive deeper here as well because those folks may be listening in. What has been your experience with the workforce as a military spouse? Take us through that experience.

Evie King (12:32):

Well, I think I spoke a little bit about it before that often our career paths, they don’t follow a normal chronological timeline that most people are used to, because we might have had to change jobs because of a move or even a season of life that we’ve been in. And so, really I think one of the biggest challenges that military spouses face regularly is how do we tell our story in a way that someone who is not a military spouse doesn’t look at that as maybe a weakness in our experience, but more as a strength? And so, I think it comes with some really good coaching, there are a lot of wonderful resources out there, but also just intentional thought. You really need to be able to communicate and tell your story, and you can’t just wing it, because often the steps are a little bit convoluted, and they can be a little bit confusing, even for you if you haven’t sat down and really mapped it out and thought about, “Okay, what was happening here? Why? And also what did I learn?” Because we can turn those moments into real lessons where we learned something.


For example, being an admin assistant, I learned not only that, that is a career field that I really appreciate everyone who does well, but that’s not something that I really enjoyed. The type of work that I was doing daily was not something that I enjoyed, but it’s also something that’s in almost every job that I have. We have add ups in everything that we do. And so, I’ve learned to create systems around those tasks so that I can accomplish them, but they also don’t bring me a full-time job that was only those tasks did, for example.

Kim Lott (14:43):

And to not look down on those kind of experiences and maybe those positions that we held that we didn’t really desire to hold. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with taking a job because you needed a job at that point in time, right?

Evie King (14:54):

Absolutely. Right, exactly. It helped us pay for my husband’s school loans when we came out of that job with no loans on either side of us, and that was really, really wonderful and worth it.

Kim Lott (15:08):

That’s phenomenal. I remember I had an interview, this was years ago, and my resume probably looks like yours; a lot of hopping around, a lot of maybe two years here, three years there kind of stuff. And one particular employer stood out from the rest because it was very different. And I’m in the interview, and I’m going through that and I kind of glossed by that period, and the interviewer was like, “No, that is what I’m interested in. I want to know what you did there.” That was the thing they really wanted to talk about.


So, that’s a good lesson for all of us. Like you said, it’s a part of the blessing of being a military spouse, having this experience that you’re going to be able to dip into these different fields, take it, and flex it and leverage it for something else, the best we can. And you’re in a perfect current career path to be able to educate people on that. Because on the flip side, you are a recruiter for a federal contractor, and I’m sure your background as a military spouse has affected how you approach the hiring of veterans and military spouses. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Evie King (16:27):

I’ve noticed actually a couple of things now as a recruiter is, one, they really don’t teach some really important lessons in business school.

Kim Lott (16:36):


Evie King (16:37):

Some of the things that I’ve learned as a recruiter just reviewing resumes, I’m like, “Why don’t we talk about this more?” And I try to share that knowledge as much as possible when I can. But the other thing, so I’m very fortunate because my employer was actually… So we have since been, we call it aqui mergers; we’re now a tribally-owned government contracting firm, but as of a little while ago, we were a woman-owned government contracting firm, and the women who started the firm were military spouses who started it because they could not find meaningful employment when they were living overseas. And I always tell them there’s a reason that I’m working for them and not my own company, because never once in my employment career where I often say I’ve had to pivot and persevere, did I think, “I’m not getting a job, so I’m going to make my own company and go out and create positions myself.”


So it was really wonderful to work for a firm whose entire perspective was looking at people as whole people and not the sum of our parts on a resume. And really seeing that just because your resume doesn’t say explicitly that you did something, doesn’t mean that your experience together… That you could still do that. And that was very, very freeing. It was also wonderful to just… So my husband went through a deployment while I’ve been with this firm, to be with people who understood what that was like and fully supported me through it. It allowed me to be an employee during that time, and I think an exceptional one, personally.

Kim Lott (18:35):


Evie King (18:36):

But also taking care of myself and my family’s needs and not feeling like those two were in conflict with each other. And it’s been really wonderful to work for an employer that truly lives supporting and hiring military and veteran, and doesn’t just say that they want to do that, but they’ve created a culture where we thrive.

Kim Lott (18:59):

Right. And make you kind of leave that identity at the door. “You’re at work now.” That’s very difficult for any employer, just going to allow you to come to work as a whole person, and see that, and understand that and invite that in. That’s a champion employer right there. Now during the Roundtable, we talk about resiliency being a key trait of a military spouse. What other great attributes would you say they bring to the workforce? Ms. Evie?

Evie King (19:33):

So I think we’ve sort of talked about it a little bit throughout this whole conversation is that military spouses are extremely well-rounded in a lot of different things. When I look at a military spouse resume and I see the many different, potentially, jobs, careers, whatever that person has done, what I see is a person who has determination and willingness to excel at everything that they’re presented with. And I think that that is a trait that is very hard to teach. It’s something that is learned through life experiences. And because we go through so many life experiences, often in short periods of time, with varying levels of support, it is just a trait that so many military spouses bring to the table. We truly can take something that seems impossible and make it happen because we approach it from out of the box thinking, because that’s been our whole life. We’ve had to do that. And so, those traits that make us survive or thrive in military life translate very well to the professional’s life. And we saw that during COVID.

Kim Lott (20:59):


Evie King (21:00):

So many of us, I mean, we’ve been celebrating milestones far away from our family on video chats for years. And we were often the ones helping our fellow colleagues through that transition of isolation and everything. And it’s like, “No, we’ve been there and we can help you.”

Kim Lott (21:23):

And you push through, and this is where I want to plug right now that you are sitting on a picnic table in your living room?

Evie King (21:31):

Yeah, I was so happy when I found out that this was not recorded with video because I told everybody, I was like, “By the way, I am sitting in what used to be my living room on a picnic table and a folding chair because our household goods are hopefully on their way across the Atlantic at this point in time,” and I’m able to do everything that I need to do.

Kim Lott (21:54):

That’s right. That’s right. You didn’t cancel. You’re like, “You know what? This is on the calendar. This is going to happen. I don’t care if I don’t have furniture.” I mean, that is just a small example of making it happen, pushing forward.

Evie King (22:07):

Right. Exactly. There really is, a lot of people say, “I don’t know how you do it.” And I think my answer is usually, “Well, I don’t know how not to because this is my life.” And the option is we either continue to move forward or we fail and I don’t want to do that.

Kim Lott (22:29):

Yeah. Well, let’s pivot a little bit to talk about the employers. What I want to get from you is a list of attributes or your idea about what a military spouse supportive employer would have. We’ve talked about military spouses, how they’re resilient, all the gifts that they bring to the workforce, but it’s not going to mean much of anything if we don’t have employers that are going to be able to welcome, and receive and be friendly to military spouses. So if you could talk with us a little bit about what that ideal employer would look like?

Evie King (23:12):

So I think first of all, and no surprise to anyone probably listening is, when a military spouse says they are moving, an employer doesn’t automatically say, “Okay, we now need to find your replacement and have to let you go.” So continued employment is huge for military spouses. We want to stay with an employer generally, because we know how hard it is to find employment. So right now, the average civilian stays in a job two to three years. So it’s no longer a statistic that is unique to military spouses. I would not be surprised if military spouses, if they were given an opportunity to move with an employer, would be more likely to stay with an employer for that very reason. So that alone is huge.


The second thing I would say is, giving us opportunities to be in leadership positions, not just always entry level, or saying that a job is, “Open to military spouses and we’re trying to get military spouses to apply,” but it’s entry level. We’re talking mid-level, we’re talking management, we’re talking leadership roles. So giving those opportunities to military spouses is also something that I think would set an employer apart because again, they see the growth potential in that person and they’re seeing them as a whole person.


And then the other thing I would say is, we do have some things in our life that are unique, and sometimes that means working with us so that we can stay employed, but it might not be in the traditional 9:00 to 5:00 sense. So for example, my husband’s Welcome Home Ceremony was smack dab in the middle of the day, and I was able to work with my employer to still be able to attend that. And then, I worked some hours the night before, and then I worked some additional hours. I still got my work done.

Kim Lott (25:41):


Evie King (25:42):

And that, I think is something that people need to be able to work with military spouses with, is that we’re going to get the work done, it just might not always be when it’s traditionally done. And if there is some flexibility around that, give us the opportunity to leverage that. So yeah, I would say, just flexibility around that would be huge. My current employer, I was still working the day that my movers were here, I just didn’t take any meetings and they were okay with that. I worked, and I did things that did not require me to be on the phone, and I was still a productive member of the team that day.

Kim Lott (26:30):

I think flexibility is a great summary word for one of the main ways that employers can show up in as space. I think flexibility is-

Evie King (26:39):

It took me a while to get there.

Kim Lott (26:40):

No, I mean you said it, I just kind of picked up on it. But obviously, benefits and all those other things are fabulous as well, add more things to the pot, but at its core flexibility, being able to be flexible with a Coming Home Ceremony and all those little things that are not going to show up in the civilian family. And I think you’re right as well, and I think studies have bore this out, and anecdotally, you hear people talk about this all the time; military spouses would follow, they would stay with those employers I think, and work longer than the three-year average of civilians.

Evie King (27:19):

Oh yeah.

Kim Lott (27:19):

That loyalty would be there. Just give them the opportunity, like you said, not only entry-level, have some leadership positions, be flexible, all that good stuff. Thank you for that. And I know you touched on a little bit of this as well, but let’s see if we could flesh this out a little bit more, about some of the common barriers that military spouses face. I’m sure it’s no fun to be in the middle of a move like you’re going through right now, so maybe that and some other barriers that military spouses face when trying to find and retain employment. Can you speak a little bit about that?

Evie King (27:58):

Yeah, some of the common barriers that I’ve seen is, one, if you are a government contractor and all of your jobs require someone to already have a clearance, that right there is a really huge barrier. I know many military spouses, for many reasons, myself included, I had a clearance at one point, but since moving out of that role and moving around, I now no longer have an active government clearance. And so, if I was to apply for a job that required that right off the bat, I would automatically be disqualified. So I think, really if you are in the government contracting world, asking yourself whether there is some flexibility there, some of it is government determined and there’s really nothing we can do about that, but sometimes the government will allow you to get an interim clearance or obtain a clearance and that person can start without one. And so, that gives so many opportunities to military spouses who have the experience that they’re looking for but may not have that clearance because obviously it’s not something that we can just get on our own. So that right there is a really big barrier that I’ve noticed, especially in the government contracting realm, is just lack of clearance because service members when they get out of the military, their clearance is still active, so it’s much easier for them to go into those roles right away, if they have that.


The other thing that I would say is just some of the words. So you mentioned that military spouses are a really diverse population. Nine to 10% depending, of military spouses, self-identify as male. So that means though that 90% of military spouses on average, identify as female. And there are some ways that position descriptions are worded that we know make it not as friendly to women. For example, using words like, “Expert,” certain things like that, we are more likely to second guess our expertise. Someone could by all means know Excel backwards and forwards and still not consider themselves an expert. So I would say looking at your position descriptions, and looking at them from the perspective of how would a person who identifies as female read this position description and is the way that we’re wording it already making them feel like they don’t have the qualifications? So that’s not unique to just military spouses, but when you again consider that around 90% of them self-identify as female, that change alone not just helps military spouses, but women in general.

Kim Lott (30:53):

Very good. And you answered my next question, so skip through that already. Now, there has been a lot of talk about military spouses and whether or not they will self-identify as such, and it could be a good thing, but may also be up for discrimination. So as a military spouse, what is your opinion on that?

Evie King (31:17):

So I am very open with the fact that I’m a military spouse mostly because if you type my name into Google at this point, because I won that award, and it’s no secret, so I don’t feel like hiding that is something that I can even do effectively. But I’ve also decided for myself, just based off of where I want my profession to grow, I know I don’t want to work for an employer where I have to hide that part of myself because I love this lifestyle so much and I’m not afraid to say I’m a military spouse, but that’s not everybody. So I would say for military spouses who are wondering whether or not they should identify if they are a military spouse is look at the companies that you are trying to get jobs at and see if they have any initiatives where they are actively recruiting military spouses or service members. If they are, then most likely, they are friendly towards the lifestyle, I would say.


If they’re not, then it’s potential that they might just not know that that’s a community that they should be recruiting for or from. But that’s just kind of an easy way to see like, “Wait a second, where and how should I identify?” The other thing is you can see where people work, and so maybe take a look at some people who might work for that employer and see if they’re self-identifying on their LinkedIn profile or something like that. So I say, just do a little bit of research and then decide for yourself.

Kim Lott (32:58):

Right. And if no one self identifies then you don’t really know where your people are, and that all contributes to culture and belonging. So inclusion and belonging are important in the satisfying work lives. And when it comes to retention, what would you say Evie, are some things military spouses are looking for in that company culture?

Evie King (33:21):

Yeah, just sort of reiterating what I’ve said previously is that ability for flexibility, work with us, the ability to advance, having those opportunities to advance professionally, and have new challenges. Invest in our personal and professional growth. Are there opportunities to take courses? Can I get my PMP through your company? Can I get another degree or certification? Those things make a difference, not just for military spouses, but I think everyone, and all of those things really help people. And also since we’re on the topic, make sure that you’re paying us fairly. I think that there can be a perception that a military spouse is just going to take a job’s salary because they’re so grateful for the opportunity for employment. And potentially, that could be true; they’re willing to take less than what they think they deserve for their experience and background because they’re just so grateful for a job. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you should be providing fair and equitable salary options, regardless of whether someone is a military spouse or not.

Kim Lott (34:45):

Absolutely. And we talked about this a little bit on the panel. It is a good-sized community and people talk, right? Military Spouse talk.

Evie King (34:54):

People talk. Yes.

Kim Lott (34:55):

So if you’re giving a paltry salary and people understand that that’s not what they’re worth, that’s going to get around, it’s not going to bode well for that employer. So paying fairly is very important. What would you say about ERGs, Ms. Evie. Employee Resource Group, sorry.

Evie King (35:12):

I think they can be very helpful if they’re done in a structured way. What is the purpose for your company having an ERG, and how are you using it? Are you using it to bring people with similar backgrounds together? Are you using it to help just those who maybe have a military background and those who don’t, learn from each other and bridge that gap? The civilian-military gap. I don’t think creating an ERG for the sake of having one is an effective use of anyone’s time.

Kim Lott (35:48):

And that’s for any ERG, to be honest. Just to have it, and it’s not going to be effective, it’s not going to be useful. So let’s talk a little bit about remote work for military spouses. I’m a fan of remote work and we talked about flexibility a little bit earlier. How important are the remote work roles to this community and why? I think I know where you’re going to go with this, but let’s just talk about that a little bit more.

Evie King (36:15):

Yeah. Well, going back to flexibility and longevity at an employer, if not for remote work, I would probably not be employed with my current employer. Not because they don’t want to employ me, but because it just wouldn’t be possible. So seeing where you can provide that would allow military spouses that you hire to maintain their employment and when you invest in an employee, whether they’re a military spouse or not, and you keep them with the employee, with the employer, you’re just retaining that education, and that expertise and it actually is a cost saving for you because hiring people is quite expensive, and remote work could be a lot more affordable and provide a better value for you as a company than saying, “Everyone needs to come into the office.”


Now, I will say I 100% understand the value of coming into the office. So maybe providing, since there might be cost savings for not having everyone in the office, maybe providing quarterly or biannual retreats where people can come in and develop those in-person relationships, because I think that is extremely important. But for military spouses, being able to do work remotely gives us the ability to stay with an employer and honestly, continue to grow and excel at the job that we’re hired to do.

Kim Lott (37:47):

Right. And for the employer to keep their top talent. Because think of it, these military spouses are not disclosing that they’re a spouse and they’re doing fabulous, they are producing well, and in two years they just up and say now they have to leave because there’s nothing been built out for them to be able to remain with the company, that’s not going to bode well for the company as well. So those kind of policies are going to be able to allow military spouses to stay with the company and for the company is to retain that talent that they have.

Evie King (38:21):

Right. And I also think military spouses at this point, we are told even if an employer does not have a remote work policy when we’re moving to bring that up as an option. But how amazing would it be to not have to worry about how your employees act? And I think at this day and age, not addressing remote work for various reasons is just not progressing your company into the 21st Century where we’re at right now.

Kim Lott (38:53):

I would agree. I would agree.

Evie King (38:55):

Tough love.

Kim Lott (38:57):

So Ms. Evie, you are the Executive Director and Board President of Independent Inc. Tell us a little bit about Independent and the work you do to provide a community for military spouses. What services do you offer?

Evie King (39:16):

Independent is the nonprofit that I volunteer at. So during the day, I say I’m a recruiter and at night I’m a nonprofit leader. And our mission is to make wellness accessible for all military spouses. And we do this working alongside wellness professionals to create education resources and tools that support holistic military spouse wellbeing we believe by focusing on the heart of the home, which is the military spouse, we’re also supporting our service members and future generations. And like I mentioned at the beginning of our conversation today, military spouses are unique in that sometimes the civilian resources don’t quite fit the lifestyle, but then also the resources that are unique to the military service member also doesn’t fit. And so, we just want to make sure that we are giving military spouses what they need to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families.

Kim Lott (40:24):

Wonderful. And I know that you do that in a holistic way. You focus on the entire person, but May being Mental Health Month, if you could talk a little bit about the struggles military spouses face and the importance of communities specifically and having access to reliable resources for their mental well-being.

Evie King (40:46):

Right. So I think we’ve talked a lot about the fact that military spouses are kind of always in some period of transition, whether that’s moving, whether that’s the season of life that they’re in. A lot of our transition when my husband is not deployed, has to do with his job and what the needs of his job are. Are they going to require him to be at home on time or is he going to be at work really, really late? And I think that that’s normal for many military spouses. So having access to community is extremely important because while wellness is extremely unique to each individual, the ability to be well is directly impacted by the support network that you have around you.


One study that I read recently mentioned that military spouses, approximately 26% are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder as opposed to approximately 6% within the civilian population. So already right there, that tells you that we have large needs within the military spouse community when it comes to mental health. And right now there are lots of conversations about quality of life and what that means in terms of healthcare and access to healthcare. And one of the things that we do at Independent is kind of provide supplemental support because some people really do need to see a wellness professional, they need to go to counseling, or they need to see a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, but not everyone does. Sometimes you get what you need by having a strong support system around you, and that can look different depending on where you’re at. The support system that I have when we live in the States is very different than the support system that I’ve had to create living OCONUS and the resources that military spouses have speak to that unique difference and how to approach all of those different things so that you can be successful no matter where you are and have that important support community because you might not be your family and friends, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have what you need around you, you just might have to look a little harder.

Kim Lott (43:21):

Very good. So for any of the listeners out there, how can they get involved either as a military spouse or as a supporter?

Evie King (43:28):

Yeah, I mean, I think just going on our website going, it’s You can also just go on Google and type in, “Military Spouse Wellness.” We will pop up, we’re on social media, we’re also on LinkedIn, and following us there, if you’re someone who wants to get involved in what we’re doing, our contact information is on the website, we’re always looking to have support, but then also to support. So we’ve worked with some employers who have a large population of military spouses, and we’ve talked to them about how they can support their wellbeing. So I think there are many ways that we can work with people and then just connect military spouses to the health and wellness resources that they need.

Kim Lott (44:18):

Absolutely. Okay, we are done with this interview. Ms. Evie, thank you so much. I’m going to go through some rapid fire, well, this is something we do at the end of each podcast, just some fun rapid fire questions. I’m going to go through a series of short questions, and all you have to do is say the first thing that comes to your mind. Let me know if you’re ready to go.

Evie King (44:39):

I’m ready.

Kim Lott (44:41):

Okay, here we go. So if you did not work in your current role, what profession would you pursue?

Evie King (44:48):


Kim Lott (44:49):


Evie King (44:50):

Yeah. I do community theater and I love it.

Kim Lott (44:54):

Oh, do you sing?

Evie King (44:56):

No, I do what’s considered straight plays. I have sung before, but generally I don’t get the big roles when they involve singing.

Kim Lott (45:05):

I love that. Okay. Best career advice you ever received?

Evie King (45:11):

Don’t automatically disqualify yourself. Try.

Kim Lott (45:16):

Solid, solid advice. Talking or texting?

Evie King (45:21):

Talking in person, texting in virtual.

Kim Lott (45:25):

Yes. Good distinction. Okay, very good. Favorite quote or motto?

Evie King (45:31):

All right, so it’s a quote by President Woodrow Wilson, and he says, “You are not here merely to make a living, you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Kim Lott (45:54):

I love that. I know.

Evie King (45:56):

I know, gives me goosebumps.

Kim Lott (45:58):

I’m going to have to look that one up and save it.

Evie King (46:01):

Gives me goosebumps every time. Yeah.

Kim Lott (46:07):

Let me rephrase. What are you going to start this year or stop this year?

Evie King (46:13):

I am stopping doing things because I feel that they make me worthy of people’s attention and time, and start doing things that align more with the vision that I have for myself and my family.

Kim Lott (46:33):

Wonderful. Wonderfully stated. That was supposed to be our last question, but I just thought of one: Navy or army.

Evie King (46:43):

Did you really ask me that question? I won Army Spouse of the Year before I won military.

Kim Lott (46:49):

You know I had to slip it in there as a Navy veteran, I had to.

Evie King (46:58):

So we are a army household, but I like to say, with everything that I do, I bleed purple, which is the joint color.

Kim Lott (47:06):

There you go. I love that.

Evie King (47:07):

Because we’re all military spouses or-

Kim Lott (47:10):

That’s right.

Evie King (47:10):

A military community. So.

Kim Lott (47:12):

Yeah. Listen, thank you so much Ms. Evie for joining me today. I know we’re going to have listeners who would like more insights after this into your program, or how to connect if you would give us your info so they can get in contact with you, I’d appreciate that.

Evie King (47:30):

Yeah. I think honestly, the easiest way to find me is just going on LinkedIn. You can type in I’m Evie King, or you can find me by searching my maiden name because I doubt there are many out there. My maiden name was Evie Yawn, Y-A-W-N.

Kim Lott (47:52):

I’ve never heard that last name.

Evie King (47:54):

LinkedIn will pop up. Yeah. Yeah. It was a very unique name to grow up with. Yes.

Kim Lott (48:01):

Yeah. And then Independence I, lowercase, N, dependent: Independent. How else can you be searched?

Evie King (48:12):

Yeah, so my work email, and you’re welcome to send me an email, is That’s my employer. And I’m happy to talk about recruiting, or to talk about how your company can be more welcoming to military spouses, veterans, or anything that kind of sparked a question or a thought during this conversation.

Kim Lott (48:46):

Yes. Thank you so much. I really had a good time with you getting to know you a little bit more. And I really appreciate you hunkering down on that picnic table that’s there. I mean, I have a great transition.

Evie King (49:01):

Thank you.

Kim Lott (49:03):

And I know that we’ll see you on social media and we have the ways to connect with you, so we’ll follow up with you. But thank you again, Ms. Evie.

Evie King (49:10):

Thank you. It was really fun and I’m so grateful we’re not on video, because yeah, my-

Kim Lott (49:15):

I know. All right, thank you again, Ms. Evie.

Candee Chambers (49:19):

Thank you for tuning in for another episode of the DE Talk Podcast. Stay connected with DirectEmployers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our emails by visiting to receive notifications of new episodes each month.

Candee Chambers
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