WHO: The military spouse council will be made up of five council all from diverse backgrounds. Each member will bring experience and knowledge related to military and veteran homeownership.
PURPOSE: The Caliber Military Spouse Advisory Council will provide a forum for issues concerning military and veterans’ families regarding homeownership. The council’s purpose is to conduct a community needs assessment, learn about the unique needs and challenges facing military and veteran homebuyers, and identify services, resources and programs that will meet the needs identified. The council will learn about Caliber Home Loans, how we are different, and what makes us military friendly. In addition, the council provided opportunities to meet and network and advance collaboration with community partners and organizations.
COUNCIL TERMS: Military spouses will serve on the council for two years.
Air Force Spouse
Founder/CEO Military Spouse Advocacy Network
Verenice Castillo is the Founder and CEO of the Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN). MSAN was founded in 2014 with a mission to create stronger military families through education, empowerment and support. MSAN is the fastest growing network of advocates and mentors providing peer-to-peer mentorship to all military spouses through its Military Spouse Mentorship-HUB. MSAN’s impact has reached over 378,000 military spouses around the globe. In 2013, she was named the Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year. In 2015, she received the Volunteer Excellence Award presented by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. In 2017, she was recognized as the Heroes at Home Air Force Spouse of the Year and in 2019 she was named as one of the 30 Women Military Influencers by the Military Home Life Magazine. Mrs. Castillo is a servant leader who has made contributions to the well-being of her community and has advocated for the resources and support system that military families need and deserve. She has also been a contributor on various panels, keynote speaker, briefed and advised Senior Military Leaders on the vital importance of supporting military families, developed trainings that were adopted and used as models for official resources and programs for military families, and strengthened her local community. Her appreciation, dedication, desire, and the bond that she shares with other military families and her community are her motivation to make a difference in their lives.
"I am very excited to participate in this wonderful council and share the experience I have gained during my advocacy efforts to make sure that gaps of support that military spouses face are filled with meaningful programs and resources. My opportunities to mentor and support many military spouses Verenice Castillo, Air Force Spouse Founder/CEO Military Spouse Advocacy Network have given me the experience to develop mentorship programs that are now implemented and changing the lives of new and seasoned military spouses."
PCS Reform Advocate
Megan Harless is an Army Veteran, military spouse, mom to three amazing children, and is passionate about educating others on the regulations and polies of PCS (permanent change of station) all while working on reform efforts to streamline and simplify the process for military families. She graduated from the University of Charleston, WV where she met her husband and commissioned as a Transportation Officer where she went on to serve 4 years as a dual active duty family to include one deployment to Iraq. When she hung up her uniform for the last time, she gracefully slipped into the role of military spouse where she has supported her husband. As a family they have PCS’d 10 times in the past 15 years which has lead her to her passion of improving the process. Since the fall of 2018, Megan has worked with members of Congress, US Transportation Command, and members of the moving industry to identify key pain points of the process and to draft solutions to be implemented for families. During this time as she has become the leading Military Spouse PCS expert as noted in her receiving the 2020 Military.com Spouse Changemaker of the Year award, Megan has worked hard to educate families on the changing policies and regulations while helping them to navigate the process in order to help them have a smooth move. When she is not supporting her military community, Megan enjoys hiking with her family, traveling, and searching for the world’s best chocolate!
“Being a part of the council, I will be able to provide valuable insight on the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process and experience that our military families go through on a regular basis. I can provide the feedback from my own experience as a Veteran and what service members experience and also what the spouse experiences as well. Furthermore, from my time advocating for improved changes to he program, I will be able to provide the changes that are being made to the process that Transcom and/or Congress are implementing.”
Marla Bautista, Army Spouse
Founder/CEO Bautista Project
Marla Bautista is the author of My Thoughts Abandoned, and co-author of Brave Women, Strong Faith. She is also a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker. However, her passion is providing for homeless community members. She does so as the co-founder of the Bautista Project Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides basic living essentials, mentorship, educational transportation, and housing resources for people in need. One of Bautista Project Inc's programs, VetPoint 100 provides basic living essentials, mentorship, transportation, housing, and educational resources to the homeless veteran community. This program is a way we can all contribute to America's Veterans. Offering an array of resources, TBP Inc hopes to provide transition services to Veterans experiencing homelessness.
Deputy Director, Hiring Our Heroes
Brian L. Alvarado is a military community advocate by day, and a military spouse, gadget geek, and amateur kitchen genius by night. He is the Deputy Director of Workforce Development on the Military Spouse Team at Hiring our Heroes, a program of the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation. This initiative is dedicated to measurably impacting military spouse unemployment and underemployment through the overarching strategies of grassroots engagement and public/private partnerships. In this role, Brian directs a team of dedicated professionals across several programs and initiatives that drive the attainability of economic stability through employment opportunities for the military community. As a military spouse, Brian has served as Naval Command Ombudsman at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center aboard Naval Base Point Loma as well as various Family Readiness Group board positions in support of the sailors and families of commands his service member spouse has served with. He currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Military Family Advisory Network. He is the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance United States Navy Spouse of the Year® and has been recognized by the American Military Partner Association with their National Community Service Award as well as the recipient of the 2016 Vanguard Equality Award from Equality California. He and his spouse, Matthew Alvarado, US Navy (Ret.), reside in Washington, D.C.
“Thank you for the opportunity to join the inaugural advisory council of military spouses for Caliber Home Loans. It is incredible to watch Caliber as an organization develop over the years and really take a firm stand on supporting and sustaining a relationship with the military community. I believe my background in real estate coupled with my work in the military spouse employment space that creates economic stability for our military families would lend an important voice to this council. I have attached my bio and headshot that outlines the work I do within the community as well as my resume.”
Gold Star Family Advocate
Krista Simpson Anderson is the proud wife of an active duty Green Beret and the Gold Star spouse of Green Beret SSG Michael H. Simpson who passed away on 1 May 2013 from wounds sustained in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in Eastern Afghanistan. She is the mother of two boys. Krista cofounded The Unquiet Professional in 2013, an organization that provides healthy and empowering opportunities to Gold Star and Surviving families, Veterans and their families. Krista also serves as the Gold Star Liaison and board member for the Green Beret Foundation, the Military Spouse Ambassador for Army Emergency Relief, the Vice President for Gold Star Sailing Foundation and is a member of the United States Army’s Survivor Advisory Working Group. Krista's philosophy is “Arm Yourselves and Be Brave - Educate and Empower to THRIVE not just Survive.” Her mission is to help provide military families the tools to thrive in their ever changing and challenging environments. In doing this, she believes family readiness is strengthened and a stronger force is created. She also strives to bridge the gap between our military and civilian communities while providing care and awareness around the blessings and struggles of military life. Due to Krista’s dedicated service to the military community, she was recognized as the “2018 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year and overall Military Spouse of the Year” as well as the “2019 Green Beret Foundation Keeper of the Brave.” Krista believes tragedy does not need to end our story but provides the opportunity to create a new
chapter with greater purpose.
“I have served the Gold Star and Survivor community for nearly eight years and feel strongly about providing healthy, empowering opportunities and encouraging them to take ownership of their lives. Educating our military community on the benefits and resources available to them is imperative so they may have the opportunity to utilize what is available at different points in their military journey. Knowledge is power whether you are using it for yourself or to assist others.”
Spouse Coast Guardsman
Licensed Social Worker / Author and
CFO Inspire Up
Jessica Manfre is a licensed social worker, author, and Chief Financial Officer of the nonprofit, Inspire Up. A passionate advocate of the military community, she remains dedicated to service and sits on multiple boards. She has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Central Florida and also holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northwestern State University. Jessica is the spouse of an active duty Coast Guardsman and has two children. When she isn't busy working, you can find her drinking too much coffee and reading a good book.
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