Amanda Huffman Civil Engineer Mom

Air Force Civil Engineer to Stay at Home Mom

Amanda Huffman served in the Air Force for 6 years as a Civil Engineer Officer. She then retired in order to raise her family and support her husband in his continued military career.

Photograph of Amanda Huffman, Air Force Civil Engineer, Stay at Home Mom
Amanda Huffman, Air Force Civil Engineer, Stay at Home Mom

Amanda has begun blogging at AirmanToMom.com about being a female veteran, a military spouse, and a mother. One of her goals is to help amplify the voices of female veterans whom she says are often lost in the shuffle as they are such a small percent of our nations’ service members.

Amanda enjoys the daily challenges and rhythm of caring for her two sons ages 5 and 2, and speaks fondly of her tenure serving in the Air Force.

Advice

Amanda’s advice is to study as much as you can within the STEM fields. She says to not shy away from math and engineering as the military looks at these disciplines.

She also says the Air Force needs all personality types as each brings something to the table. Amanda also notes that you should have a willingness to meet the mission and go where you are directed.

As for being a mother – a hefty dose of humbleness is either required or learned upon taking on this role. She notes that she has learned to be more ‘in the moment’ with her second son and enjoy the fleeting time she has to watch them grow.

Philanthropy

Amanda is an advocate of changing the world one person at a time. She and her husband have donated financial .resources to Kiva.org for years. They have also sponsored children via organizations like Compassion International and Food for the Hungry. Amanda said their first match was 8 years old when they began supporting her and is about to graduate out of the program at 17 years old.


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Nancy Mellard Executive VP General Counsel

Executive VP & General Counsel

Nancy Mellard is the Executive VP and General Counsel for Benefits and Insurance Services Division of CBIZ, Inc. She is also the national leader of CBIZ Women’s Advantage. Nancy knew from a young age that she wanted to be an independent, professional, career-focused woman and the path to her present position developed from there.

Photograph of Nancy Mellard, Executive VP and General Counsel CBIZ Inc
Nancy Mellard, Executive VP and General Counsel, CBIZ, Inc.

Nancy also defined her personal priorities early in her career. Her desire to integrate her professional goals with her personal goals helped her craft a fulfilling career.

She finds excitement in the daily challenges that are the insurance industry and enjoys being capable of continuously learning.

One of the most exciting days in her three-decades and counting career thus far occurred this past February. She and her fellow Executive Board members of CBIZ Women’s Advantage rang the closing bell on the NYSE. Check out this photo and corresponding post!

photograph of CBIZ Women's Advantage ringin NYSE closing bell
Nancy Mellard and the Executive Board of CBIZ Women’s Advantage ring the closing bell on the NYSE.

Advice

Nancy’s advice for young women is to be open to change, to move in the direction it takes you instead of resisting it.

She also says there are three main personality traits that suit Executive VPs, General Counsels, and professional women. In no particular order, Nancy lists cultivating a strong executive presence, leadership skills and competency as top traits to possess.

Philanthropy

Nancy places her efforts on focus on education. She is an advocate of continued professional education, as well as early educational opportunities within her community. Nancy and her husband also make it a priority to support those in need through various Catholic charities.


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Lynn Ballou CFP

Certified Financial Planner

Lynn Ballou is a Certified Financial Planner and entrepreneur with EP Wealth Advisors, LLC. Lynn says she loves being able to guide clients through the financial complexities of life transitions. She feels she has a magic wand to make people’s lives better.

Photograph of Lynn Ballou, CFP
Lynn Ballou, CFP

Lynn began her career as an enrolled agent preparing taxes. The brand new field of CFP® was beginning to emerge and she took the certification course and follow-on study groups building her knowledge. The first female firm launched January 1, 1998, and on January 19, 2016, they joined forces with EP Wealth Advisors. When Lynn began she says the female professionals only amounted to about 5% of financial planners, now that number has grown to 23%. Plenty of room for more women she says!

Advice

Starting out, building a business, Lynn knew she had to save in order to grow to a point where her business would sustain her. She has reached that point. She says those who want to be an entrepreneur need to be able to hear ‘no’, to be truthful to themselves and be capable of pivoting.

Find your passion! Become your best authentic self!

Her advice for young women interested in becoming certified financial planners would be to shadow or intern with a financial professional. She says you cannot be what you cannot see. Even more than shadowing a CFP®, Lynn says to find a professional who lives in that profession, who really understands the nitty-gritty so they can give you the most comprehensive view of the career.

Resources

Lynn advocates for financial literacy for everyone – man, woman, child. She says we should be requiring financial literacy courses in order to graduate high school. Not simply how to buy and sell stocks; more practical money applications. How to budget, how to save, how to spend and invest and grow your wealth.

We can all get started on our financial journeys with some education ourselves. Lynn recommends perusing the CFP® board website at LetsMakeAPlan.org On this site one can find a local CFP®, or a mentor in the financial planning realm, and even learn a plethora of topics ranging from budgeting to growing your nest egg thru to retirement.

You can also get a hold of Lynn and she’ll guide you! Email her at lballou@epwealth.com

Philanthropy

Lynn has made it a focus of EP Wealth Advisors to invest in their client’s charities. She also manages EP Wealth and Women Initiative wherein they support the careers of fellow femme financial pros.

Lynn also supports the YWCA Berkley Oakland Chapter and Girls Inc of Alameda in Oakland.


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Kelly Vargas Natural Therapeutics

Natural Therapeutics

Kelly Vargas is the owner of Haley Jenae Skincare and Bodywork. In her entrepreneurial practice, she aims to help all those in need using natural therapies. Kelly completed coursework at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, has crafted a line of skin care products and devotes much of herself to lifting other women up in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Advice

Kelly Vargas, Owner of Haley Jenae Skincare and Bodywork
Kelly Vargas, Owner of Haley Jenae Skincare and Bodywork

Kelly’s optimistic outlook on life seeps into her daily work and she says that surrounding yourself with the kind of people you want to be helps to bolster that positivity.

She says that if you’re interested in a career in natural healing, to submit to the journey and be open to where it may take you. Kelly also says to find the lessons in the lows of life.

It takes a lot of strength to look at the lows as growth.

She wisely says that her younger self may not listen to the advice she’d give now, but she would tell any young lady that you are enough, you are worth more than you give yourself credit for.

Philanthropy

Kelly donates her time and resources to UNM Children’s Hospital as well as frequents any small and local businesses she can.


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Adrienne Quintana Publisher

Publisher

Adrienne Quintana is a writer and micro-publisher. In many ways, she is a matchmaker. She introduces authors to illustrators and utilizes her vast network of literary big shots to market works of written art.

Adrienne has loved to read for most of her life and when she wrote and illustrated a children’s book for a friend, found a passion for writing and subsequently publishing.

Advice

READ and then read some more. After that, pick up another book and read. She associates being a writer to being a runner; one step at a time, one mile at a time, one page at a time. Once you’ve become an avid reader, start writing. Write as much as you possibly can she advises.

Adrienne also says you need to develop a thick skin and a love for feedback. She says to look for ways to grow in the feedback being given. To give feedback is to genuinely care about the work and want to help make it the best piece it can be.

See constructive criticism as a big hug!

She also says to leave your options wide open and to continuously move forward.

Philanthropy

Adrienne donates her time, teaching expertise and devotion to her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

You can find Adrienne online  at https://pinkumbrellapublishing.com/
http://www.readysetwritepodcast.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUIAbuihdn0jHaRTkb8OBGA


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Renee Holmes Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineer

Renee Holmes is a mechanical engineer with a passion for math, physics, problem-solving and Belize. She works at Bladewerx in NM and in addition to her role as a mechanical engineer, she is also an operations manager being groomed to take over the company somedayRenee Holmes, Mechanical Engineer

She has also worked for Boeing and had many mentors along the way who have encouraged her to continue pursuing her passion. Her parents were very supportive also.

Renee says she was able to collaborate with many men and women who have continued to support her interest in creating products.

In addition to her career, Renee is Mom to a barely-one-year-old and she says that she is at the right place for her and her family right now. She says you have to enjoy the time at work because that’s time away from her daughter and husband. And she does thoroughly enjoy her work as a mechanical engineer!

A career that stretches you, but doesn’t defeat you, is the right choice.

Philanthropy

Renee has a special passion for Belize. She and 9 friends recently conducted the Great Beans and Rice Giveaway wherein they raised money and created food baskets for women of domestic violence that contained rice, beans, pineapples, and ingredients to make tortillas. She called the project Little Chicken, Big Difference.

She and her husband also got married in Belize and had a service wedding where they all renovated a house for a mother and her children.


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