It has been three weeks since the sun set on our grandfather’s life. Sadness is only one of the emotions I’m left feeling. The outpouring from people of not only sympathy, but of joy…the joy from simply having known him, has been staggering. Our grandfather was a philanthropic, influential man within his community. Upon realizing his days were numbered, he made sure those around him knew which charities needed the most attention along with his fundraising goals. There is a sense of finality in death, but in these past weeks, I have realized that which surpasses death. The impact our grandfather had on his community forever changed it, and in his spirit of giving back, a piece of him will live forever.
A piece of him lives on in Leah and me, and the rest of our siblings and family, too. He taught us in his words and in his actions to give back. He showed us what it means to make an impact on the world.
From the very beginning of MAVAN, when it was scarcely more than an idea and a name, we kept coming back to impact. Born at the intersection of identity and impact. We list impact as one of our four core values, but how do we bring it to life? Of course we like strong terms, but we believe its strength is only manifested when backed by action. Like our grandfather, we walk the walk.
While making an impact in our communities and in the larger world is a significant goal, we also work with impact-driven people. We work with professionals, largely public speakers and life coaches, working to spread words of empowerment. Through their words and coaching sessions, they’re building up individuals, businesses, their communities. They’re making an impact, and we’re so excited to act as a force driving them forward. Together with a Mavan, their impact is growing. Our impact is growing.
And our Mavans. Our military spouses, driven, motivated, excited as they realize their role in the growth of their professional clients. Moving often has left them searching for meaningful work. They watch as their military member picks up and keeps going at each new duty station; he or she has a career that continues on an upward trajectory. Now, as a Mavan, they too are on an upward trajectory. Each Mavan is making an impact.
We are MAVAN. We are a small business. We are a new business. We are in business to help military spouses gain meaningful employment.
No. As a military spouse, I have felt the weight of frustration in relation to employment. I have collected odd jobs, taken a step along a career path here and there, often wondering if I’d be able to walk on the path long enough to find my identity there. Now, I feel the frustration as a business owner. There are many hurdles to employing military spouses. And we believe it doesn’t have to be so hard. So we’re writing to military news channels. We’re keeping our thumb on the pulse of politics as it relates to military spouses. We see possibility in a future wherein military spouses have a career that moves with them. A new duty station brings enough new challenges and employment doesn’t have to be one of them.
As we pause this weekend to honor the life of a great man, our grandfather, our Boppa, we will surely be sad (I did pack my waterproof mascara). But, we will also find joy. We will find laughter in the memories. We will smile knowing we each take a piece of him with us daily. We will celebrate with his beloved community the impact he made. And we are nothing less than inspired to continue his legacy by giving back and focusing on making a greater impact in our world. He encouraged us often by repeating Winston Churchill’s quote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Although the sun has set, I am reminded it will rise again. Slowly. Rising above the horizon. The sun’s rays will once again creep across the terrain, illuminating one by one, everything they touch. Their reach is vast. Just think of the beauty and the possibility in that.