Sue Hoppin, Air Force Spouse

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

For Sue Hoppin, this is not just a favorite quote, but a way of life. But the journey has not always been easy. Highly educated, multilingual, with world experience and a PCS to her hometown of Washington, D.C., it seemed Sue had arrived professionally. Yet, as an Air Force spouse with frequent moves, she still found the path pointing in one direction, a direction all too familiar to military spouses: unemployment or underemployment.  

Refusing to settle, seeing a great need and honing in on her unique and incredible skill set, Sue became a pathfinder! In a time before elevated awareness of military spouses unemployment or underemployment was even a focus on the map, Sue was among the first to advocate for military spouse professionals and to highlight their importance on active duty retention rates. In 2010, Sue founded the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), a membership organization supporting the professional goals of military spouses with mentorship and career coaching–and the first of its kind.  

Now a nationally acclaimed expert and published author, Sue has continued pathfinding–and fighting to combat the 24% military spouse unemployment rate. In 2019, she created the National Day of Advocacy and crafted the first of several white papers on providing solutions to military spouse unemployment and underemployment. Sue, breaking down the barriers to this decades-old challenge, first recommended expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include military spouses, while also teaching military spouses how to advocate for themselves and others. 

 Still very much in the fight, Sue continues to dedicate herself to not only forging a new path, but leaving the trail better for others. For the work, she has done and continues to do--and for the example she has set, we will always be thankful for this pathfinder and trailblazer!  

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