Category Archives: Give.

Mission Entrepreneur

Mission Entrepreneur


Applying Lessons from Military Life to Create Success in Business Startups!

I am beyond thrilled to share my latest project with you!

As a military spouse, veteran, entrepreneur (and now author!), I’ve always been inspired by amazing stories of military families who’ve overcome obstacles and succeeded in starting a business.  So I decided to write these (and my own) stories down.  However, as I was writing this book, I discovered that these lessons aren’t only about business…they tell a story of resilience, perseverance, and giving that applies to everyone.

So, whether you’re looking to launch your next great startup idea, you’re already a business professional, you’re a community leader, veteran, or military spouse, or maybe you’re just looking for a little inspiration, check out “Mission Entrepreneur” and discover how you can apply lessons from military life to succeed in your next venture!

Download your free chapter, “How to Overcome Your Fears Like a Navy Seal,” and become a 4-Star member of the tribe by clicking here!

And if you’re ready for more, pick up a copy (at limited pre-order pricing) at Amazon.


This has truly been a labor of love and I am incredibly grateful for your support!

All proceeds go back to supporting the military community!  


Sound Off Tuesdays!

Join the Tribe of Milpreneurs sharing tips and lessons on their journey to:

Live . Give . Serve . Grow!

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Girls for Progress

How Much Has Changed Since You Were Young?

As a child, we relocated several times before settling down in a small Arizona town.  I’ve spent most of my life in the west coast, did a lot of outdoors activities and traveled once internationally as an infant.  We otherwise traveled only within the United States, camping, site seeing, and just enjoying time together as a family.  I admit I’m only in my mid-thirties so there is plenty of time to seek as much adventure as I can handle.  Either way I have lived well, happy, independent, and enjoyed the many changes along the way.

Remember When Social Media Was Nonexistent?

Girls For Progress

My life in the military community is where I have experienced the most change, and growth.  The most apparent changes however (and I’m certain anyone close to my age or older can agree on), is how much has changed around us!!!  Do you remember when everyone had pagers, or even better when cell phones looked like bricks???…When a navigation system was simply a map stretched open across the dash or the do…doo…dooo…and ringing of dial up Internet connections; and let’s face it, there were days when social media and selfies were nonexistent!!!!!!!

Can We Handle The Unknown?

Change brings about even more significant concerns in the way our society behaves.  From generation to generation, our beliefs, and our openness to how the world is evolving are very different.  We are never without controversial topics, fears, debates, worries, and gaps in understanding any one area or collective occurrence.  It started to make me sad and a bit unsure of what we can expect…will our futures be prosperous, how much more will change, and can we handle the unknown???  Luckily, the changes in technology have also become an exciting way to invest in new ideas, virtually witness the good that still exists in people, and has also helped find a way to still be hopeful that our future and generations that will lead us are very well prepared to handle the task.  My fears have turned into pride, and excitement as I have been blessed to truly witness the greatest glimpse of hope!  Hope from a particular person, an act, and gesture…hope from a generation of amazing YOUNG people that are barely scratching the surface of what’s to come…what we can look forward to for our own children, and the best part is…we no longer have anything to FEAR!!

Now, what am I possibly referring to???  What could I possibly know, or have witnessed that you may have missed???

Lemon “Aid”

“Aid” because she donates a portion of her money to benefit kids with cancer.

There is this amazing young lady, Aleena Valdez, who has created a change in our world that is sure to get us all back on track!  This young lady started changing her community and giving back at the age of 11 years old.  She started a small lemonade stand to raise money to donate to children with cancer!!!  She wanted it to be something bigger than just lemonade and through the request of her parents for a loan, she put a presentation together with costs of supplies, etc. and presented it to her parents to make it all happen.  She then changed the name of her charity to Aleena’s Lemon “Aid” spelled with “Aid” because she donates to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she has been
making a significant difference with her generosity, time, and pure selflessness.

And it gets better…

Fast forward a bit and you’ll discover Girls for Progress, which is an event created by this same brave, intelligent, inspiring, empowering, GIVING, and SELFLESS young lady!!  She started this event after she met her amazing mentor Amy Jo Martin.  Aleena received help with questions about her business, was able to attend Inbound 2015 in Boston, which is a big conference where she would get the chance to hear her mentor speak.  She was interviewed for a part of her mentor’s speech titled “Pretty Damn Rad” and it was about empowering girls to be and see themselves as more than just pretty but pretty damn rad, pretty damn smart.  This event opened Aleena’s eyes to the empowerment she could have on other young girls and she “loved each message and wanted to spread it and thought that girls her age could benefit from something like that.”  With that memorable experience, she created Girls For Progress; in hopes to bring an empowering conference to her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and share it with other girl’s ages 11-15 years old.  These young ladies could expect and experience a “variety of different inspiring speakers from across the nation, fun activities, and the ability to make new friends that hopefully want to make an impact on their communities also.”

This Amazing Event Has Three Main Goals:

1).  To help young girls be aware of their social surroundings.

2).  To inspire girls to make a difference.

3).  To build lifelong support for each other along the way.

This conference allows young ladies all over to gain confidence to lead, become entrepreneurs, and learn from amazing speakers who are experts in a variety of fields.  Girls For Progress wants girls to believe how powerful they are and how much of a difference they are capable of making regardless of their ages.

What a gift!!!

It brings tears to my eyes knowing that the future of my daughter is in the hands of some amazing young people!  Aleena Valdez is a force to be reckoned with and I truly encourage us all to take a look into the amazing ways she is changing her community, our children, and our world.  She gives me hope that our future is in the best hands, and the confidence that my daughter will grow up with amazing role models!!!  Young people all over are receiving a true gift from the amazing things Aleena is doing.  They all will learn how to give selflessly of themselves, to be confident in themselves, and have the belief that they have the power to make the same changes and impact that Aleena has made.  This incredible event is inspiration for anyone capable of seeing the value in the lesson she is instilling on so many hearts and minds!  This is an opportunity to learn, grow, and give back!!  We should all take the time to experience the impact this young lady has on our society and share this gift with our own children and communities.

The next Girls For Progress event will be held in Austin, Texas this June and it’s a no brainer that it will be nothing short of AMAZING!!!

For details about the next conference, to donate, or to learn more check out: and


Written by Angela Uebelacker



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Today I have hope for the future.  I am excited for the first time in a LONG time…I have chills just thinking about it.  When I close my eyes, and get ready to speak, the words that roll to the tip of my tongue bring on a surge of emotions that I haven’t felt since I was a kid.  I feel inspired, and it doesn’t have anything to do with a single politician converging on Washington DC.

The line at the top of this page implies that I am going to talk about the First Lady, but I would rather not talk about any single woman who boasts the title.  Instead, I would like to tell you about the First Lady of my imagination, the one who inspired the words that are sitting, buzzing, on the tip of my tongue.   I want to tell you how she pushed me to unlock something that I thought was long lost, that leaves me on the edge of my seat, on the brink of tears from excitement.


Although many take on a political role, especially in campaigning, the First Lady of my imagination is a person who has no political agenda of her own.  She didn’t run for office, isn’t worried about reelection, and isn’t obligated to a political party.

I imagine the First Lady, thrust into a room of staffers, pens to paper, ready to throw their life’s blood into whatever platform is launched by the words that leave her lips in that moment.  Suddenly, this person, who wasn’t on any political ticket, becomes a powerful figure, with the nation’s resources at her disposal and media poised to focus its attention on her efforts.  In that moment…the possibilities are limitless.  She can be the champion of any cause, setting the wheels in motion to affect real change in the world with a single whisper.

A former First Lady said that if you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, branch out…you don’t even try, because you are never willing to accept the risk.  I think it’s safe to say that an ordinary person is much more likely to fail than the First Lady in my mind.  Not only is she unbound by the limits of an ordinary person, she is encouraged by the wild ideas of my imagination, where no risk is too high.

I will be the first person to tell you that I will never be the First Lady, or the President for that matter.  But like many of us, I have causes that I’m fiercely passionate about.  Sometimes I daydream about ways to become a champion of those causes “someday.”  Sometimes I even tell people about vague future plans to give back, using words like “nonprofit” or “philanthropy.”  Usually, like most ordinary people, I jump into lively conversations when they come up, give to charities here and there, and leave the effort to change the world to the extra-ordinary people who are unencumbered by ordinary lives.


Another former First Lady said those words.  She was far from ordinary.  But her words should serve as a slap in the face to all of us who think the opportunity to change the world is reserved for those who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.  The First Lady in my imagination was thrust into a room, given a platform, and was liberated by the expectation that she would change the world.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

What if you set the expectation for yourself that from this moment forward, you would set yourself on a path to change the world?  What if you decided to accept failure as a possibility, no matter how high the risk?  The First Lady in my imagination is incapable of letting ordinary limitations get in her way.

Now, imagine yourself in her place, seated in a room, surrounded by eager faces, pens at the ready… 

What do you say?

Written by Angelina Stephens

Finding my “Wai” in Thailand

My husband and I just returned from a ridiculously amazing trip to Thailand as a reward for my work with Rodan + Fields this past year. On the trip, amongst all the fun we had, I learned a few important lessons from the Thai culture that will continue to influence the way I think about business and life:

1) Invest in people with small gestures of gratitude

I learned in Thailand that it’s not the big stuff that matters; it’s the little things. There, they show gratitude and respect by placing their hands together in a prayer symbol called a Wai (pronounced “why”). Whether it was hotel staff, market vendors, or elephant handlers, they would stop everything they were doing to Wai when we would interact. And always with a smile. Most Americans would be too busy, too engrossed in their cell phone entertainment, or just downright oblivious to make such a simple gesture, yet they did it consistently at every appropriate chance, and it never ceased to make me feel extremely special and appreciated! Couldn’t we all improve the way we treat those around us with a simple gesture here or there to go above and beyond? I guarantee, the recipient will remember your investment in them.


2) Happy has nothing to do with how much money you have

Our first day in Thailand was spent touring the famous canals of Bangkok. The people we saw on the river banks lived in modest shanty homes with very few possessions, they bathe and fish from a polluted and dirty river, and they live day to day barely knowing where their next meal may come from. In the US, people in this state of living would be devastated and anxious about their future.   Yet, these people were seemingly unphased. As we floated by with stunned faces at their living conditions, they were smiling, waving, and fully enjoying themselves. It was wonderful to see that the Thai people disassociate a relationship between happiness and money. They simply don’t have to affect one another. And they prove that you most certainly CAN be happy without money. Another great lesson for us Americans.


 3) Everyone can find fulfillment through giving

The final lesson I learned in Thailand is one I’ve always known in my heart, but it was beautiful to see it in action in another culture. In Thailand, children learn from a very young age, that no matter how little they possess, it is important to give some of it away to people less fortunate. As a result, our tour guide informed us that the wealthy people in Thailand feel a social responsibility to take care of the poor. This basic building block to the way people live and give in Thailand, I would argue provides a much more attuned social awareness than we have in the United States. It was admirable and something I was very eager to bring home and share with my own children. Overall, our trip to Thailand confirmed what I’ve always known: In the end, the mark we leave on this world has nothing to do with how much we have, but everything to do with what we give back.


Is Giving Good For Your Health?

We all know that pleasant feeling we receive after doing a good deed; however, a recent study sheds new light on the benefits of giving. A wealth of scientific research shows that generosity can result in a ton of health benefits including decreased stress, lower chances of depression, and even longer life expectancy.

Personally I’ve found that giving makes my work more rewarding.  Apparently I’m not alone.  A study from the University of Wisconsin shows that people who help others regularly through their professions experience increased happiness.  In line with theory, two of my fellow military spouse entrepreneurs have established flourishing businesses focused on helping others and say they have never felt better! Here are their stories.

Donna Budjenska

Donna Bud

Long time Army spouse Donna Budjenska thought a satisfying, flexible, long-term career just wasn’t in the cards for her. Despite a strong education that included a Master’s Degree in English and multiple awards received for her writing and editing work, the only consistent aspect to her career was its inconsistency. Over more than 20 years, the frequent military moves ripped her from a few career positions she’d been able to find, and more recently the publishing industry itself was shrinking and changing fundamentally.

So at the time we met, she was open to new ideas, and the Skincare business surprised her by its flexibility, portability, and intriguing mission: Changing skin, changing lives.

Why did that resonate with her? Earlier that year, Donna’s oldest sister was widowed by malignant melanoma. The year before, another sister also was widowed by the same disease. “I couldn’t help but want to do something to fight this deadly skin cancer. But I really didn’t know what I could do,” Donna explains.

“The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) had been helpful to my sisters, so I began making modest monthly donations to that organization in appreciation and support of their research, advocacy, and education efforts,” Donna says.

When she realized a Skincare business could open up conversations about skin health and sun smarts, she was sold.

“At the time I was primarily the homestead hub for my family, and I started working my new Skincare business — which I quickly loved — on a spare-time basis,” Donna says. “Soon I found I could cover the modest costs of my Skincare business and contribute my monthly MRF tithe.”

When she found out that the MRF gives scholarships to medical students researching melanoma, Donna had an epiphany: “Maybe I could fund a memorial scholarship to honor my family members and to spur exciting new ideas and discoveries in the battle against this deadly skin cancer,” she recalls. “Here was the kicker: I didn’t want to wait until my death 40+ years in the future to will the $100,000 necessary to establish the scholarship. And I didn’t want to raid our family budget, either.” That’s when the potential of her Skincare business really sank in for her.

Donna now stockpiles her Skincare business paychecks and is looking forward to the time she has accumulated enough seed money to start the scholarship. In the meantime, she also is using her earnings to pay off the loan on the Jeep she bought her husband when he returned from deployment and to continue donating monthly to the MRF.

Micaela Brancato

Micaela 2

Micaela is another military spouse turned entrepreneur. I’ve known Micaela for over 15 years.  Our friendship began as roommates at USAF Academy.  Her story, like Donna’s, is a great one and serves as motivation for numerous military spouses.

Micaela and her husband Matt currently run a cozy retreat on their property in Minnesota that serves military families called Holbrook Farms .  Holbrook Farms serves as a way for both Matt and Micaela to give back to their dear friends they’ve lost in combat.

“I remember while in college at the USAF Academy, one of our military generals told us to look around the lecture hall because due to the nature of our profession, not everyone will make it to our 20-year reunion! About three years ago, I was sitting at a memorial service for one of our fellow classmates killed in an overseas shooting and realized, unfortunately that general was right. Shortly after that, we lost another classmate in a tragic airplane accident. In that moment we decided to turn our 47-acre maple syrup farm into a non-profit spa-themed bed & breakfast for military survivors,” says Micaela.

Micaela’s vision for Holbrook Farms was years in the making.  She’d dreamed of the day when she’d be able to offer military veterans and widows a calming place to retreat from the chaos of war.  The challenge was how to come up with the time and resources needed to make it happen.  Luckily, I’d just begun working as a skincare consultant. I immediately saw the potential and shared the opportunity with her. Although Micaela didn’t initially see the potential benefits, her husband was on board right away. “I thought we were too busy with our full-time military careers — I’m a commander of cyber intelligence analysts and my husband is an Air Force pilot,” Micaela says.  “I give a ton of credit to my husband, who saw the opportunity and blessing it could be to so many!”

Matt and Micaela are now surrounded by a team of driven leaders who helped them make Holbrook Farms what it is today. Thanks to their new found financial growth and success, Matt and Micaela opened the doors to their beloved Holbrook Farms four years ahead of schedule.

“We’re thankful to be able to provide a relaxing place for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation! Our goal is to offer one or two retreats per summer and continue expanding as our business grows. When we retire from our military careers, we’ll open it year round for weddings, family reunions, and more retreats!” says Micaela.

There are many military spouses who, like Donna and Micaela, are making their dream of helping others a reality through hard work. Their businesses have not only provided them with financial independence but also with the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.

One of my favorite quotes about giving comes from the great Winston Churchill,

“We make a living by what we get,

but we make a life by what we give.”

These women are true examples of lives worth living.  I know their selfless actions will continue to inspire military spouses hoping to blaze their own path in years to come.