Military Spouses Who Work It: Terry Babcock-Lumish, Founder, Islay Consulting

Military Spouses Who Work It: Terry Babcock-Lumish, Founder, Islay Consulting

Editor’s Note: Give us your lawyers, your accountants, your massage therapists. Give use your teachers, your engineers, your real estate agents.

NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays. 

Military Spouses Who Work It: Terry Babcock-Lumish, Founder, Islay Consulting

Name: Terry Babcock-Lumish

Years as a military spouse: 13

Tell us your job title/profession:

Founder, Islay Consulting LLC

Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?


How long have you been working in this career field?

20 years in the field, 11 years running the firm

Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks) or a little bit of both?

A bit of both – akin to military life, work life requires a “semper gumby” attitude.

How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.

Fortunately for today’s military spouses, we are seeing diverse concepts of the “modern workplace,” with technology enabling increasingly portable careers.

For those whose fields don’t lend themselves to geographic flexibility, however, why not make your own magic? It may not be easy, but bright people can create opportunities to build that career while their favorite service members do likewise.

Are you looking to connect with career-minded military spouses? Join one of In Gear Career’s 20+ local chapters around the world. In Gear Career is a part of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Recognizing the challenges involved in frequent moves – and the sheer fact that there is little demand for a former White House economist most places the Army was likely to launch us – I founded Islay in 2005.

At that time, I never anticipated the opportunities I’d have to pay it forward: to this day, one of my best hires was a fellow military spouse at Fort Huachuca.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?

Living with uncertainty

Tell us one thing you love about your job:

On a daily basis, I am grateful that leaders trust me to help them make tough decisions involving education, health, poverty, climate change, etc. While none of these are issues society’s solving overnight, you know squarely why you get out of bed in the morning when you’re collaborating with great people to move the needle on some of our thorniest challenges.

Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:

After regularly letting workouts slip while prioritizing time for clients, colleagues, and students, I began scheduling a spin class or yoga as if they were meetings with myself. When we reschedule on ourselves, that’s a statement we make about the importance of our own physical and mental well-being.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?

We split almost everything. We both love cooking and so catch up on our days while prepping dinner.

We did discover early in our relationship, however, that a West Point grad has comparative advantage in tasks such as ironing and shining shoes, whereas I find ticking things off a Target to-do list remarkably satisfying.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without:

My Fitbit

Favorite app for making the most of your day?

Podcasts: NPR, Freakonomics, Radiolab, Serial, The Mash-Up Americans, Surprisingly Awesome, and then some

Must-have song on your productivity playlist?

Depends on how we define productivity. For starting the day on the right foot, you can’t miss with U2’s “Beautiful Day.” For work, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” If you saw my running playlist, you’d think it belonged to a 14-year-old girl – and I’m okay with that.

What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?

Particularly for junior professionals just starting out, invite people to coffee to learn about their paths, experiences, and insights. Flex with others’ busy schedules, be professional, and be prompt!

Do your homework, send across a resume in advance, and come prepared with thoughtful questions.

Following your visit, never underestimate a thoughtful, handwritten thank-you note.

Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our form.



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