From INSIDE BUSINESS By Amanda MacDiarmid

Erica McMannes (Amanda MacDiarmid/Freelance)

Having Erica on the StartWheel board is another huge win for the entrepreneurial community. Congratulations, Erica! Thank you for all that you do across the community.

At work: Most COOs would answer this question uniquely pending the day or minute.

Volunteer activities: I am a 2022 rising committee member with Impact 100 Greater Peninsula, an annual membership network that raises more than $150,000 annually to award to local Peninsula nonprofits. Impact100 unites women across the globe to fund solutions to the most pressing problems facing humanity. I serve as a remote work and “founder life” mentor for the 757 Accelerate program out of Norfolk, and as a member of StartWheel’s board. I also donate time to the EngagedIN entrepreneurship program at York High School.

Home and family: I grew up in Iowa and Tennessee and have moved with my active-duty spouse 12 times in the past 19 years. We’ve been a part of the Hampton Roads community for nearly five years now in Yorktown.

Motivating factor: Untapped potential. Even as a child, my brain has always interpreted information and situations through the “what can we do better” lens.

Advice for women in business: If you haven’t been invited to “the table” you want to be at, grab a chair and invite yourself or build your table and invite others to it.

How the coronavirus pandemic has affected my work: A global epidemic during critical growth stages of a startup was definitely not a curveball I was anticipating. But we were a 100% remote company before the pandemic specializing in remote team technology, automations and remote talent as a remote team marketplace. If we were ever built for a specific time, the time is now. We’ve seen a 427% growth in revenue from October 2020 to October 2021 and have over 600 remote employees globally.

The one thing I would change about Hampton Roads: San Antonio may have a claim to the title, “Military City, USA,” but I really believe the pulse and heart of the military community in Hampton Roads beats stronger, specifically with business owners and entrepreneurship! There is an untold narrative of opportunity and success in this area. A catalytic thread of those stories from veterans and military spouses has high potential to inspire, encourage, and cultivate even more. Let’s get military-connected businesses on the map for Hampton Roads.

Professional goal in five years: To be the founder of the company that hit 10,000 remote employees in under 10 years, made a measurable impact on the military spouse unemployment rate, and be invited to the White House to talk about how we did it.

Downtime: I find Zen in thrift shopping and yard work. Neither requires me to make big decisions, explain anything to anyone, or strategize. Good quiet headspace!

What really gets under my skin: Biased thinking toward military spouses and female founders. Think of how many people would succeed faster and higher if we said, “I’d love to be a part of you bringing that to life; how can I help?” versus “We’ve never seen it done that way or by someone like you; good luck.”