Kayla Corbitt is a mother and advocate who entered military life about a decade ago. Due to frequent relocations and the heavy reliance on spouses to make ends meet for the mission, she turned to the advocacy she knew best. She has assisted families and spouses in obtaining child care for years. Each relocation had her starting over from scratch, that is where Operation Child Care came from.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
My childhood was rough, and mental illness and trauma were heavy in my family. The majority of the time, I was analyzing adult interactions to determine the safest way to move forward. It wasn’t all hard, I had an interest in anything and everything growing up. I frequently jumped from one activity to the next, trying to master it and then moving on. In High School, this drove me to start college classes early, try new sports like Volleyball and Tennis, making Varsity quickly with each. I had to create my own major in undergraduate, inspired by those who came before me and created their own path. I relocated again for graduate school, obtaining my Masters in Forensic Psychology with hopes of running a non-profit. I started working in contracts after graduate school to make ends meet and begin my student loan repayment. I quickly excelled in contracts, but it wasn’t my passion. I decided to go back to school for my doctorate when my then-spouse received military orders overseas. That was the end of making decisions for myself.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to prioritize myself. I gave my birth family a choice, to end the trauma cycle or move on without me. They opted to move on without me, and I grieved my birth family for the next few years while beginning a new family. I created something I would have loved and healed myself in the process. Kindness is paramount in the Corbitt household. We give grace to those who have not yet healed themselves while protecting our peace at the same time. This allowed me to let go of the anger and grief I had carried for so long and instead focus on creating the world I wanted to live in.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
I have been working in military child care advocacy for a decade. Each relocation meant I had to start over. I had played with the idea of starting my own business, but I always quickly dismissed it because of the financial risk. I couldn’t afford to stop working and focus all my time, energy, and money on something that may not work. Military spouses are not only unemployed, but they are chronically underemployed. After taking my fifth entry-level job despite my two degrees and 13 years of experience, I realized I wasn’t making money that was helpful to my family anyway. I created what I needed all of these years in the military community.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
I think the biggest challenge I had was my own self-doubt. I am still far from making it but the idea of learning every aspect of business management was overwhelming. I remember deciding to quit after I made my first financial projections. If it went badly it would go very badly, if it went well it would go very well. I couldn’t stomach the thought of responsibility that either brought on. Eventually I realized that no matter what happened at least it would be something I created and I had control over.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
On a personal level the pandemic was devastating. I was pregnant with my second, locked up for over a year trying to keep everyone alive. The callousness of the population, who cared more about their perceived removal of freedom than life, made it difficult to reintegrate. On a professional level, I realized that most work can be accomplished remotely. Military spouses often leave their position with each relocation, but it bolstered a whole new idea for corporations and gave spouses hope.