Our Story

Instant Team’  founders, Liza Rodewald (CEO) and Erica McMannes (COO), first met as newly uprooted military families in a community right outside of Richmond, VA in 2014. Their time only overlapped by a few months but they shared a common bond in the entrepreneurial space and a heart for the community around them. Liza, as a private and federal sector software engineer, and Erica, as a Silicon Valley startup consultant, had both seen a deep need in their industries for better solutions for quick remote team development, companies needing immediate access to the best remote talent, and their peers in the community needing a direct connection to flexible remote work opportunities.

In 2016, Erica and Liza launched Instant Teams, proudly serving mid-market and enterprise-level customers with functional remote team solutions through proprietary remote team software (Arti). Their remote workforce is fueled by 10,000+ military spouses located around the world specializing in customer service, customer success, marketing, and administrative teams. They’ve been able to create high-quality remote teams for companies across the nation, disrupting the norm of traditional hiring and outsourcing while providing sustainable remote work opportunities to talented professionals seeking a flexible work lifestyle. 

With the launch of the Instant Teams Academy in 2020, Liza and Erica are leveling up Instant Teams’ community impact by offering an end-to-end workforce development solution for military spouses. High-impact training opportunities fused with skill training, workforce development, and remote employment in one end-to-end, seamless solution is unlike anything else currently available for the military-connected community.

Liza Rodewald
CEO + Founder

Erica McMannes
COO + Founder

Meet our Academy Team


Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

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Kara Smith

Director of Workforce Growth Initiatives

Kara Smith has led several fully-distributed teams in both Manager and Director-level positions. With a passion for entrepreneurship + the future of work, she has owned her own business and worked for several startups and Inc. 5000 businesses. In 2018, Kara discovered her niché with Instant Teams where she grew the customer base by 165% before being afforded the opportunity and trust to launch and grow Instant Teams Academy.

Kara has spoken as a subject matter expert in the areas of remote work and military spouse employment through organizations including the USO, Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Symposium, and the Military Influencer Conference. An advocate for the future of work, she specializes in military spouse employment and the consumer journey.  

As an alumni of Liberty and Cornell Universities, Kara holds a Master of Business Administration, a Master’s in Human Services, and a specialized certificate in Leading Remote Teams. Kara’s passions stem from the strong belief that women can thrive wearing the many hats required of them while also experiencing personal growth and prosperity with flexible work options. 

Kara is also an Active Duty Army Spouse. 

Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

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Lisa Brown

Enrollment Lead

Lisa has held many positions throughout her twenty-year journey as a Military spouse. Her experience ranges from project coordination for a hospital, to management positions for several large financial institutions, to serving in the Air Force Reserves for eight years. Lisa wanted to support her husband and their five kids but still pursued a career of her own, so she started with Instant Teams as an RTM (Remote Team Member) in 2019.  Lisa holds a BA in Psychology with a certificate minor in I/O Psychology.  She is a personal trainer and a level one CrossFit Coach; helping people reach their potential is her passion.  Because of this, after completing the Recruiter course, and a Business Development Representative Internship, she is now focusing her skills on helping fellow military spouses on their path to a career they love and do not have to leave.

Lisa is an Active Duty Army Spouse

Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

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Abbey Ehn

Candidate Success Manager

In her 12 years as a current Active Duty Spouse, Abbey Ehn has changed career paths many times. From education to non-profits, to parenthood and the corporate world; Abbey has had to start and re-start her own employment journey while juggling her husband’s military career and her three children. She is familiar with the struggles that many military spouses and families face. For the past two years, Abbey has dedicated her time to creating opportunities for career freedom for military spouses. Abbey is dedicated to making an impact on the world and in the lives of other military-connected individuals through her work as a Candidate Success Manager.

Abbey is an Active Duty Air Force Spouse

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