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 serves as a Founding Board Member of AMSE Alliance and 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. 

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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

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Daniela Barrios

Student Success Program Lead

Daniela’s background isn’t typical. She moved from Venezuela to the United States to pursue a career in Industrial Design to later fall in love with Psychology, which completely changed her path. During her undergraduate degree, she discovered Positive Psychology, which is the study of the factors that help communities and individuals thrive. After studying the impact that it could make in people’s lives, she decided to create a virtual platform to share these concepts. Today, she has an online community with over 6000 readers in which she continually writes about positive psychology, resilience, coaching, and life skills. She holds a degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Psychology and a Personal Development Coaching certification. She is an active part of the Southern New Hampshire University Alumni community, where she is a member of the Social Sciences Advisory Board and supports diversity and inclusion initiatives for their Global Campus. Her experience with virtual community management and positive psychology has led her to find a unique niche within the remote workspace. She offers her services and resources to help those who feel lost or stuck in a personal or professional area of their lives and helps them take powerful steps to overcome their limitations and reach their fullest potential. In her free time, she loves to read, rock climb, and travel.

Daniela is a Navy Spouse

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Eryn Stoner

Workforce Development Program Lead

Having heard the stories of so many fellow military-connected professionals losing hope and feeling lost in the world of job-searching, Eryn Stoner has dedicated 10+ years to helping military spouses and Veterans navigate the world of applications, resumes, and interviews. It all began as a side passion project but professionally kicked-off when she joined Instant Teams as a Talent Specialist in March of 2019. Since then, she has helped place military-connected professionals into sustainable careers through remote work, spoken as an employer panelist at events hosted by organizations like IVMF, HHUSA, and Blue Star Families, and helped to foster and grow partnerships with Diversity and Inclusion at the forefront. Now, she is beyond excited and ready to grow yet again with Instant Teams and support the full-circle workforce development of military-connected families at Instant Teams Academy. Outside of working for Instant Teams, she’s a full-time toddler-wrangler of her two beautiful and strong-willed children and a proud Potterhead.

Eryn is a Active Duty Army Spouse

Have Questions? Let’s Connect!

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