As March is Women’s History Month, we’re honored to highlight the careers of three of our company’s leaders. Their experiences and insights inspire us and demonstrate the many choices women make to determine and shape their careers.
Melita Balestieri is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations for Nelson Connects and Higher Growth Search. Melita originally was recruited to consult with the Nelson Connects Marketing Department and was quickly asked to join the company full-time. Auspiciously, her first full day on the job was March 16, 2020, the same day California went into pandemic lockdown. With no time to ramp up, she hit the ground running and has never looked back.
Earlier in her career, Melita worked for several staffing organizations and in other service sectors. Anyone who works with Mel knows she’s a big-picture, innovative strategist who impacts company results through multi-channel marketing and business operations.
Who is a woman role model for your professional life and why?
One of the women role models whom I have always admired is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She really paved the way for gender equality and women’s rights. She showed perseverance throughout her education and paved her own path to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was open-minded and pushed her counterparts to be better at their jobs and think differently.
Since you began your career, what changes have occurred for women that excite you?
I’m excited that women are enabling themselves to persevere and go after what they want. It’s fantastic that today we have growing numbers of women in engineering, medicine, technology, construction, science, etc. As I have told my daughter: Follow your passion, and it will bleed into your professional and personal life.
What is one piece of advice you’ve received in your career that you’ve implemented and found useful?
I’ll never forget: One of my jobs was assistant room service manager for a hotel chain. When I got promoted, one of my employees said, “Never change and always be you.” Those words have stuck with me ever since as a reminder to be true to myself and to treat others as I want to be treated.
What is a piece of advice you’d extend to another woman progressing through her career?
Always be humble and take advantage of mentorships or sponsorships. Someone who sponsors you in an organization can really be your advocate, help coach you, and be your cheerleader to help you advance in your career.
How did you find your first career job?
Straight out of college, I was in cattle call for a new hotel opening in the Bay Area. It felt a little like auditioning for American Idol. There were thousands of people there, and once I got in, I went through speed interviewing cycle that landed me on the opening team as a front desk clerk for the hotel.
From there I advanced in the organization and eventually moved to Colorado, continuing to work in hospitality. While in Denver I decided to pursue an MBA and transitioned to the ski industry. I eventually wanted to return to the Bay Area and took a calculated risk to do so without a job in place. I knew I wanted to get into marketing and found a role in event management. I later took a marketing project manager position and have worked my up from there.
How has the move to remote work affected your work life? Anything you find challenging?
For me, there was no learning curve as I have supported Agile Marketing teams remotely for over 10 years. Where the challenge came into play was that the rest of the organization was not as comfortable being remote, so producing sales programs for our teams in a virtual environment was initially challenging. However, innovating in unfamiliar territory is where I thrive, and it was so much fun putting together a plan that has helped our teams be successful in remote environments.
What are three things you like to do outside of work?
I am big into the outdoors and love to cycle, ski, and hike. When I am not doing outdoor activities, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially having movie nights and eating sushi.
What is something you’d love to do if you had more time?
Travel! I love to go to new destinations to just explore and get to know the people, culture, food, and traditions and embrace them.
For help finding a great job or a great candidate contact the professionals at Higher Growth Search today.