Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Sits on a company board
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Has written a song
Has studied abroad
Biography and Background:
Melissa is CEO/Co-Owner of Think, an IT consultant and network integrator. Her 20+ year career includes work across diverse industries including marketing, real estate, and now IT management. In the 2008 declining market Melissa left her successful commercial real estate career behind. Beginning again, in a new field, and working her way up from receptionist to CEO is a dream fulfilled. At Think, which was founded by her father and brother, she feels extremely blessed. She attributes her success to a combination of hard work, perseverance and perfect timing. Melissa is also co-founder of the Professional Women's Network of Durango. She was moved to make a change in her community while attending a conference and hearing the stories of what some amazing entrepreneurs were doing globally. Melissa took action and decided that starting small in her local community was her calling. Four years later, the organization has 350 members and has produced over 48 events with one mission in mind; empowering women to rise and achieve more together. Continuing to build upon her professional skills, Melissa credits past mentors as well as family, in providing her with solid values, strong business acumen and an incurable desire for expressing herself.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Advancing my company's channel business comes from being involved in the community, on boards and on committees. Last year our company's revenue grew 25% and personally, I brought in 75% of the company's new business. These revenue streams are both project based and reoccurring monthly revenue. Also, through forming alliances with other Managed Service Providers and selling complementary managed service products and services to clients, Think is creating multiple streams of income that can increase sales and profit margins. Also, by selling services that can be managed remotely and are automated, Think has broadened our target market giving us the credibility to approach much larger businesses and governments. Today, Think is well positioned to become the most recognized brand of MSP's in our business community.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
This year Think's goals are to grow by 25% through the following initiatives: Create new reoccurring revenue streams by diversifying our offerings, specifically our Hosted VoIP solution. Once we are the chosen phone provider, we have a greater chance of offering other MSP solutions to the client. We also restructured and are now 51% women owned. This will allow us to continue to be awarded more state contracts and now move into WOSB federal contract opportunities as well.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Last year I was honored to be named to the CRN Women of the Channel list based on my professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise and ongoing dedication to the IT channel. Additionally, I was added as a Board Member to the Community Foundation last year, a prestigious board that invited me because of my involvement in the community. I was also added to the Steering Committee for the CEO Network, part of the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance. In 2016, Think was awarded with 2016 Colorado Companies to Watch. My work as CEO created momentum for the nomination and win.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I was a volunteer for the Obama campaign and because of my work, I was invited to meet Michelle Obama. She exemplifies excellence in all that she does and is truly authentic, and unafraid to speak out about what is important to her. She is everything; poised and graceful, never taking herself too seriously. While waiting hours for my moment, I practiced thanking her for working tirelessly in the interest of females around the world and acknowledging how I see her using her platform to effect real change. But, when it was finally my turn, she thanked me.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell myself that you're never going to get anything that you don't at least ask for. Ask for help, no one can do it all on her own. Be brave enough to ask for what you want and take chances, no matter the degree of rejection. Ask the teacher, ask the business owner, ask the cute boy, ask the President of the United States. If you need it or want it, ask.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would master coding because it is becoming the most in-demand skill across industries. I believe coding drives innovation and I'd be able to solve my own problems and craft solutions to meet my own standards and needs. Also, I'd be able to craft solutions for other people opening up a whole world of possibilities.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I reread The Alchemist last year. The theme is about finding one's destiny and when you really want something to happen, the universe conspires to make it so. I have some big goals set for myself and when I feel like they are overwhelming or unattainable, this book reminds me that they are not. It reminds me to read the omens strewn along the path and listen to what is around me.
Unedited Content Provided By Participants