The Women Behind MelroseINC
Celebrate all the incredible women
Every year on March 8th International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world. This day is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women everywhere, while also calling attention to the challenges they still face. MelroseINC supports and is intentional about diversity and inclusion and strives for a culture of belonging. We are a women (and minority) owned business in the tech industry.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we have interviewed some of the women in leadership at MelroseINC about work, life & identity. Their responses are inspiring and empowering, showing their individuality and creativity in constantly remolding to stay relevant. You may recognize them from the store or working with them, now you’ll discover a different side of them and how they became the incredible women we are so proud to work with.
Check out these stories below.Check out these stories below.#6D6D6D
Sandy S. Nasseri,
CEO & Founder, MelroseMAC
I have attended many conferences throughout my career in the industry and other business related events. One of the most influential events I was lucky to attend was hosted by American Express highlighting Ms. Charlotte De Beers. Ms. Charlotte De Beers was amongst the few first females to lead a large advertising agency in the age of Mad Men. The story she told will always keep me honest when it comes to working with women. It goes: When she got her first important job at a fairly large advertising agency, she heard mocking of her “manly Texan voice” in the hallways and some men abruptly laughing. When she finally had the guts to peek over, she noticed the person instigating this was her direct supervisor who happened to be a female. After weeks of contemplating what to do, she finally decided to confront her and plead for her to support her and be a team player. Her supervisor apologized and became her mentor and advocate in the work place. This story taught me that as a business leader I have a responsibility to act as a servant leader and promote an environment where my staff and my colleagues can be pushed to be the best at what they want to be. I welcome women who would like to start/grow their careers in the M&E market and hope to celebrate many more firsts of the next generations’ accomplishments, provide platforms for rising talents and encourage those with decision powers to have the aptitude to create mentorship opportunities and pass down the knowledge to the upcoming creatives!
Business Development Director
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
I was 32 years old and married, owned an English Tutor home, drove a foreign car, and had achieved and exceeded all the professional sales goals that I had set for myself in the Media and Entertainment Industry. Then, one day on a business trip I sat in a coffee shop and found the woman sitting across from me to be inspiring. I don’t even remember her name, but she changed my life. We were exchanging stories about our mutual sales careers, and I remember sharing that I had finally accomplished the goal of closing a single sale over $1M. Then I said, the following year I closed a single sale over $2M. After I paused, I said, “But, I have not set another goal for myself yet, as more and more deals just do not seem to be as fulfilling as I thought they would be.” She then turned to me and asked, “What goals as a woman have you set for yourself?” I looked at her confused…. She said, “What directions do you want to go in as a woman, and what do you want to accomplish in your personal life?” And at that moment I realized that I had never stopped to think like that. I was too busy climbing the ladder to prove myself. Who I was as a woman had always been viewed in my eyes as what company I worked for, what deals that I had closed, and what top industry clients did I have.
As we sat there it really hit me. What was new, uncertain, and scary was to create PERSONAL goals for my life as a woman. Those were feelings that I had shoved deep down and locked them away. I was building my career in a completely white male-dominated industry. There was no time to think like that… But the time had come, and I was ready….I could do this. And at the age of 33 and a half, I had a baby girl who changed my life forever. She brings me an abundance of love, beauty, and laughter. I feel so complete. Many times I tried to be a superwoman and have it all, but I found myself exhausted. The days, months, and years have taught me that your life will ebb and flow. Sometimes being a mom, mentor, and a best friend comes first. But, sometimes being a professional sales executive, business development and marketing executive comes first. The best advice I received was to work to be a completely well-rounded and fulfilled woman. With my daughter in Grad School now, I still find myself in awe of my life. Now, I am the one sharing wisdom with my daughter and her college friends. I will always be grateful to the stranger in the coffee shop who took the time to open my mind and enlarge my life.
Erica Villafane, VP of Engineering Operations
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
Over the past 20 years I’ve faced many barriers working in male dominated industries such as starting my own Filmstock company, post rental facilities and post-production houses. In all instances I had to provide more information supporting my recommendations than my counterparts and consistently had to prove myself by getting the job done better than anyone else. To this day I pride myself on understanding more than what is being asked of me and overdelivering on what is expected.
Head of HR
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
I am dedicated to lifting women up in all parts of society, and I’m grateful that in my role, as the Head of HR, Diversity & Inclusion for MelroseMAC, Inc., a certified Woman-Owned Business, I am afforded the privilege of being in a position to turn that dedication into action. We make it a point, at Melrose, to interview and hire women into every type of role in our company, and to lift those women up to succeed in those roles and to take on new challenges in those roles. In my life, both personally and professionally, one of my goals is to see that women are referred to as women once they reach the age of 18 and not referred to as girls. I believe that women are thought of subserviently – whether intentionally or not – when referred to as girls. In the movie “9 to 5” Lily Tomlin’s character says to her blatantly misogynistic boss, “I’m no girl; I’m a woman.” That movie debuted in 1980; and today, 43 years later, women are still fighting to be seen as women, not as girls. I realize this may seem ‘small’ in the scheme of things, but each shift in the narrative and each change in the way we communicate is a step toward greater equality for women. I will always take those steps, and I hope those steps lead to leaps.
VP of Accounting & Finance
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Life is an echo.
What you send out – comes back.
What you sow – you reap.
What you give – you get.
What you see in others – exists in you.
Do not judge – so you will not be judged.
Radiate and give love – love will come back to you.
Over the years, variations of this inspirational quote have guided me from youth to adulthood. I was raised in the culture where the male is favored in society. Rather than accepting the norm or listening to my own self-doubts, I realized what’s important and what isn’t. I learned to care less about what other people think of me and more about what I think of myself. Thanks to the trailblazing work of others who have come before me, I know it is the beliefs I tell myself that empower me. With this important advice, I want to be a role model for everyone around me, especially the future generation.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve been given?
Always invite yourself to the table and be the best at what you do. Waiting for someone to acknowledge your ambition and potential can prevent you from reaching your goals. Do not shy away from putting yourself in situations that may challenge you or put you in contact with someone who can help you achieve your goals. When given the opportunity, take advantage of it on your own because if you underestimate yourself so will others.
These women have not only made incredible strides in their respective fields but have also helped to create a more equitable company culture that recognizes and rewards the contributions of all employees – regardless of gender. They also find the right balance in working and living. We hope that through reading their words you will get to know some of the inspirational women that make up the backbone of MelroseINC.
International Women’s Day is an important day that celebrates the progress made towards achieving gender equality worldwide. It is also a reminder of how far we still have to go before true equality can be achieved. By making small changes in our own lives and supporting organizations dedicated to empowering women everywhere we can make a difference – no matter where we live in the world! Happy International Women’s Day!