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You Are Your Own Best Advocate

From TEDx speaker, to ambitious leader, to creative force in and outside of the office, Mel Brenner creates huge impact regularly. Recently featured in En Root, Mel gives us some insight into how she is carving her path in 2021 and beyond in our Q+A below.

This month's theme is all about developing personal and professional outlets. Tell us about how that concept has played a role in your life/work.

Find creativity in all you do! I get as much enjoyment from designing a spreadsheet or dashboard for work as I do for writing my blog or working in my garden. Inspiration is all round us if we open our eyes and look for it.

At OutGrowth, we are committed to finding new ways to build a well-lived life and a fulfilling career. What do you think we as individuals and communities can do to carve a path so that others can grow beyond traditional limits?

The best thing to do is share and listen. Share your experiences, your successes and your failures. Let others learn from your mistakes and triumphs. And learn to listen when others need it. You may be surprised by how much you learn when you open up and truly listen to others.

Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your life journey.

My pinnacle moment would be finishing my Master's Degree of Business and Technology from Stevenson University during the 2020 quarantine.

How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?

It taught me to never give up on my dream. I wasn't able to go to college right out of high school, but I never gave up on my dream of completing a degree. I learned to embrace change. When everything went virtual and commencement was cancelled, we had to learn to roll with the punches. Persevere and persist!

What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who may be looking for ways to diversify their skills and experiences?

1.You are your own best advocate - never stop fighting for yourself, your family, and your dreams.

2. Do something everyday that scares you.

3. Ask to be included - you'll never get a seat at the table if you don't speak up.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Have a little more fun. I was so worried about life, so serious, that I forgot to be a kid.

What is your favorite quote?

“The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation. ” ― Jonathan Larson (RENT)

Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe can be gained/developed as a result of building a dynamic day-to-day?

1. Communications skills - Being able to speak, write, and communicate with accuracy is important in all aspects of business.

2. Willingness to learn - Never stop growing. Read books and take classes. There is a wealth of knowledge waiting for you!

3. Adaptability - Especially in this ever-changing and evolving world, you have to leave to grow and change with it, or it will leave you behind.

What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2021?

Planning on becoming a Six Sigma Black Belt, looking into Doctoral Programs, and working on my expanding my blog.

Melissa Brenner is a Financial Analyst. She has a Master’s Degree in Business and Technology Management and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a minor in Software Design and Coding from Stevenson University. Melissa enjoys streamlining processes and helping her team to be efficient and effective in their roles. She is a TEDx speaker, and a mentor at Stevenson University to undergraduate students. Melissa is passionate about teaching and facilitating learning for her teammates. She loves reading, baking and spending time with her hubby and fur babies.


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