Born in NYC, Melissa has been in the Atlanta for 18 years, following a stint in New England. Her first career was as a Producer of branding films for big companies. She is a cyclist, aspiring vegan, dog-lover, Buckhead Church member and Mom of recent high school grad Natasha. Melissa is passionate about developing young people.
EchelonCommunicate, LLC, is the leader’s communication company. Headquartered in Atlanta, Echelon offers training, facilitation and coaching services to global companies, non-profits and start-ups, including GE, Coca-Cola, CARE and Roam. As creators of Speak Like You Mean ItTM, Echelon provides executives and entrepreneurs with the practical tools they need to communicate with power and presence, supercharge collaborative teams, and align and inspire everyone to do their part in delivering business results.
Home Roam: Roam Dunwoody
1. Was there a specific person that encouraged you to start Echelon?
A client/partner at a Fortune 100 company observed me giving feedback to speakers at a workshop. She gave me such a gift when she pulled me aside and said, “You’re really good at this!” She then invited me to create what would become Voice of The Executive Leader, a workshop for CEOs and senior executives that I’ve lead globally, including in China.
2. In your personal opinion, what is the key to successful leadership development?
Be curious, be tenacious, be insistent on never standing still. Always believe that others want to give you a leg up and ask for help when you need it.
3. You hold regular Pitch & Present Lunch Lessons here at Roam. Could you tell us a little bit more about what that is and why you’re passionate about it?
Pitch & Present is like “Shark Tank for speakers.” Three speakers take the stage to share a five minute talk. Two professional coaches plus participants use Echelon’s Speak Like You Mean ItTM framework to give feedback. There’s a lot of laughing and comradery at the tables. It feels like “Dancing With the Stars” when the tables report out their “resonance rating.” Everybody learns something they can use when they leave to communicate more effectively. And it’s a great networking event! I see lots of cards being exchanged.
4. In what ways has Roam been beneficial in your growth, whether personally or professionally?
I was fortunate to meet Blake Shubert when I first arrived and volunteered to lead a Mastermind Group for Roam. Several other programs followed and I was given the gift of serving. In that Original Mastermind Group (OMG), Blake shared his passion for building an “invested community.” Eric Johnson shared his drive to create cultures of “flourishing.” Roam is MY invested community and Echelon is flourishing at Roam. The staff at Roam feel like a truckload of smart, gracious, mission-driven people who all have my back and want to grow Echelon. I really can’t say enough about the quality of the member experience and benefit to my business of being part of Roam.
5. If you could plan your perfect day off, what would you do?
Get on the bike early – be up in Cartersville with the sun coming up. Log 35 miles on country roads, followed by a post-ride lunch with my daughter at Bell Street Burritos in Midtown. I’d make my signature salad for friends at my home, and be parked on the front steps to take in the sunset. To really blow it out I’d get to a movie at Tara Theatre. Heaven!