Melissa LabramVisible Start Graduate

Melissa did something very few have the guts to do: she redesigned her life. She was determined to make sure her job fit with her new family.

Melissa Labram is charming, smart, talented, and funny. She’s a born communicator – it’s no surprise that her background is in PR, marketing and copywriting. These days, she’s also a successful — “accidental” — entrepreneur after serendipitously snatching the opportunity to build a solid, sustainable business from scratch. The clients “just keep coming”, no doubt drawn in by her magnetic blend of creativity and professionalism.

Bolting from office life was quite the act of bravery way back in the pre-WFH era. But for Melissa, it worked. Allergic to self-promotion, she grew her company the old-fashioned way: via hard work and strong relationships. Especially with women. Now, for more than 9 years, her small crew has happily worked remotely. “Women just get on with it.”

There’s a great deal more to Melissa than she gives herself credit for. She’s a shining example of ‘Mum 2.0’: a 21st Century update to motherhood rarely achieved without a troupe of nannies. And Melissa is not only pulling it off, she’s royally crushing it.

As for so many of us, her life radically changed when her daughter was born. Of course there was the usual bliss, joy, dearth of sleep. But Melissa did something very few have the guts to do: she redesigned her life. She was determined to make sure her job fit into her new family’s life. She wasn’t going to force-fit her family into the stranglehold of the workplace.

When you chat with Melissa, things like “fit in” and “busy” crop up a lot (understandable for an entrepreneur and devoted mum), but she’ll also slip in the odd “at this point” – it’s clear she may once again redesign her life when her daughter goes off to uni (or whatever next steps her “baby” chooses). Visible Start has triggered new thinking in Melissa: an openness in doing other things. Just as long as it makes her happy.  “People have different paths – you don’t have to do it all when you’re younger.”

For someone who claims not to be very good at change, she’s been savvy enough to redesign her life (more than once) and brave enough to sign up for Visible Start. The course has triggered a myriad of emotions, from a happy buzzing after the Speed Networking course — “This is what I miss from the office – the people part!” — to a nervous fizzling at the Brand Me workshop — “Diving right into that freaked me out.”

Hearing the stories of how shabbily the many impressive, clever, capable Visible Start women have been treated in the workplace, words like “unsettled”, “disruptive” and “eye opener” are mentioned more than once, and while Melissa has her reservations about returning to a male-dominated work environment, she can’t help but be intrigued by the WPP opportunities on offer.

As long as she can avoid Excel, she may just give it a shot.

For someone who claims not to be very good at change, Melissa seems to be pretty good at it. The fact that she insisted upon redesigning her life for her daughter is something that should be applauded. Having done this myself some 30 years ago, I know just how challenging it can be. But just how very worth it.

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Paularene LesterMaureen Anderson