Submitted by Melissa Walker

1. When you were starting out did you have a mentor, and if so was it, someone, you sought out or they found you?

I had both a formal mentor (assigned) and individuals who were informally my mentors. I feel the latter worked out best. My formal mentor and I didn’t have natural chemistry.

2. How did you get into the roofing industry? Were you in something different prior?

I worked for a custom window covering manufacturer in marketing. The Director of Product Development took a role at JM as the Director of Marketing. He had a Product Management role open. At the time, the other PMs were engineers and they wanted to complement the team with somebody with a marketing background. So he asked me if I wanted to give commercial roofing a shot and it was a great decision.

3. What would be one of the biggest challenges you have overcome?

I think many people, not just women have had a similar challenge. Acceptance. There are LONG standing relationships in this industry. When you are the newbie… you have to seek out and find those inclusionary personality types that can bring you into the fold.

4. If you were to give your younger self a quote to hold tight, what would it be?

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” I found that one today, but I do believe it speaks to how I operate. I like a challenge and enjoy taking on things that others struggle to see the vision in. BUT the real quote I lived by since I was young… and I am not sure why are where this philosophy came to me…was remember “We all put our pants on, on leg at a time.” I think people get so enamored with success, wealth or senior people, they never can see them self in that role. Why not… they were a high school kid picked on once, perhaps a struggling college student, perhaps somebody who didn’t come from wealth but earned it. If you put them on the pedestal to high… you might never see yourself there.

5. Are you open to taking on a mentee?

Of course.

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