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FunTimes Magazine

Melissa Young

How did you figure out what your passion is?

I always enjoyed reading and writing. As a child, my mom would take me to the library weekly—my favorite time of the week. I love to write and create stories and share the message in the most captivating way. I appreciate good books with a strong plot, and enjoy writing pieces that convey the main message in the best possible way. Of course, I'm realizing, in retrospect, that I was always interested in the message. I knew I wanted to do communication and manage messaging, so my first stop was public relations. When I realized that PR was just a spoke of a wheel, I wanted to get my hands on all aspects of communications: advertising, social media, branding, government relations...I wanted in on the whole wheel!

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey sofar?

Getting the courage and confidence to take all of the gems I've learned at this age and work for myself. I've been a part of monumental experiences, sat at tables and strategized with some of the best of the best. I've learned so much at this point that I want to branch out and work with more brands to help them be the best they can. I'm ready to use my multifaceted experience to do more.

What else would you like to accomplish?

I'm just getting started! Being successful in my own way that will positively impact me and my family. Maintaining financial responsibility and healthy spending habits, owning more assets and eliminating liabilities, creating a legacy, growing and nourishing my business and mind the business that pays me.

Has there been any Black role model or mentor who has inspired your vision or accomplishments thus far?

Yes. My mother first and foremost. She taught me strength, resilience and determination. I watched her work a full-time job, go to college and raise my sister and me with the best education, healthy living habits and always immersed us in cultural activities. Her spirit glows with gratitude and positivity, and she's my sounding board in life.

My first boss, the late William R. Miller III, owner of Ross Associates, a strategic communications firm. I feel like working with him gave me a decade of experience in a few short years. But beyond the practical work, he taught me a few gems that I carry in my heart to this day. The first is to enunciate and be clear in your message. I used to go to his office, excited with an idea that I had and talk way too fast. He would tell me to stop, go back to my desk and figure out what my message is and come back and enunciate. At first, I would be so annoyed! But, it taught me that my thoughts deserve the best messaging if I wanted the audience to be as excited as I was

Do you have any cultural activities or experiences that youfeel have enriched your life’s journey thus far?

I don't know about cultural, but I sustained a concussion a year ago and it changed my life and way of thinking significantly. In April 2018, I was driving to work and was rear ended by a car so hard that my head hit the steering wheel, thus resulting in a concussion that healed earlier this year. I focused on things that produced positive thoughts only and it changed my life outlook. I started to live by only letting positive thoughts exist and before a negative becomes a thought, I turn it into a positive or remove it. Plain and simple.

What advice would you give to other young people beginning their careers?

To be humble and confident, be clear in your message and manage expectations. Work hard and say yes to opportunities that will positively impact you and your career... even if you have to wake up two hours earlier or skip happy hours to stay an hour or two later in the office. Once you've helped yourself, help others.

What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?

It carries an historical implication to be resilient and responsible. My ancestry sets the foundation to do great things and the opportunity to live free and happy while creating my own version of success. And more immediate, all of my grand and great-grandmothers are and were pretty sassy, so that's where the sassy brown girl comes from in me.