After several years in a marketing role with Johnson & Johnson’s sales and marketing department, I accepted an opportunity to work at their outsourced PR firm. I soon realized that public relations was where I belonged. The ability to talk to anyone about products or services came naturally to me, and I had passion for the work. PR gave me the opportunity to not only share ideas and products I believe in, but also to see how my work was helping businesses grow.

When I started The MTL Communications Group, I was able to apply the same strategies I put into place for large companies to smaller companies and startup brands. Just as I was able to stimulate brand growth for Fortune 500 companies, I now help make the dreams of entrepreneurs come true by building brand awareness for their new businesses.

The ever-changing atmosphere of the PR industry demands ongoing research and tailored programs for each client—and for each media outlet. We have to represent our clients, and be true service providers for the media. Just having passion about a product, and the voice to share it, isn’t enough anymore. We can’t just send out a general release about a client. We need to make sure that each outlet is given the specific information it requires. It’s the only way to succeed. Otherwise, the release will just end up in someone’s trash folder.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
It takes consistency. Not taking no for an answer is another big part of succeeding. If someone doesn’t like a pitch, then it’s my job to be creative and think of an angle that would work best for the media, while staying true to the client’s message.

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My parents are my most important role models. My father had dreams, and nothing stopped him. Some worked out and others did not, but he kept going no matter what. My mom was his support all the way. They gave their children an amazing life, and the only thing they asked in return was that we do the same for our kids.

On Facing Challenges
In the beginning, I struggled to not take everything personally. If an editor doesn’t like your angle or just says no thanks and hangs up, your attitude has to stay positive. There is a lot of rejection, but that makes it even sweeter when the story does hit.

Melisa’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
For someone just entering this industry, I highly recommend working in a smaller firm to start. This way you can live and breathe every aspect of the industry. It will give you a true understanding of what your career will be like, and make you better prepared. From getting the client to getting the placements, you will see the whole process.