Nancy Mellard Executive VP General Counsel

Executive VP & General Counsel

Nancy Mellard is the Executive VP and General Counsel for Benefits and Insurance Services Division of CBIZ, Inc. She is also the national leader of CBIZ Women’s Advantage. Nancy knew from a young age that she wanted to be an independent, professional, career-focused woman and the path to her present position developed from there.

Photograph of Nancy Mellard, Executive VP and General Counsel CBIZ Inc
Nancy Mellard, Executive VP and General Counsel, CBIZ, Inc.

Nancy also defined her personal priorities early in her career. Her desire to integrate her professional goals with her personal goals helped her craft a fulfilling career.

She finds excitement in the daily challenges that are the insurance industry and enjoys being capable of continuously learning.

One of the most exciting days in her three-decades and counting career thus far occurred this past February. She and her fellow Executive Board members of CBIZ Women’s Advantage rang the closing bell on the NYSE. Check out this photo and corresponding post!

photograph of CBIZ Women's Advantage ringin NYSE closing bell
Nancy Mellard and the Executive Board of CBIZ Women’s Advantage ring the closing bell on the NYSE.


Nancy’s advice for young women is to be open to change, to move in the direction it takes you instead of resisting it.

She also says there are three main personality traits that suit Executive VPs, General Counsels, and professional women. In no particular order, Nancy lists cultivating a strong executive presence, leadership skills and competency as top traits to possess.


Nancy places her efforts on focus on education. She is an advocate of continued professional education, as well as early educational opportunities within her community. Nancy and her husband also make it a priority to support those in need through various Catholic charities.

Subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen!

Support the show by becoming a patron at

Leave a review on your podcatcher, or send me any feedback to

Lynn Ballou CFP

Certified Financial Planner

Lynn Ballou is a Certified Financial Planner and entrepreneur with EP Wealth Advisors, LLC. Lynn says she loves being able to guide clients through the financial complexities of life transitions. She feels she has a magic wand to make people’s lives better.

Photograph of Lynn Ballou, CFP
Lynn Ballou, CFP

Lynn began her career as an enrolled agent preparing taxes. The brand new field of CFP® was beginning to emerge and she took the certification course and follow-on study groups building her knowledge. The first female firm launched January 1, 1998, and on January 19, 2016, they joined forces with EP Wealth Advisors. When Lynn began she says the female professionals only amounted to about 5% of financial planners, now that number has grown to 23%. Plenty of room for more women she says!


Starting out, building a business, Lynn knew she had to save in order to grow to a point where her business would sustain her. She has reached that point. She says those who want to be an entrepreneur need to be able to hear ‘no’, to be truthful to themselves and be capable of pivoting.

Find your passion! Become your best authentic self!

Her advice for young women interested in becoming certified financial planners would be to shadow or intern with a financial professional. She says you cannot be what you cannot see. Even more than shadowing a CFP®, Lynn says to find a professional who lives in that profession, who really understands the nitty-gritty so they can give you the most comprehensive view of the career.


Lynn advocates for financial literacy for everyone – man, woman, child. She says we should be requiring financial literacy courses in order to graduate high school. Not simply how to buy and sell stocks; more practical money applications. How to budget, how to save, how to spend and invest and grow your wealth.

We can all get started on our financial journeys with some education ourselves. Lynn recommends perusing the CFP® board website at On this site one can find a local CFP®, or a mentor in the financial planning realm, and even learn a plethora of topics ranging from budgeting to growing your nest egg thru to retirement.

You can also get a hold of Lynn and she’ll guide you! Email her at


Lynn has made it a focus of EP Wealth Advisors to invest in their client’s charities. She also manages EP Wealth and Women Initiative wherein they support the careers of fellow femme financial pros.

Lynn also supports the YWCA Berkley Oakland Chapter and Girls Inc of Alameda in Oakland.

Subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen!

Support the show by becoming a patron at

Leave a review on your podcatcher, or send me any feedback to

LJ Coleman Executive Director Secondary Curriculum Instruction

Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction

LJ Coleman is the Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction for Rio Rancho Public Schools. She says many educators feel called to the profession and thrive on seeing the spark of comprehension.

LJ says that teaching can be challenging due to a lack of resources, a need to encompass all learning styles and overcome issues students bring with them from outside the classroom.

She says young women and adults alike should identify what they really are passionate about doing, what they feel a sense of fulfillment in, and craft work around that.


LJ regularly donates resources to various Women’s Advocacy Groups as she sees the value in supporting fellow women.

Subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen!

Support the show by becoming a patron at

Leave a review on your podcatcher, or send me any feedback to

Elizabeth Jacome Executive Director Elementary Curriculum Instruction

Executive Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction

Elizabeth Jacome is the Executive Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for Rio Rancho Public Schools. She says a normal workday consists of teaching, planning, being flexible to the needs of her students and teachers, and always being available for them.

She says that people who are passionate about teaching, passionate about learning, and capable of imparting their knowledge thrive in the education environment. Elizabeth does say that she feels no educator is appropriately financially compensated for the work they do; it’s rarely why teachers are teachers.

Elizabeth says you should be flexible, reflective, a great listener and be willing to learn and embrace change.

Subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen!

Support the show by becoming a patron at

Leave a review on your podcatcher, or send me any feedback to

Sara Garrigan Executive Director of Non-Profit

Executive Director of a Non-Profit

Sara Garrigan has been the Executive Director of the non-profit Watermelon Mountain Ranch Animal Center for more than 5 years. She did not even know this was a possible career growing up but truly appreciates being in the position now.

Sara loves being able to work with animals each day and talk with people. She says you should have compassion, empathy and be a master multitasker to succeed in this type of role. Sara says that she loves making a difference and being able to work from anywhere for some of the tasks required of her. She also mentions that compassion fatigue can be the most challenging aspect of her role.


Sara enjoys being a storyteller and giving voice to those amongst us who cannot speak for themselves. She advises young women to go volunteer at every non-profit they can find in order to see the inner workings and identify if the work is something they want to do and if the cause is one they believe in.


In addition to her full-time role, Sara has worked hard to support the Relay for Life chapter and is an advocate for the American Cancer Society in addition to the Watermelon Mountian Ranch itself.

(*note, Want to see the dog who accompanied us during the interview? The video interview is posted here. )

Executive Director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch Sara Garrigan

Sara Garrigan has spent the past five years as the Executive Director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch Animal Shelter. She worked her way up to her current position and has truly found a passion for helping our four-legged family members find homes.

Sara advises young girls who may be interested in working in the non-profit sector to volunteer. She says to simply go find a non-profit you may be interested in, find out how you can volunteer your time or services and simply be exposed to the world and all the options therein.

She says this position benefits from personality traits such as compassion, empathy, an ability to multitask and be a storyteller.

Sara has been a fixture in the local media over the past few years as she finds great value in being able to show the animals available for adoption and to tell their story (she even does some name dropping in this interview 😉 ).

Listen in and let us know what you think about working in the non-profit sector in the comments below.