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.

Advice

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.

Philanthropy

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.


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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!

Advice

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.

Resources

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 LetsMakeAPlan.org 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 lballou@epwealth.com

Philanthropy

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.


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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.


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Susan Swafford Performance Development Strategist

Performance and Development Strategist

Susan Swafford is a performance and development strategist, a certified mentor and an entrepreneur. Through her company, CORE Advantage, Susan aims to learn about your unique goals and challenges and tailor a solution just for you.

Susan enjoys helping people be their very best selves and does so by utilizing her strengths and available tools. Susan meets with all sorts of people in all sorts of various life stages and assists them in identifying what their core strengths are, what their energy level is, and who they are deep down. She uses this information to help them align with the appropriate careers, strengthen relationships, and even works with organizations and teams to ensure the right people are in the best positions for them to thrive.

Advice

Susan says you should be sincere, open, vulnerable, structured and able to really listen to those you are helping. As an entrepreneur, you must be self-disciplined and it’s best to build a team around you in order to succeed.

She says to try to realize who you are at the core, make decisions that leverage your strengths and live out your passions.

We plan to travel, why not plan our lives?

Philanthropy

Susan is an avid supporter of women. She founded W.I.N., the Women Investor’s Network. It’s an organic network of women who invest in life, business, and their community.

Susan is also on the Albuquerque Rotary Club Board of Directors.


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Ailesha Ringer Ph.D. Candidate

Ph.D. Candidate in Communication

Ailesha Ringer is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Communications with one year left until she has completed this degree. Ailesha has been pursuing higher education for 12 years and has always known she wanted to obtain a Ph.D.; she just thought it’d be in a different field than Communications.

However, her path to be where she now is, though a bit winding, has shown her how much she thoroughly enjoys parsing the world through the lens of the Communications discipline.

Advice

Ailesha’s advice for anyone interested in pursuing an advanced degree includes taking some time off. She says to finish high school, maybe that first bachelor degree, but then to take a minute and reassess and make sure you are learning what is truly interesting to you and what you can make a career out of. She says a Ph.D. is not for everyone and that it really needs to benefit you in the long-run in order to pursue it in the short-term.

Ailesha says you must be self-disciplined, highly motivated, thick-skinned, and be willing to expand your horizons. She adds that a tenacious curiosity will serve you well.

Philanthropy

Ailesha regularly donates to Planned Parenthood, a community service clinic offering care to people from all walks of life who may not otherwise be able to afford the vast array of medical services the locations provide.

She is also involved in her graduate programs and volunteers when she can, most recently at St. Martin’s Hope Works.

Extended Interview

Special note** I had to edit the interview with Ailesha to fit within the format of the podcast. However, we discussed even more of the ins and outs of the world of academia, feminist theory, tax law, deep work, the value we place on academics, and much more! So as a special treat, I invite you to listen to the full, unedited conversation by clicking here Ailesha, Ph.D. Unedited Interview.


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Adrienne Quintana Publisher

Publisher

Adrienne Quintana is a writer and micro-publisher. In many ways, she is a matchmaker. She introduces authors to illustrators and utilizes her vast network of literary big shots to market works of written art.

Adrienne has loved to read for most of her life and when she wrote and illustrated a children’s book for a friend, found a passion for writing and subsequently publishing.

Advice

READ and then read some more. After that, pick up another book and read. She associates being a writer to being a runner; one step at a time, one mile at a time, one page at a time. Once you’ve become an avid reader, start writing. Write as much as you possibly can she advises.

Adrienne also says you need to develop a thick skin and a love for feedback. She says to look for ways to grow in the feedback being given. To give feedback is to genuinely care about the work and want to help make it the best piece it can be.

See constructive criticism as a big hug!

She also says to leave your options wide open and to continuously move forward.

Philanthropy

Adrienne donates her time, teaching expertise and devotion to her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

You can find Adrienne online  at https://pinkumbrellapublishing.com/
http://www.readysetwritepodcast.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUIAbuihdn0jHaRTkb8OBGA


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Amber Pechin, Writer and Entrepreneur

Writer & Entrepreneur

Amber Pechin is the co-owner of Amplitude Media, a creative agency that “writes words that sell stuff”. She and her business partner provide branding, content, and strategy for businesses to reach the right audience, with the right story, at the right time, and turn them into customers.

Amber says she has always enjoyed making ideas come to light with words. She’s a storyteller, a creative, and enjoys figuring out other humans. She says that how you tell a story makes a difference and that we should use our powers for good.

Amber touches on some points that are particularly challenging for women. One item of note is that we tend to pick something to do for a career and then feel like we are supposed to continue on that path for eternity. She says that what we want to do at 19-years-old may not be the same as at 35 or even 60.

Advice

Amber says that when we stop having at least some fun with the work we are doing then it is time for a change. She says that if you are interested in becoming a writer or an entrepreneur that you should seek out a mentor in that field and ask them questions. You should also write; every single day. Amber advises you to be open to constructive feedback and develop a thick-skin for both career pursuits.

I would add that a level of curiosity would serve these professions well as would the ability to collaborate and always strive to be a better version of yourself in these roles.

Philanthropy

A pro bono client of the company is Heart Affect. It’s a group started by two mother’s whose children had complications from Congenital Heart Defects.

We believe all children deserve a healthy heart. Heart Effect advocates for children with congenital heart defects by educating communities and funding programs and research for Phoenix Children’s Heart Center and Cardiac 3D Print Lab. -Mission of Heart Effect


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Ashlee Andrews Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Ashlee Andrews is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Eubank Animal Clinic as well as her house call service ABQ Mobile Vet.

She has known since she was 8 years-old that she wanted to become a vet in order to care for animals and their human companions. Dr. Ashlee says that each day is a new adventure and she truly enjoys her career. It’s not without its challenges as she feels she must be capable of performing animal medicine as well as be a people-person and a business-savvy employer.

Philanthropy

Dr. Ashlee chooses to give back to her community through supporting Saranam and the Animal Humane Society of New Mexico.

Are you interested in becoming a veterinarian? What other questions would you like to ask a vet? Leave a comment below. Also, we conducted a video interview with Ashlee, watch it here.


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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.

Volunteer

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.

Philanthropy

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. )

Renee Holmes Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineer

Renee Holmes is a mechanical engineer with a passion for math, physics, problem-solving and Belize. She works at Bladewerx in NM and in addition to her role as a mechanical engineer, she is also an operations manager being groomed to take over the company somedayRenee Holmes, Mechanical Engineer

She has also worked for Boeing and had many mentors along the way who have encouraged her to continue pursuing her passion. Her parents were very supportive also.

Renee says she was able to collaborate with many men and women who have continued to support her interest in creating products.

In addition to her career, Renee is Mom to a barely-one-year-old and she says that she is at the right place for her and her family right now. She says you have to enjoy the time at work because that’s time away from her daughter and husband. And she does thoroughly enjoy her work as a mechanical engineer!

A career that stretches you, but doesn’t defeat you, is the right choice.

Philanthropy

Renee has a special passion for Belize. She and 9 friends recently conducted the Great Beans and Rice Giveaway wherein they raised money and created food baskets for women of domestic violence that contained rice, beans, pineapples, and ingredients to make tortillas. She called the project Little Chicken, Big Difference.

She and her husband also got married in Belize and had a service wedding where they all renovated a house for a mother and her children.


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