The Universe knows best. That is how I first came into contact with Melinda, through ”divine” intervention. She was assigned to be my partner for a collaboration before we even exchanged a word, she being thousands of miles away across the Atlantic. During the first chat we had, she amazed me with her vision to help others in her field, more exactly help people fix their CVs and develop the confidence to not only apply for a new position but also to ace their job interviews. The more I listened to her story, the more I knew I had to bring it in front of other women, so it can serve as inspiration. Women CAN and women DO a hell of a job in the world of business, by leading with as much heart as brains. What is the story behind this career and leadership coach? How did she make it, what keeps her motivated and how does she see the future?
First of all, thank you for contributing to this book project and Femindipity movement. What should people know about you in under 30 seconds?
I relocated to New York a few years ago but I was born and raised on the island of St. Lucia, West Indies. As the proud founder of HR Inspired Business Solutions Inc. my life is not all business, I make time for self-care. In my career & leadership coaching business, I am committed to helping women feel empowered and find true purpose and meaning in their personal and professional life. I am an avid reader, learning enthusiast, wine lover and I must have olives to snack on.
Melinda, you have made it very far in your career and had extraordinary experiences. The ”Femindipity” coaching method puts a focus on fulfilment. That is why I would like to ask you: what were your dreams and aspirations as a child, a teenager and a grown woman?
When I was a little girl I dreamed of going to university and one day be a businesswoman. I never really had the fairy tale dream of having a white picket fence house, husband and kids. But I knew I wanted to do something big and meaningful with my life. As a teenager, my plans were to: attend university, write a poetry book, travel the world and have a great corporate job. Looking back, I can happily say that everything I have done honours the dream I had as a little 10-year-old girl.
You now live and work in New York, USA. How was your upbringing as a girl in your native country?
I had a well rounded childhood. As an only child of my mom, she did such a great job raising me, she provided me with all the opportunities she did not have. She taught me two valuable lessons :
1) To be an independent and responsible woman
2) Don’t apologize for my perception of the world. It does not have to be “right or “wrong”.
How was it like when you started transitioning from a girl to a woman?
I had my first menstrual cycle when I was a preteen. I will never forget that Sunday when I woke up from an afternoon nap and went to look for my mom, because the back of my dress was stained with blood. It was official – I was a woman. Before I had my first period, my mom purchased several books on becoming a teenager and the female anatomy, and we often had open discussions about boys and teenager pregnancy. Overall, my teenage years were trouble-free and very innocent, I always tried my best to never disappoint my family.
As a gynaecologist, I am surprised to see how reserved a lot of my patients are when talking about sex, even though it is such a great part of their life and does affect their health. Thank you for being so open about it. How has your culture influenced this aspect of your life and what advice would you give to other young girls?
Having sex at an early age was frowned upon in my culture. Young woman were held in high esteem if they were engaged or married by 21. I waited for my 20’s to have my first sexual experience because it was important to me to be in a relationship and to have a special and memorable experience. So my advice is: Take your time. The first time experience is painful, so you should be with someone who loves and respects you . Go with your gut feeling. I would say wait till you’re in your 20s or married, but this is a different era, with teens learning about sex faster thanks to technology, peer pressure is on. Be safe, always know information about your partners sexual habits and history. Make your first sexual experience special. You’re worth the chase!
You are not a mother yet, but you are trying with your husband and I wish you the best of luck! At this stage of your life, what is your general view on motherhood?
I strongly believe that motherhood is a lifelong commitment and raising a child is surely a learning curve for any mother. It’s a full-time job that does not have a one-size-fits-all manual and requires a mother to be patient with the process. Being emotionally available is a great start for creating a special bond with a child or children.
When I talk to younger women about menopause, I get very different reactions. Truth is, no woman knows how it will be like for her. What is your experience with this matter?
I haven’t yet experience menopause. However, I can remember it being an awful and unpleasant experience for a few women in my family. Some had to deal with having a hysterectomy, terrible hot flashes and mood swings. Emotionally, they struggled with the next stage of their life.
Thank you again for opening up about your personal life. I believe that this information is important for other women, so they can really connect to you, instead of just reading about your professional accomplishments. We are not JUST our jobs. Like you so beautifully said it at the beginning, we are wives and daughters, some are mothers and even CEOs. All of these roles have to come together harmoniously in order to live a fulfilled life. What does it mean to live a life full of purpose to you personally?
Living a life with purpose means that I am ready to share my story confidently and unapologetically with the world; provide hope and inspiration; be ready to step out there and allow myself to be vulnerable, brave, and speak my own truth and own it; feel joyous and celebrate my achievements; understand that noise and chatter are inevitable and to continuously share my talent and creativity in order to help otherss.
Many years ago, women weren’t even allowed to think about a career. What does striving for a career mean to you?
Having a career means that I am able to use my talent/creativity and have financial independence. I view myself as a change agent that providesthe right support for others to succeed. Ultimately, I get to create a career that’s fulfilling and rewarding both personally and professionally.
You have worked in many different environments, in different countries. From your personal experience, do you believe men had it easier at your workplace?
I will say yes, particular when the management team was predominantly male. Men dominated the workplace and didn’t take us women seriously, we were the paper pushers.
Working with my clients on finding their life-purpose, I noticed that women talk about ”the future” as something very distant, unreal even. A clear view of what you expect in the future does give one the motivation to stir things in the right direction. How do you see your life in 20 years?
Have two children, build a successful business as a career & leadership coach, speaker and, writer, investor, long-term financial success and freedom, travel with my hubsband to 20 or more countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. Also, establish a chapter of ‘Dress of Success’ in St. Lucia.
How about in 40 years?
I can imagine my life being laid back, joyful, spanky and engaging. Having Sunday brunch, drinking wine and eating olives. I will still be dancing to Caribbean soca, reggae, zouk and dancehall music.
What can you do NOW to ensure you live that fulfilled life you dream of having when you are 80?
Dedicate time to take care of my emotional, mental and financial needs .
Thank you very much for your honesty and time! Many women will be inspired by this interview and I am certain they will take the time to answer all of these questions for themselves. As a farewell gift, what is the most important advice you want to give women in general, and to women who want to do business in particular?
“Do what’s right for you; don’t seek permission, but remember to take responsibility for whatever the outcome is. There is no passing the buck if things do not work out the way you want them to. Do some self-introspection, you will discover so much more about yourself that it will amaze you. When you have discovered your inner strength and creativity, then you will be able to shine bright in both your private and public life”.
Melinda George Bristol is the founder of HR Inspired Business Solutions Inc. As a career and leadership coach, she helps professional women who want to get ahead faster in their careers and be ready for a managment role in less than a year. In 2019, she published her first book, Transformist of the Heart and Soul and in 2020 she is taking her vision to the next level by providing an e-learning platform for professionals who want to polish and showcase their talents in front of a new exisiting employers. You can contact Melinda at firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries.
Melinda has shared her story as part of the 2020 Book Project. Her amazing quotes will be ones of many meant to inspire women of all backgrounds to start working on the life that they want to live. IF THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY!