Melissa Stires is a global speaker, leadership coach, and collector of people. An international protocol officer and high-impact events director, Melissa has led over 60 delegations to more than 30 countries. Melissa launched the first-ever academic partnership with Fortune Magazine for its Global Forum 2013 in Chengdu, China.
Melissa, known to many as the energetic personality of The Remote Guru Girl, is a thought leader and motivational speaker, most recently featured at the world-renowned I Own My Own Power Summit, Deeper Women Lead, and Breakthrough 2021.
Raised in the South, Melissa has used her history to catapult her future, where she found a seat at the table around some of the most influential leaders and dignitaries the world over.
From the Queen of Jordan to titans of Wall Street, K Street, and beyond, Melissa has a unique ability to connect with individuals from a broad array of backgrounds and cultures. With her larger-than-life personality, she brings the party to whatever room, Zoom, or stage she graces, leaving the audience and her clients energized, inspired, and ready to act.
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Here we sit down with Melissa, to know a bit more about her journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. Tell us a little more about your journey as an entrepreneur – how did you get started? What inspired you?
Melissa: In 2020 when the pandemic hit and everyone moved to remote working, I saw this public and private outcry from leaders scared about remote working. There was such a level of distrust for what is possible to accomplish virtually. I started sharing tips on LinkedIn and other social media platforms as the need was there. I then started getting asked to speak and train on remote work and it kind of snowballed from there.
Q. What’s one thing in your routine that you do consistently that has made a huge difference in your personal or business life?
Melissa: I work with a coach. Coaching came to me later in life, but now I believe everyone should have one. Some have particular niches such as mindset, confidence, and career. I have had different coaches for different seasons of my life and as an entrepreneur, I feel it is vital.
Q. Who are your mentors and inspiration? and what knowledge or insight did they give to you that was valuable?
Melissa: Oh, I love this question. My mother, Kathy, is inspirational for so many reasons. Watching her go back to college and graduate with her bachelor’s at the age of 51 was pretty inspiring. It showed me that it is never too late to fulfill your dreams and callings. Another mom figure in my life, I call her my DC mom, Jeanne. She was one of the top lobbyists in Washington, DC, killing it in her career. But her amazing drive, never took away from her family and friends. She showed up for the people in her life in both big and small ways. She is also a girl’s girl. Meaning, she looks out for women, constantly uplifting them and encouraging them. Watching her balance work and personal life, told me I too could have a big career without sacrificing what is most important to me.
Q. What has been the most satisfying moment for Melissa in business?
Melissa: I loved being able to step in and save the day for one of my mentors. He was hosting a celebration for the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s 40th anniversary. Things were not going as planned, and he reached out for help. We had only a few weeks to deliver on a magical event. We did it, and in the end, he called me up and publicly thanked me. Many times events, training, and coaching are more behind the scenes. To see how I helped my mentor, a man who meant so much to me, was really special. And it set the stage for a wonderful partnership too.
Q. How does Melissa market her business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Melissa: Right now, it has been word of mouth. The old-fashioned referral way. When my clients have good experiences with me, they share the love, and it has opened doors to many new opportunities. I am also an avid networker. Both in-person and virtually. I almost never turn down a meeting!
Q. What has been the biggest failures or challenges?
Melissa: A huge challenge when I was younger, just starting out my career was the trap comparison, specifically to other women. I come from pretty humble beginnings, so I had a lot of imposter syndrome and was always trying to catch up to where I thought I “should” be. The amount of wasted energy I used to feed into the comparison trap is sad to look back on. I want to go back and coach younger Melissa! I want to tell her, you are enough. Enjoy this moment, enjoy the work and let go of comparison and the need to please! I also would say judging a book by its cover. One of my dearest friends and mentors is someone I first miss judged due to office gossip. Luckily she gave me a second chance and she is one of the brightest voices in my life.
Q. How did this failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
Melissa: You will never be satisfied if you are constantly comparing yourself to others, be them your peers, or the insanely well-crafted lives on people on social media. When I finally let go of the comparison trap, I was free to do and be exactly what I wanted. The old Melissa would not have walked away from a lucrative day job to attempt business ownership. She also would not have been ok with life going at a slower pace for a little while. Living a previous life of constant comparison helps me now in my coaching & speaking. I can easily call that out and empathize with my clients in that area, because I walked it. I understand the trap and can help them get out too.
Q. If someone was to create a TV show about you, what would it be about and what would it be called?
Melissa: HA! So Fun! Have you read my mind? Did you know that a TV show should so be in the works for me? I think a great title would be the Girl with the Loudest Laugh. And the show would be about all the antics I still get myself into. I cannot cook so you would get to see me set fire in my kitchen more than once. I would take you on the road as I jet set and it would probably always end with some motivational words of encouragement. Because at the end of the day, I am all about improving people’s lives.