As a Marketing Consultant, Melia will modestly tell you that she organizes projects, calls, and events, but what she won’t tell you is that she is the glue that holds her whole team—a team that collaborates across time zones, ridiculously packed calendars, and multiple channels—together. (They, however, can’t stop singing her praises).
From keeping everyone on track and on budget, to helping a colleague *cough cough* proofread many very important documents, Melia brings humor, grace, an incredible eye for details, and compassion with her every day to work. And while she is hands down, an unsung hero keeping her team afloat, you’ll soon learn that she just might be one of the fibers weaving this whole great world together with her work outside our studio walls.
So first things first, tell us a little about how you came about working at Deloitte Digital!
I traveled a lot in college, and was fortunate to receive a scholarship for a research program at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict in England. I always thought that I wanted to go the nonprofit route, and I was able to have honest conversations with many influential people from global NGOs as part of the program. Through these, I learned that many organizations are unfortunately not running as effectively as they could, either due to lack of funding or organization. I decided that if I wanted to make a difference, I should first learn how to make projects and programs run really, really effectively and make the biggest impact.
This took me a few places after graduating college, though I knew I wanted to combine my interest in technology and media with my desire to become a proactive, effective project manager. And here we are!
While in college, I was really involved in the Los Angeles community and it was important to me to continue that outside of my work when I moved to Seattle. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and meeting like-minded people is a huge added bonus.
Ah yes, volunteering! Can you tell us a little about the organizations you share your time with?
Absolutely! I’m very involved in United Way of King County, an organization that works hard on building a community where people have homes, students graduate, and families are financially stable through programming, funding, and policy-making influence. I’m the Outreach Lead on their Emerging Leaders Committee—can you tell that I have the elevator pitch down?
As part of the committee, I help young professionals engage with their city through networking, educational, and volunteering events. United Way has many partners, and it’s a really great way to learn about and work with different organizations in the area. Most recently, I led two Emerging Leaders events—we played games with kids at Compass Housing Alliance, which provides housing and services for more than 10,000 people experiencing housing instability every year, and packed hygiene kits for Dignity for Divas, an organization that supports homeless women transitioning into housing, jobs, and self-sufficiency. We also hosted a panel on civic engagement in Seattle with local leaders, a day for students to train with the Seahawks at their practice facility, and a networking event at the Amazon Spheres!
I’m also a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters! We’ve been all over Seattle together—riding tandem bikes along the beach, cheering on the Seahawks, bouncing around at an indoor trampoline park, trying out new cuisines, zoos, aquariums, movies…and even the Deloitte Digital studio! We’ve been paired for a few years now and my creative, big-hearted Little has my entire heart.
Last year, I joined the Global Shapers program through the World Economic Forum—something that one of my Deloitte Digital teammates told me to apply to! The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people driving positive change in their communities across the world, and I’m excited to be a part of the Seattle hub.
How has Deloitte Digital enabled you to keep volunteering, even as your career demands increase?
A lot of people I work alongside have approached me about wanting to get more involved, but didn’t know where to start. With that in mind, I thought it’d be a good idea to bring different nonprofit organizations directly to them, so that they can decide to take it a step further if a cause resonates. At the studio, we’ve hosted lunch-and-learns with the Washington Trails Organization, Northwest Harvest, Compass Housing Alliance, Year Up…and more!
I’ve also been able to host field trips for IGNITE, an organization that helps girls and non-binary students get excited about careers in technology. On our next field trip, students will learn how to design, develop, and create a Rube Goldberg machine and design their own mobile app. They’ll also tour the studio and have lunch with us while listening to a panel of some of the incredible women at Deloitte Digital.
And, like I said earlier, I was able to bring my Little from Big Brothers Big Sisters into the studio. Studio members jumped in to show her our AR/VR room and our Makers Space, and chat with her about their work. And honestly, the people most enthusiastic to meet her were our studio leaders, who have always been supportive of volunteer efforts in the studio. She loves art, and I think it was super valuable for her to see first-hand the different types of jobs you can have as a creative. We still have her drawing up in our team room.
I also volunteered as a mentor at Year Up, a one-year program that helps young adults gain career skills, and my mentee came into the studio regularly to meet with me. We’d work on his resume, track toward his goals, and develop solutions to challenges. He’s incredibly bright and graduated from the program last year, and I’m thrilled to say he was hired full-time at a software company down the street!
And of course, I have to mention United Way again! My time at Deloitte Digital has been an amazing way to connect two big parts of my life. I’ve been involved in United Way since before I started working here, and it was exciting to learn that they’re one of the nonprofits we collaborate with! Deloitte even participates in an annual fundraiser for them.
We make a lot of literacy kits through United Way of King County, which benefit our ParentChild+ program, and I hosted a kit-making event at the studio. Three out of four low-income kids in Washington are behind their peers when they start kindergarten. These literacy kits have books and number sets for kids in the program, and are an important part in ensuring these students are at the same level with their peers when they start kindergarten. Not to mention, people really enjoy designing these kits—especially our creatives!
Before I was a committee member, we also held a pro bono planning project for United Way of King County at the studio on Impact Day. And luckily enough, United Way of King County is right down the street, so I can pop over there after work for committee meetings and to pick up materials when I’m leading a volunteer event!
Why is volunteering so important to you?
Through my volunteer experience, I’ve witnessed the impact people can make with access to information and stories different from their own. As a planner and communicator by profession, I solve problems while educating and connecting people to each other.
I work with global clients on a daily basis at Deloitte Digital, and connecting with people from different sectors about issues that matter across the globe and in our own community is invaluable.
I honestly believe that volunteering broadens my worldview and strengthens my ability to build effective solutions that genuinely benefit people both in my professional career, and in my personal life.