Travels and Lessons Learned From Minnesota and The Late Prince

Sooo…it’s the final countdown. My doctor says my days of jet setting around the country must come to an end. I’m getting bigger by the day and although I feel fine, the last thing I want to do is go into early labor in a city that is not my own. I trust the experts and I’m getting my mind and heart prepared for life without wings…at least for a little while! 🙂

Travel is a big part of my lifestyle. Today, I thought I would share my latest excursion to the twin cities in Minnesota where I met the most amazing women. Through their stories, I learned that although we may share many differences, it is our commonality that unites us. I also had a priceless opportunity to visit Paisley Park, the home of the late Prince just weeks after his untimely death. This trip taught me about life and about relishing relationships.

I’ll admit, pregnancy makes you sentimental. I travel pretty frequently but this time it was different. I’m only a few short weeks away from a new life. The next time, I fly I’m sure my focus will be less on my belly and more on my baby. How will he or she will handle travel? What will it feel like to leave your child behind for the first time?  These thoughts are for a later time.

This trip, I had had an amazing opportunity to connect with women from all over the country with various backgrounds and experiences with one common goal…to live their greatest life. We were brought together through the Brand Leadership Institute, an online e-learning experience for women to advance in life and career. I came to Minnesota to hear their stories. We interviewed each of them and video taped them for a highlight reel of their success and stories. Although I was a bit tired from the long travel, I was immediately energized by their presence. I was thankful for the opportunity to connect with women just like me, working women, strivers, believers, moms, mentors and women who are working hard everyday to be true to their authentic self.




We all have our own insecurities but there is something powerful that happens in the presence of like-minded people. These women whom I have coached for the past several months gave me strength and exchanged motherly advise as we shared in the excitement of our potential and our future. I left feeling empowered and encouraged. “You change lives Melissa. You change lives,” one of them said to me. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that my life has meaning and that it is making a difference to women all around the world.

I left our day of recording on a high. We decided to travel to Paisley Park, about 40 minutes away to visit the home of the late Prince. It’s hard to believe that he passed away just a few short weeks ago.

I was in awe of all the memorial and people who had come from all around the world to pay their respects to him and his family. Although, I was not a die-hard Prince fan, I had great respect and admiration for someone who used his gifts and talents to touch the world.  He did it his way and he gave to others along the way.

It challenged me to think about how many times I have hid my light because I didn’t want to disappoint someone else. It made me resolve to do it my way and to give every drop I have to my passion and commit to bring others along.

Beyond grief, I experienced a deeper desire to go hard after my dreams and to do it relentlessly without holding back. I believe you desire to live a life without regrets. Isn’t it time you did it your way? Isn’t it time you stepped out of the shadows and started living your life like there is no tomorrow?

I wanted to share these lessons and reflections from my journey. Thanks Minnesota for giving me more than airline miles, you gave me something to live up to and you helped expand my world!


3 Lessons In Style I Learned From My First Photo Shoot

As a little girl, I remember my aunt and I designing our own doll clothes. Back in the day, (ok, I’m dating myself), my aunt would show me her paper cut-out wardrobe and let me style her dolls. I’ve always had an affinity for style and creating my own look.

Fast forward to my grown-up years and my sense of style became, shall I say…stale.

At the time, I didn’t realize how being a busy career woman started to erode my creative sense of style. Maybe it was not wanting to stand out too much or feeling that being too feminine would not get me into the boys club but surely my sense of style became relegated to comfort and convenience.

The realization smacked me in the face when I decided to invest in my first photo shoot. It was only a year after starting my business. I had been working round the clock “grinding” as an entrepreneur and all I did at the time was work, workout and sleep. Thus my daily wardrobe was sweats and jeans.

Before the big day, I asked the photographer what I needed to bring. She simply said, “bring a few of your best outfits and your smile.”

That sounds simple enough right. I was shocked when I arrived and she looked through my wardrobe only for her to say, “Everything you have is black, where is the color?”

She was right. Of course I could have used the excuse, “I’m a marketer and most marketers wear black.” Maybe it was because I was lazy. Worse than that was the fact that I had let my personality and sense of style fade to black for fear of standing out too much. I had lost a part of who I was.

The shoot went…ok. I wore my black and smiled for about an hour. Honestly, I was very uncomfortable with all eyes on me and I felt like I was wearing a uniform verses wearing something that expressed me. I hadn’t even taken the time to discover who I was in that moment.

A key part of your authentic brand is your style. Your style makes a statement without you saying a word. I realized it was time for me to put in practice personal branding 101 for me.

Here are three lessons I learned from my first photo shoot that may help you reconnect with your own personality and style.


  1. Rediscover your unique personality – I define my authentic brand as warm, colorful, vivid, effortless style, personable, fun, full of life and movement. Yet at the time, that was not a match with my personality and style. Sometimes, we have to separate ourselves from the work we are doing to get reunited with our true personality. Identify three words that best describe you and use those words to incorporate color, style and personality in wardrobe.
  2. Shine your beauty from the inside out – I was uncomfortable with the attention because I wasn’t confident enough to stand in my own truth. I probably felt I wasn’t worthy of the attention. Know that your powerful presence is enough. Own your power and shine. Reflect on all you have overcome and all you have achieved.
  3. Celebrate the moment – I was so focused on doing the right or wrong thing in the photo shoot that I missed the opportunity to have fun! Laugh, dance, joke or just tap into your alter-ego…no matter what, own the moment. It should have felt like a vacation instead it felt like work. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.


Today, I must do at least 30 photo shoots a year with different clients who are going through this same transformation. We do a before and after and you can see a big difference.  You can discover your own style and have fun with it no matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, student or executive!

I know you see lots of photos but I thought it would be fun to show a little behind-the-scenes clip from a more recent photo shoot. As you can see, this shoot was so much fun. First of all, I was able to do it with my hubby and I had an amazing crew. More importantly, as you can see, I totally am loving the skin that I’m in.

If you have never done your own photo shoot or if the last one you did was several years ago, I challenge you to take advantage of the moment and book your own. Tell your visual story and savor the opportunity to create memories and make your mark. I can’t wait for you to share your stories and your photos with me!


How To Brand Your Style On The Go

Your personal style is a direct reflection of your brand. People see you before you say a word. Your image relates to your branding and while choosing what to wear can sometimes be complicated, it doesn’t have to be! I’ll give you tips to launch your signature brand image and slay the day.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned:


  1. Organize For Success
  2. Simplify Your Options
  3. Unleash Your Inner Confidence
  4. Get Rid Of Emotional Assassins
  5. Define Your Signature Look


How will you create your winning look?