Meet Melissa O’Brien, a social media enthusiast who is helping local businesses grow through marketing strategies.
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”- Anonymous
After years of struggling to find her passion, Melissa finally realized her love for digital marketing. Now, she is a Marketing and Communications Manager at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. It is a non-profit organization that develops opportunities for networking, marketing, and education for member individuals and businesses.
Growing up, Melissa had supportive and caring parents. However, she was bullied in elementary and middle school. She was thankful that social media didn’t exist back then, so going home was an escape. Little did she know that one day, she would be so passionate about social media.
Melissa graduated from Stony Brook University in June 2019 and was a dedicated student. She was placed on the Dean’s list almost every semester and has a knack for learning new things. Owing to which she even wanted to go to Law school but given the student loans and expenses, she dropped the idea. Initially, the fact that she might end up pursuing the wrong career scared Melissa to the core. Then, as she found her calling in digital marketing, she went on to receive a degree in the same from Columbia and landed a job at her current organization.
Since then, Melissa has been working on her dream job helping local businesses and creating opportunities to patronize the small-town shops. As almost every business is going digital today, it can be a daunting task for the owners to keep up with the technology. Melissa helps these business owners with the campaigns and establish an online presence.
Talking about her work in the organization, she says, “It(Fenwick Island) is a high tourism area, and this summer tourism did not exist. I had the idea of doing a restaurant week in October and within 6 weeks; I had a brand-new website developed, signed up 13 restaurants, developed paid digital campaigns with a local advertising firm, newspaper ads, and paid social media ads”. This has helped the business flourish in the area.
As June marked her one year at the Chamber, Melissa feels she does not have all the knowledge about the field and has a lot to learn. She often attends conferences and seminars to explore new ideas in the avenue. Members at Bethany-Fenwick appreciate her efforts on how well she is able to increase the business. Melissa prepares marketing guides and tips tailored to a particular business to facilitate the members. It makes her happy to know that her knowledge and efforts have finally found a medium. She is not afraid to take risks and try out something new. It gives her a new perspective on things and what she could do better. This is one idea that changed her life. According to her, “In digital marketing, everything you do is a risk and there is no guarantee of ROI (Return of Investment). Creating demographics is really a guessing game at the end of the day, but with research and experience, the guessing game gets easier”.
Melissa devoted time and patience towards her passion and made a career out of it. It took time but eventually, she got there and built a successful career for herself whilst supporting the community. Addressing the women who are unsure about their career, she says, “Follow your hobbies and your passions! Allow yourself to be creative, happy, and enjoy life! Work-life balance is so important and we must enjoy living life to the fullest”.