Meet Melissa Stires and you'll see why she is simply magnetic. She wears many hats, but she does so with confidence and a big smile. The first time I met Melissa, I knew that I wanted to be friends with her, not only because of her bubbly personality, but also because she's real. Melissa doesn't try to come off as 'perfect' and put together at all times (even though she's always stylish). There is a refreshing honesty about Melissa that reminds us that it's okay to not always have our act together. In fact, there is strength and beauty in vulnerability. With that being said, she is inspiring in so many ways. She's a girl's girl, a big cheerleader for other women and ready to support in any way she can. Her precious daughter Ella has one amazing mama!
What is your favorite quote or life motto?
Right now, my go-to motto is Extraordinary lives don’t happen on accident.
My guiding life principle is from the great Maya Angelou. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You wear many hats including as mother, wife, entrepreneur, international speaker, consultant, fundraising leader, protocol executive, marketing & event expert, and relationship manager. Am I missing any? How do you do it all?
HA! I do not do any of it perfectly. There are many mistakes, and there are many “I tried my best” moments. There are also many “oh wells” mixed in with an array of mom guilt that I am accepting in my life right now. 2020 was an awakening of sorts for me, and I know many others in so many business and life areas. One awakening for me was that I let go of the fear of judgment. I am a people pleaser by nature and, and for much of my life, held positions that put me in front of influential leadership. I lived a long time, too long, with a fear of failure and judgment. I have let that go. Letting go freed me up to dive deep into things about which I am passionate. I am an Executive Leadership and Life Strategist. I thrive on assisting leaders as they grow into their full potential and become who they have always been meant to be.
You are a Certified Advanced International Protocol Officer. It sounds so cool, but what exactly does that role entail?
Great question! The word protocol comes from the Greek language and means “to glue things together.” Often protocol officers are the glue implementing events and ceremonies, administering a diplomatic visit, advising on the art of gift-giving, business card exchange, and where people should line up when a photo is taken. There is about a page long definition to that question. The bottom line is that a protocol officer facilitates communication, cross-cultural respect, and cooperation between individuals, co-workers, clients, and cultures. In years past, protocol officers were visible in the military and diplomatic settings – think White House State dinners. Now you can find protocol officers leading and advising in academia, corporate, and the broader nonprofit world.
You believe in the transformative power of ideas and about being confident. How do you help your clients achieve both?
Another great question. Questions are the answers! I challenge my clients to do two things; to look deep inside themselves and put on a hat of empathy for themselves and their teams, clients, constituents, fill in the blanks. We all come to the table with core beliefs that need to be questioned from time to time. Many times, all it takes is someone turning the kaleidoscope a millimeter on you to have a whole new perspective. You already had the answer; you just weren’t seeing it. The same goes for confidence. I know in my bones that every person on this earth is here for a reason, and talents and abilities unique unto themselves. Confidence is not elusive. It is not for only certain DNA types, it is a power to be harnessed and walked-in, but sometimes it takes tools to learn how to do that, which is where I come in.
To date, what would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Being a mother to my four-year-old daughter, Ella. Not just being a mom, but a mom who has not lost herself wholly in work or entirely in parenthood. I like that my daughter sees mommy being a leader at work and at home. And she sees me not pull it off perfectly.
What is one fun fact that most wouldn’t know about you?
I am a singer. In high school and in college I was in various bands. I miss it.
What piece of advice/lesson do you hope to instill in your daughter as she grows into adulthood?
I want my daughter to know she is strong and capable. I want her to take risks and follow her heart. Most importantly, I want her to know other girls and women are not her competition; they are her tribe. I hope she always looks to bring others up along the way.
Now time to talk about fashion! How would you describe your personal style?
I am eclectic but not in the Boho sense of the term more in that I will try to rock almost anything. Living in sunny Florida these days, you will find me in many bright colors and maybe more so the preppy side. But I also love rocking an all-black ensemble with 6” heels and a Versace scarf. I am a Carrie Bradshaw meets Elle Woods in terms of what I will wear. I am also five-foot-tall, so some things I just cannot pull off, but I have tried!
Who’s your celebrity style crush?
I adore Drew Barrymore, talk about a multi-talented entrepreneur. If I could spend the day with her, I would be living my dream. My fashion celebrity crush is J.Lo. I will never be able to pull off any of her looks, but a girl can dream!
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re pressed for time?
When I am in Florida, I will pull on a Lilly Pulitzer dress and my Tori Burch wedges. They never fail me.
Which shoe brand do you love most?
What’s your favorite shoe style?
Being five-foot-tall, I need height. I love a good wedge. I think they make any calf and foot look great, they are comfortable, and they give me the height I crave.
Why do you like the line of products by Protect My Shoes?
Protect My Shoes has changed the game for me. When I travel, I always pack at least four pairs. I was the girl stuffing my shoes with the tissue paper, praying they would not get smashed in-flight. Protect My Shoes allows me to take my most cherished shoes on all my adventures because I know their condition will stay pristine. I also was the girl who tried to keep the shoe boxes, which did not work, and I hated that my shoes lost shape and were damaged. I could not be more obsessed with them. I did a live video promoting them on my social media because I wanted to make everyone aware of this incredible product. When I find something extraordinary, I share the news! Protect My Shoes are too good for everyone not to know about them!
What is your dream travel destination?
I just finished two books where they both talked about the Island of Capri. I would love to whole up there for a month or so, drinking some good vino and swimming in the sea.
What cocktail best describes your personality?
If you could have dinner with three special guests, who would they be?
Tyler Perry, Drew Barrymore and Jamie Kern Lima (Founder of IT Cosmetics).
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