Brenda Lee Meli is happy to be a rat. Taking some creative license with the best advice she’s ever received may make for an interesting opening to her profile, but it also shows her sense of humor. Meli has spent more than 13 years building Solutions for Account Management with her co-founder, Lauren Miller-McIlroy, which is a far cry from her days owning a restaurant. The ARM industry has Meli’s sister to thank for getting her into the business, but we are all better off thanks to her involvement. Read on to learn more about Meli and how we can all benefit from her and her family’s philosophy about handicapped individuals.
Name: Brenda Lee Meli
Length of time at current company: 13.5 years
Length of time in industry: 28 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
My sister was a collector for Financial Collection Agencies (FCA). They were looking for a sales rep. I interviewed, and the rest is history!
What is your career highlight so far?
Without a doubt, starting SAM in 2004 and growing it alongside of my business partner, Lauren Miller-McIlroy.
When or how are you most productive?
I’d say between 9 am and 4 pm each day. As long as I take a breather I’m good until the work is done.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
Hard to narrow it down to just one person, there’s quite a few. Andy Robinson, my ex-boss certainly is one I admire and trust. Lauren Miller-McIlroy who is a consummate professional, a great business partner and friend. Ezra Zucker had a great impact during the time we worked together; both personally and professionally.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I’m not one to say I do anything better. If there’s one thing that stands out about me, I’d say it’s my willingness to take on risks – in business and life.
What do you like most about this industry?
That’s an easy one; the wonderful people I’ve met and friends that I’ve made along the way.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Public perception about our industry. I feel there’s a need to educate the public on the need for what we do and how it impacts every aspect of our lives, businesses, and finances.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I’ve owned a restaurant and beer distributor in the past; so, I’d probably be working in the food and beverage industry.
Describe a typical work day.
Each day is a mix of computer, emails, calls, and when applicable, travel and business meetings.
What is your guilty pleasure?
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have two! Regarding the ‘Rat Race’: ‘It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, you’re still a rat!’ Love that!
And: Action Conquers Fear
What are you currently reading?
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
My compassion for the handicapped. My sister who passed away, was born with Down Syndrome. It changes who you are and your outlook on others and life. In our family we would say that she wasn’t the one who was handicapped, we are!
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Lauren Miller-McIlroy, Andrew B. Robinson, and Heather B. Strong.