Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.
What is your name and title?
Melissa Frugé, Chief Legal Officer & Executive D&I Sponsor at FinancialForce.
Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.
I am responsible for all legal, risk and compliance matters worldwide. I also serve as the executive sponsor to our Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.
I have a wonderful career journey starting with supporting a mix of start ups to public companies in the corporate group at DLA to serving as the General Counsel of high tech companies. I partner with phenomenal execs and Boards to scale companies effectively through smart organic growth, acquisitions and IPOs.
In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?
Going in house to work with a supportive team that enabled me to grow as a professional and strategic, pragmatic legal counsel.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?
This year has been a continuous reminder that we are resilient and can grow and succeed in a variety of ways by getting creative and exercising grit.
What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?
Effectively overcoming the various obstacles and biases that most men simply don’t have.
Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?
Yes! I’ve always been active in having both mentors who provide meaningful advice and empathy and sponsors who actually help to open doors. These people have helped use their experiences and connections to help me and I always try to do the same for others.
What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?
View your career as an ever evolving journey, never a destination, and be open to the various paths forward that can present themselves, or which you can create. Welcome those twists and turns you didn’t expect. Lean in to learn and grow stronger from the hills along the way.
What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?
Actively educate the workforce on the power, need and impact of a diverse environment. Nurture and grow the diverse employees you have to make everyone feel welcome. Lead from the top and then ensure this happens at all levels.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I set intentions at the start of each year instead of resolutions. At the end of the year, I strive to be able to say I confidently stayed true to them during the year. A couple of the key ones for me are to pursue excellence and integrity in everything I do and in all facets of my life.
Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?
Diversity & Inclusion. I have a mixed family and these issues are dear to my heart, so I have always volunteered in my professional career to contribute as well.
When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?
A few years ago as an example of our commitment to doing the right thing.
What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?
I love meditation and yoga to stay grounded. I love travel and learning about various places, cultures and ways of living — and I hope to get back to my travels soon!
Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!
Yes, always and way too many to share. One of my long time favorites is The Alchemist by Paulo Cuelo.
What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?
A consistent practice of gratitude. I always have things to be grateful for and it is an easy way to shift your perspective to a positive one.