Know Your Neighbors: Melinda Holm-Peterson of Melinda Holm & Associates

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Melinda Holm-Peterson

I recently received an invitation to join a ‘Dash and Drink Fun Run’ from a local marketing and advertising recruitment firm – Melinda Holm & Associates. While I am normally suspicious of using the words ‘fun’ and ‘run’ in the same sentence, I thought this was a great idea – a way for people to meet new people while getting exercise  (plus there was the promise of snacks and cocktails at the end).

After learning more about Melinda Holm-Peterson, Forest Park resident and President of Melinda Holm & Associates, it’s not surprising that the idea to combine running, networking and fun came from her team. She is passionate about fitness, business and helping others reach their full potential. Read on to get to know Melinda better – the drive and lessons that got her to where she is today, what a day in her life looks, her priorities outside of work and the invaluable advice she has for those looking to forge their own path (or just be more organized/healthier).

Around Oak Park
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are you doing when not at work?

Melinda Holm-Peterson
I am a fitness enthusiast! I like to cycle, run, swim and use the elliptical when forced indoors. I have put in a mini gym upstairs at our office to encourage my staff of 11 to incorporate exercise into their daily lives and not make it a chore. I commute via bike (unless big item shopping) and challenge myself to walk or ride my bike with all commutable errands under 5 or 10 miles. I have a shopping cart too for walking errands.

We (Melinda Holm & Associates) have just started monthly Fun Runs to encourage people to run/walk with us once a month. My staff is also doing monthly 5Ks in the Chicago area. Our first one was last Sunday at O’Hare – the 5K Run on the Runway. Our next one is tomorrow (October 4th) at Montrose Harbor to support JDRF. My thought is to NOT make exercise a chore, but start walking and moving daily to incorporate it into your daily life. Even a 15-minute walk at lunch helps!

AOP
Do you live in the area? What brought you here?

Melinda
I live with my husband and 7-year-old son on Ferdinand in Forest Park, around the corner from where we own our office building which houses my business, Melinda Holm & Associates. We have approximately 4800 square feet of office space at 7628/7630 Madison in Forest Park and are the in process of completing a total redesign of the offices. Come check it out!!

We moved here for the convenience of the neighborhood and its proximity to downtown. Once we started looking around, we fell in love with our house and the area!

AOP
Tell us more about your company, Melinda Holm & Associates. What do you do? How did you get started?

Melinda
Melinda Holm & Associates is a recruiting company that specializes in advertising and marketing placements, nationwide. We place marketing directors, account directors, strategists, creatives, project managers, public relations and media experts, and more. Our website is www.melindaholm.com.

My background is advertising, specifically in media, and I happened to fall into recruiting. I started in recruiting in 1995 and opening my business in September of 1999 after a solo bike ride across the country.

Staff at Melinda Holm & Associates

AOP
How did you choose Forest Park for your business?

Melinda
When my son was born, my husband was commuting to Rockford. Since we lived in FP already, it was natural to look here to see what we might find that could cut down on my commute to downtown. Our neighbor, Chris Dunaway, was taking care of Lange while we were at work, but this made it easier if an emergency came up for me to be working close to home rather than downtown.

AOP
How did you become interested in recruitment? What were you doing before that?

Melinda
I always wanted to be a reporter on TV. I realized that was not going to happen when I froze on camera. I am a good DJ though and aspire to still be on camera one day!
This led to an interest in advertising (anything to be close to being on TV!) and I actually did get a chance to be in a commercial with Henny Youngman when I worked in advertising in NY. When I moved to Chicago, I truly fell into recruiting and realized that recruiting for advertising and marketing really married what I like to do – socialize and engage with people, work with advertising people, and use my sales and advertising background.

AOP
If you had to explain the Melinda Holm & Associates ‘mission statement’ or ‘value proposition’ to someone in two minutes, what would you say?

Melinda
We believe in a partnership with our clients and candidates. We offer a one to one, personalized service. We are not here to just fill a position, but to build an ongoing relationship with clients and candidates to insure success for all.

We place advertising and marketing professionals in positions that lead to growth for all parties.

AOP
What was the most difficult part of starting your business? What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Melinda
Most difficult: Putting in 70 to 100 hours a week for a lot of years!
Biggest lesson: Still learning it, but go with the flow a bit and do delegate.

AOP
Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences that you learned from or that helped you improve your business or the way you work?

Melinda
Yes, I have a few. One big one was realizing that I was not delegating enough to my staff. Another one was when two of my staff members left and started a competing recruiting firm. Another one was when I realized that I was drinking too much as a way to relieve stress!

I have learned that you have to manage your team, not just try to be friends with them. I have learned that being over served does not alleviate stress. I have learned that taking things personally is a no win. I am happy to give a speech on this as I can go on and on!

AOP
What would you recommend to someone starting a business of their own?

Melinda
Do not do too much research on the competitive landscape as you will talk yourself out of moving forward. Put together a business plan, look forward and know you can do this, and have support of friends and family to help out a bit if they can. I started Melinda Holm & Associates with four other friends. Two dropped out due to personal situations, and the other two helped me to launch my business with funding (we each put in about $5,000 to start) plus as business partners for our first three months. After three months, my two partners took their profit and I was ready to be the sole owner.

I also had a mentor from another recruitment firm who helped with giving me the confidence to move forward.

AOP
What has been your greatest success/what are you most proud of in your business experience?

Melinda
Where we are now, owning a beautiful office building, having a great staff, empowering women and really enjoying our clients and candidates.
I am extremely proud of the past 16 years!!

AOP
If you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do with them?

Melinda
Run one more hour, sleep one more hour, and watch the news!

AOP
What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Melinda
Famous

AOP
What does a typical day look like for you?

Melinda
• 4:30 or 5 am – get up, head to office, use gym to work out or run or long bike outside
• 7 am – get ready for work
• 8 am – work which includes meetings, interviews, client calls, management of 10, etc.
• Between 4 and 5:30 pm – walk for an hour if I can, or bike, or get manicure – often use for personal time
• 5:30/6 – see the kid! Spend time with Lange, my husband Drew, friends, etc.
• 9:30 or 10 – bed!

AOP
What’s the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning?

Melinda
Emails

AOP
How would you describe yourself in 3 words? How would your friends/family describe you in 3 words?

Melinda
• Very driven
• Outgoing
• Risk taker

AOP
How do you stay organized? Any tips?

Melinda
I am a huge list-maker. Write it down! I think it is hard to remember things unless you actively engage in writing it down and giving yourself completion dates.

AOP
Shifting gears a bit (heh), what is the hardest thing you have done outside of business?

Melinda
Riding my bicycle to Key West, solo. With a lot of traffic very close to me, big trucks. I still shiver.

AOP
What’s your favorite song right now?

Melinda
Hmmmm – can I use anything by Bruce Springsteen or the Grateful Dead?

AOP
And finally, what inspires you?

Melinda
Positive, energetic people.


For more information and to get in touch with Melinda, visit:

Melinda Holm & Associates
7630 Madison St,
Forest Park, IL 60130,
Phone: (708) 488-9701
mholm@melindaholm.com
www.melindaholm.com
Facebook
@melindaholm

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