#ImAGirlBoss: Melanie Starling

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NAME: MELANIE STARLING
AGE: 24
CITY:NEW YORK
INDUSTRY: RADIO
NOMINATED BY: LINDSEY CALDWELL
TWITTER: @MelanieStarling
INSTAGRAM: @MelanieStarling

Tell us what you do!

I work for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. I currently produce two national political news talk programs.

Did you go to college? If so, where?

I studied Business Marketing and minored in Communications at Texas A&M University. Gig’Em Aggies! (Graduated in 2012).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

When I grew up I wanted to be Diane Sawyer. I would sit in front of the TV before school mesmerized as I learned the news of the day from her and her co-host Charlie Gibson (later Robin Roberts). I loved the way she humanized stories, and hoped that someday I would be able to do the same. Fast forward about 10 years to college where I had the incredible opportunity to intern for her on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer. To quote Walt Disney, “ If you can dream it, do it.” Well I did, and it was a dream come true.

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

The summer before my senior year of college, I interned in New York for a political talk program at SiriusXM and ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. It was an incredible summer. I was working for two of the most prominent media companies in their respective fields, and gaining the experience (and contacts) of a lifetime. I made an effort to keep in touch with those contacts after going back to school. Before I knew it, graduation came around and I crossed the stage… without a job offer. Though I had kept in touch with the companies I had interned for, they were in a “hiring freeze.” Thanks to the recession, many media companies were in the midst of layoffs. The job market was terrifyingly bleak. (Cue my obstacle). In the interim, I nannied throughout the summer and applied for what I called the “black hole job market” which consisted of nearly every online media job posting I could find. After creatively introducing myself to the news director at the local news station in Dallas, I landed my first post-grad job as a production assistant for the morning news show at NBC. I worked there for about six months before I got a call from New York asking me to help produce the radio program on SiriusXM I had originally interned for during college. I was completely thrilled! Answering that call meant I was moving back to my favorite city, and working for a national radio show with a team I already knew and admired!

 

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Any obstacles along the way?

Yes. The post-recession job market. It sucked. (See above.) 

Who is your idol?



My mother. She’s always been the strongest person I know. She was an accountant, but cut her career short to raise my sister and me. Then, she went back to school once we were older to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Watching her realize her new dream, go back to school while raising two girls, and then go on to excel in the medical field proved to me that it is never too late to reimagine your future. You just have to be willing to step up to the challenge of making it happen.

What are three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are?

Hard work, persistence, and passion.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Honestly, I don’t know. I used to try to plan out my career and tell myself I had to reach this benchmark at this point, but I’ve come to find the best opportunities often catch you by surprise. Instead, I’ve found the best thing you can do for your professional future is work hard everyday, remain passionate about your work, and keep yourself open to whatever experience or opportunity comes your way.

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Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

A Girl Boss is a woman who knows what she wants, and is willing to put forth the effort to make those aspirations tangible.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

Is it on sale? I’m an outlet mall, clearance, final sale fashion queen. For example, I love my new J. Crew dress, because it’s comfortable, classic, and easily transitions to almost every season. But I love it most, because I got it on super sale for $35.

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

My St. Ives apricot face wash. Nothing feels better than washing away the weight of the day, and feeling completely refreshed.

Go-to nail color?

I’m currently wearing a lovely royal blue shade, but I love changing up my color from bright pink to mocha, and everything in between. If this radio career fails someday, I always joke my back-up plan is to be the person who names nail polish colors. 

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Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

Lauren Berger’s Welcome to the Real World is a great beginners manual to getting started in the workplace after graduation. Her advice comes from starting her own company, making her an inspirational #GirlBoss to me.

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?

A glass of red wine remedies almost anything.

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Halsey’s “Ghost” and James Bay’s “Let it Go” have been on replay in my apartment for the last month. I’m sure my neighbors hate me.

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?

Beyonce’s “I Was Here.” It’s not your typical female empowerment song, but I love the premise of leaving a “footprint” or legacy that positively impacts others.

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

Fashion designer and wrap dress icon Diane Von Furstenberg once said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to be.” This stuck with me. Being a young woman in my 20s (especially in the post-grad world), I relate to feeling overwhelmed with the weight of the question of “What do I want to be when I grow up?” or “What exactly is my endgame here?” However, I have always had a strong sense of self, and I, like Ms. Von Furstenberg, believe that as long as you know who you are, and the type person you want to be, what you do will fall in place in due time.

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

Before I moved to New York, my uncle told me ,“It is important to follow your dreams, but it is equally important to realize that as you grow, your dreams grow and change too.” It doesn’t mean the new dreams are any less great than the original ones, but it is imperative to recognize the difference, and to not be afraid to alter your original plan to achieve your new end goal.

Advice to future Girl Bosses:

Encourage and help one another. No Girl Boss can do it on her own, and we are a more powerful force when we work together anyway.

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Follow Melanie’s Girl Boss journey on Twitter + Instagram!

Do YOU know a Girl Boss? Nominate her in the comments! And, HEY — if you share this article, be sure to use #ImAGirlBoss!

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