Melanie Charlton

Tell us about your background: What do you do now, where did you get your start?

I went to undergrad in South Carolina and moved to Annapolis after a career in design and agencies. I then decided to start own company. I was offered the role of CEO at a prior start up I worked for but ended up turning that down. It did prompt me to think about starting my own firm and ended up being the catalyst for starting Brllnt, the creative design and marketing agency I currently run. I left that first startup and signed my first two clients in 2014. From there on out. I have been running the company with my business partner, Julie. 

How do you believe you use your strengths in the context of your work?

My strengths – like Disruption, Risk – lend themselves to problem-solving and designing a new approach for businesses. These strengths also help with prospecting new clients, growing the agency and building meaningful relationships. Risk is one of my top strengths – meaning I can take risk wells and am not afraid to. This strength has been helpful in navigating difficulties and challenges – I can find objective approaches to solve problems and build stronger relationships.

Why did you join/start your current company?

Right opportunity at the right time. 

What has been an unexpected challenge along the way?

Splitting up with my former business partner. It was a split that needed to happen but it was hard. It had an effect on me both personally and professionally

Who or what motivates you?

Tackling challenges and problems. I am very motivated by solving hard problems. I am naturally a ‘pleaser’ and look to make things a win – win for everyone. I am most motivated by finding a way to solve problems that everyone enjoys

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

From my college advisor: ‘you don’t have to know what you want to do, you just have to know what you want to do next’
From a recent GW Event, Michael Lastoria – &pizza ‘Your success is directly proportional to the number of difficult conversations you’re willing to have’

Was there a moment in your life where you decided to change paths/pivot? If so, what was it?

In 2014, I started a business with my brother which was the first pivot from my previous role. The next pivot was starting over again in 2016. 

What is one word that describes your leadership style?


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