Customer Relationship Leader
The notion of a cross country road trip is alluring, with its images of the wide open road and picturesque landscapes. In reality, a journey from California to Massachusetts covers about 3,000 miles and includes 45 hours of drive time, depending on the route. The sheer thought of planning such a venture stops many in their tracks. As for the open road? “It’s quite an experience, but you see more trucks than anything else,” laughs Melanie Roberge, who has made the drive three times.
Mel is an expert in big moves and learning on the fly. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she moved to the United States at the tender age of five. Unable to speak a lick of English, Mel learned the language through trial and error in a kindergarten classroom. Mel’s adoptive father is a Marine, so Mel grew up in areas like California’s Mojave Desert and even spent some time in Hawaii. As a child, she traveled across the country often to summer on Cape Cod with her grandparents. Mel liked Massachusetts so much that she left the west coast permanently at 22 and drove east with her daughter. “There were more opportunities for the both of us,” she recalls.
In California, Mel worked in early childhood education. In Massachusetts, she entered sales. A big career change can be daunting, but not for Mel. She discovered passion in her new professional path working in Avery Dennison’s adhesive and products division. She relished the role’s reliance on diversity and learning. From there, Mel spent 13 years selling for a safety and industrial supply distributor just 25 miles from our Devens HQ. That company quickly became a second family. Its owner even helped Mel reconnect with her sister in South Korea. That company is also where we met Mel.
Mel joined Laddawn in 2017 as a Customer Relationship Partner (CRP). She was responsible for helping speed the flow of her customers’ businesses. It was the perfect balance of learning and service for which Mel has become so accomplished. It came as no surprise then, when she was promoted to the position of CR Leader in 2019. She now leads her own team.
This summer Mel added warehouse worker to her resume. As America’s pandemic-related labor shortages affected businesses across the nation, she was among the first to volunteer to help. Clad in steel toed shoes and trained to work safely, Mel and a handful of others worked in our Sterling warehouse. “The knowledge I gained gave me the ability to speak to my customers on a different level,” she notes. It was not lost on Mel that the trucks she loaded were just like those she has seen in her cross-country travels.
When Mel’s not at work, she is learning at home, too – a superb self-taught seamstress, baker and cook. She’s also finishing her business degree. “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know,” Einstein famously said. That thought might stop some in their tracks. For Mel, the expert in big moves and learning on the fly, it’s just how she thinks.