Steal her secrets series: Mel Trotter VP of Communication answers 25 career questions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Her suit fits just right, she knows everyone in the room, and you can just tell she’s got it going on!  You wish you could be her or simply wish you knew her secret to success. WOTV 4 Women wants to give you a deeper look at the many power women who are helping make West Michigan a thriving place for women at work.  We’re having them dish the details on everything from work life to home life and what has led to their career success.

25 Questions with Abbey Sladick

Meet Abbey Sladick. She’s the Vice President of Communication for Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids and part of the WOTV 4 Women crew focusing on community outreach.  Read on to find out more about this West Michigan power woman and her career.

Question 1: Describe your job and why you love it.

My responsibility at Mel Trotter Ministries is to lead the communication efforts of our rescue mission. Every day my goal is to spread awareness throughout our community so that more people know how God is restoring lives through Mel Trotter Ministries. It is a blessing to meet people who are experiencing homelessness, hear their stories, learn from them and build relationships. I’m privileged to share the stories of our guests with our donors, volunteers and our community so that we can garner more support to serve more people.

On a day to day basis I’m brainstorming stories with the media, helping to plan events, writing stories, strengthening our brand and most importantly working with the MTM team to connect more people from our community with the Mission so we can make a greater impact together.

Question 2: Dig through your purse and tell us three must have items you found and 1 item you were surprised to find.

Well, I just got a new purse so it’s pretty tidy right now. You should have caught me last week. Ah!

Must have: My bright red lipstick, gum, sunglasses

Surprised: I found a piece of Spicchi candy from Perugia. Had a meeting at the JW Marriott the other day and grabbed a handful. 🙂

Question 3: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be Paula Abdul or Madonna when I was a kid. When I got a little older, (middle school) I wanted to be Diane Sawyer. I kept that dream until the day I left the news business in 2011.

Question 4: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t choose a career for the money.

Question 5: What’s the job you’ve had (in your lifetime) that still gives you nightmares?

Uh oh… well, in the TV news business, we call these “news-mares.” I resigned as a TV news reporter in 2011 and 6 years later I still have dreams that I am rushing to edit my story together and I am not going to make my deadline. I’m sweating and disheveled and I still have to go on air. Or, that I have something really embarrassing happen to me during a live shot… and plenty of those moments happened in real life.

Question 6: What’s the best thing you’ve done to advance your career?

Honestly, the best thing I’ve done is to work hard, be a team player and let God lead my path in my career. Aside from my very first job in TV news (blind interview), the rest I landed because of the genuine relationships I’ve built with people and also being known for being a passionately hard worker. I am a big planner and I always like to be prepared, but what I’ve learned is to enjoy the ride, build relationships and learn from people and experiences every chance you get. My career is so much more fulfilling with God in the driver’s seat.

Question 7: Flats or heels?

I prefer heels but my body does not, so thank god chunky heels and wedges are still in!

Question 8: Crying at work? Okay or not okay?

There’s a time and a place for it. I work at a ministry where we often experience devastation and see people at their worst. So sometimes I get emotional when I’m hearing the stories of our guests. Also, in order to be the best team we can be, we need to be vulnerable with each other. My teammates are not just co-workers, they are my family. Every once and a while we cry, but we sure do laugh and rejoice a lot too!

Question 9: Work/life balance? How do you make it work? What time do you “clock out”?

People say there is no such thing as work/life balance, but I think there is… I just haven’t figured it out yet. Ha! I’m so passionate about my work that I’m rarely not thinking about ways we can do better and serve more people. I often have early mornings or late night events so there is no clock in/out time.

Plus, I’m always advocating for the work we do at MTM with my friends and family. I have recently started turning my email off on the weekends. It’s a small step, but helps with rest. My faith and my yoga practice also help balance me out. Self care are my two favorite words right now!

Question 10: Eating lunch at your desk? A do or a don’t?

It’s a “don’t” but I often do it. I would say I eat lunch out with co-workers or acquaintances 3-5 times a week so when I get a chance to bring my own lunch and get some work done it’s a treat! However, I really enjoy eating lunch in our cafeteria with our guests. It’s a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with them and hear their amazing stories!

Question 11: What makes you grateful?

Having the privilege to wake up every day and experience life with my husband and have him there with me through anything that we face together, good or bad.

Question 12: What was your biggest blunder in a job? What did it teach you?

Ok, this is embarrassing! In high school I worked at a clothing store in the mall that sold expensive jeans. When I went to college I was interviewing for a position in the student life office and I told an upperclassmen who was interviewing me that I could tell someone’s personality by the kind of jeans they wear. I backed myself into a corner because I had no idea what that even meant. Who says that?!

Question 13: Describe your morning routine.

Hubby wakes me up, coffee on, get ready, grab coffee, leave house, usually run back in at least once because I’m running late and forgot something.

Question 14: Proudest career moment to date.

I don’t really have a proud career moment, but I once volunteered at the Literacy Center of West Michigan and taught an amazing mom of 3 named Dilma how to speak English/read. It was the most impactful experience of my life. Not because I taught her to read, but because she taught me so much about being a dedicated mom/wife, perseverance and the Guatemalan culture. I’m so proud of Dilma and her bravery to learn!

Question 15: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?

The most important thing in my life is that Jesus will be proud of me at the end of my life.

Question 16: What time did you wake up today?

6:40 a.m.

Question 17: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

1. handshake 2. smile 3. shoes

Question 18: What are you reading right now?

I have a tendency to read several books at once. 1. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg 2. Present Over Perfect Bible Study (highly recommend) 3. Health Care in America (Working on my master’s degree)

Question 19: In a typical day how many emails do you answer?

75-100. Except Wednesdays. I turn my email off and work on my own projects.

Question 20: What’s your favorite TV show?

I rarely watch TV, but it’s hard to pick just one! CBS Sunday Morning, 60 minutes, Project Runway or Intervention.

Question 21: What’s your favorite spot for a meeting in West Michigan?

My all time favorite would be a walking meeting… anywhere. I usually pick the Downtown Market since the Mission is so close and there’s so many options.

Question 22: What’s your favorite app?

My fave app is iSmoothRun. It’s an advanced GPS running app that helps you track your mileage. You can keep track of how many miles you’ve put on a pair of shoes and it even incorporates your existing playlist and even tells you what song you ran the fastest to.

Question 23: What experience in life made you the most nervous?

Marrying my husband is the first thing that comes to mind, but it was the best kind of nervous!!

Question 24: What’s one question you always ask in an interview?

Describe your personal brand.

Question 25: What’s the best part of your job?

Being able to express my faith openly and have a support system of prayer when needed. Also… telling the amazing stories of our guests!

***Do you know a West Michigan Power woman who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name/business and contact info!

Other women featured in this series!


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