In Episode #2 of the EWI Legacy Stories Project, meet Melissa Reitkopp, an executive recruiter and career coach with decades of experience working with clients and professionals. Melissa is also a former Empowered Women International board member, volunteer mentor, and trusted advisor. During our conversation, we discussed her career and professional interests and explored some of the significant transitions during the evolution of the Empowered Women International program.
Melissa heard about EWI through a candidate she placed at a job. She was invited to be a guest speaker at a class and remembers her first impressions of the program. “I have lived all over the world, and people have helped me so much. I’ve been to Guatemala, didn’t speak any Spanish, and lived in Europe and other places. And people were always so helpful to me, so when I went to the class, I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was interactive, and the women were so amazing and impressive. And everybody brought something to the table; everyone contributed to the conversation.”
At that moment, she instantly felt connected to the organization. She was interested in empowering women and the underprivileged and career coaching. EWI was an excellent fit for her! She joined as a board officer and worked with EWI for over five years. It was a small non-profit, and the board worked hard to maintain funding and continue the programs.
In 2017, the board decided that EWI should join a larger organization. “Maybe we weren’t intended to be a standalone organization. Maybe we could impact more lives and have a better balance and flow for everybody by merging with a larger organization.” EWI joined long-time partner LEDC in 2017.
Why does Melissa think people should support the EWI program, and why has she continued to do so all these years?
“I know that people don’t want charity. People want to be able to help themselves. And I believe that EWI and LEDC give people the skills they need and the access they want to help themselves…I think of entrepreneurship to gain economic empowerment, especially for women. Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of microfinance, says that women are the backbone of families. And that is why I think people should support EWI and LEDC, and that’s why I continue to do it. I want to help people help themselves.”
Watch Melissa’s interview to hear more about her story, learn more about how the EWI program grew and made critical decisions, and about her impressive work as a recruiter and career coach!
You can find Melissa and her company, Reitkopp Recruiting, on her website and social media:
Facebook: @CareerCompass2 (20+) Reitkopp Recruiting/Career Compass | Facebook