Keep Moving Forward.
These three words have become a professional and personal mantra to Melissa Sizemore. As an Implementation Trainer III, she works closely with new and current Members that are preparing for migrations. Along the way, she takes great care to develop personal relationships and understand each utility’s uniqueness. This allows her to customize her approach and helps each utility progress towards their goal. But Melissa is also a two-time breast cancer survivor, who is living her best life by cherishing every moment and surrounding herself with loved ones. She keeps moving forward through the days, weeks, months, and years.
We’d love to learn more about you! When did you join Meridian and what is your current role?
I joined the team three years ago, in July 2019. My current title is Implementation Trainer III, and it is my job to prepare our current and new Members for upcoming migrations. Specifically, I train them how to use the financial tools inside the Meridian platform. We offer live webinars, on-site courses, and support for each Go-Live. We typically spend about two weeks at the Member’s site during and after each Go-Live. This allows us to run interference on any issues that may arise.
What part does your team play in the implementation process?
Recently, we have become more involved, attending all pre-migration calls with our Members-Customers. We function as liaisons between our Members and Implementation Services, so it is important for us to develop close personal relationships with them before the migration takes place. This has really paid off, and we now position ourselves as knowledgeable partners in the process, making sure that items specific to the utility are not missed. An employee may ask a specific question during training that causes us to regroup with the lead implementers. It is maintaining the line of communication in both directions.
How do you ensure your training is relevant and memorable? Is there a particular formula you follow?
We know that adults learn differently than kids, so we take that into account. It’s also vital for us to remember that, in addition to Meridian training, our Members-Customers are still doing their regular jobs. With this in mind, we are constantly adjusting to their feedback about what is most useful and helpful to them. The more we learn about their unique applications, processes, scenarios, and people; the more effective we become. Every utility is unique, and we do not underestimate this.
This month’s “Better Together” feature explores Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why is this significant to you?
As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I believe there is great value in spreading awareness. When I was first diagnosed more than a decade ago, I urged my mom and sister to get checked. As a result, they both learned they had breast cancer and were able to treat it early. We have been very blessed.
For a lot of companies, Breast Cancer Awareness Month represents a marketing opportunity. For me, it’s much more personal. It’s about open conversations, encouraging family and friends to have regular screenings.
How do you recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month with friends and family?
This is a deeply personal choice for everyone who has been affected. Every story is different, and each situation is unique. For me, it’s a celebration of a sisterhood that I didn’t know before cancer; and a reminder to enjoy the moment and take one thing at a time. As a company, I would also love to see our managers encourage employees to take two hours a year to get their regular mammograms. I am glad that there are national awareness campaigns (Pink Ribbon, October Breast Cancer Awareness Month) but it has taken a long time for me to personally embrace “pink”.
How has your wellness journey transformed your daily routine?
Especially after my second round of cancer, which took place during the pandemic. I became very aware of how little time I was taking for myself. So, I joined the meditation club, started taking walks, slept in more often, and occasionally relaxed with a good television show. I am much more aware of balancing work and life, while taking time for me. In life, we are never promised the next second, minute, hour, or day. So, I say, “I love you” every chance I get.
Any advice or words or encouragement for other survivors?
Find your support group. Don’t turn down help. Keep moving forward.
If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
To be loved, and for all my family and friends to know how much I love them. It’s the people in your life that matter. I wish they all knew how much they mean to me. Life is too short to ever wonder.