#WhyIVolunteer with Melissa Gudaitis
Name: Melissa Gudaitis
Hometown: South San Francisco, CA!!
Your first job: Baskin Robbins-Ice Cream Scooper!
Your current job: General Manager of Human Resources (HR) at Old Navy
What do you love about your career?
I get to impact people’s lives. My favorite part is fostering their strengths so they can become amazing at something they are already good at.
How did you hear about Enterprise? How long have you been a volunteer/mentor/etc?
I heard about Enterprise through Old Navy volunteers, and my boss Molly (Old Navy Regional Human Resource Manager of Greater SF Region, This Way Ahead SF City Leader) mentioned I should try it. I just finished week 6 of volunteering!
Why do you volunteer?
Because any little bit helps. I know how hard it can be to have confidence as a teen, or even just to know the right thing to do at a younger age. I want to be able to teach the youth what I wish I had known at that age, and give them a great starting-off point!
Can you tell me about a mentor who was important in your professional development?
I had an old mentor who was amazing to me at first, and then had personal issues that didn’t allow that connection to continue to flourish. As I was growing, she helped to form my leadership identity by giving me key learning experiences. She promoted me three times, and allowed me to be present for developmental learning situations so I could get a ton of hands-on learning with a multitude of situations. Although our relationship did not continue to be positive, that situation also taught me the type of leader I don’t want to be when times get tough. She, unknowingly, was able to teach me both ends of the spectrum, which I fully appreciate in hindsight.
What’s your favorite part of working with Enterprise for Youth?
Connecting with the youth, finally! I do think presenting is fun and sharing my unique point of view in a relatable way is also rewarding. After five weeks I’ve had some of the youth ask me for specific feedback away from the group, and expressed how they hope they can work for me during their internship!
What advice do you have for a student applying for their first job?
First is to practice impromptu questions as much as possible. It is a great brain exercise to help with interviews. Next, I’d explain to them how important it is to take the job seriously. Being able to practice being responsible and reliable at a young age, with school and friends as competing but necessary priorities, can only help for great habits in their future endeavors.