Summit Spotlight: Melissa Kelley
Owner/CEO, J.F. Kruse Jewelers
We are so excited that Melissa is joining us at the 2022 Women of Influence Summit on Friday, September 16 to share a powerful and personal story filled with truth, humor, and even time travel. To help you get to know Melissa better check out her answers to our interview questions below:
What does a typical day look like for you?
- Wake up before the rest of my family and exercise, either cardio or weights.
- Wake my girls up, pack lunches, and get them ready for school/their day.
- Get myself ready, then off to work!
- I spend most of my day at J.F. Kruse: managing the business finances, working with customers, connecting with and helping my co-workers, and working on the long-term vision of the business. (Between J. F. Kruse, managing the finances for my husband’s business, and having two little girls, I have had to get really good at managing my time.)
- Pick up both girls from their schools, head home to have dinner as a family (my husband is a much better cook than I am, so he usually makes dinner).
- Play with our girls for the evening.
- Put our girls to bed at 8 p.m.; wrap up any work items from the day and get ready for tomorrow.
- Relax for a bit with my husband, read, or watch late night episodes of Friends that I can pretty much recite by memory!
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love having the opportunity to enrich the life of the person I’m working with. Sometimes that means helping them design their dream piece of jewelry, or helping someone find the perfect engagement ring for their bride; other times, it means offering a listening ear and a hug for someone going through a difficult situation, or making someone laugh that doesn’t often get the opportunity to connect with others. I absolutely love adding a little “sparkle” to people’s day and leaving their lives a little brighter and more joyful than before.
How do you spend your free time?
Above all else, I love to spend time with my husband and our two girls – family time is my favorite! I also love to read, play piano, and paint. In addition, I’m love anything where I can be active – I love to run, play basketball, play tennis, and golf.
What’s on your summer reading list?
The One Thing by Gary Keller. Time management is one thing, but spending that time wisely is also vital. I’m working on making sure I’m doing the right things with my time to make sure I’m truly working towards creating the life I want.
How has Next Monday been of value to you and/or your career?
I believe in surrounding myself with people that will elevate me and make me better. Next Monday has and continues to provide this in my life in a big way. I am continually connecting with women who are strong, smart, fun, driven, and I see how they are living their lives, and they inspire me to work harder to be the best version of myself.
What are you looking forward to at the Women of Influence Summit in September?
There is a certain power in the room at the Women’s Summit that is unlike anything I’ve experienced at other events. Between the stories shared and the connections made, the women that attend leave the event changed, different, and better. I love being able to see and feel those transformations happening throughout the day.
What are you hoping to share with fellow attendees at the Women of Influence Summit?
I hope to show everyone the power of being real. So often, especially as women, we feel like we need to give the appearance that we have it all together. Our hair needs to be perfect, our kids need to be perfect, our marriage needs to be perfect, our outfit needs to be perfect, our house needs to be perfect – we strive to project confidence and control. When we see another woman who we believe has a cuter outfit, a more beautiful body, or a life that we want, it sometimes makes us feel insecure, unworthy, and less. I hope that through my message, everyone woman in the room will feel and know that we are all perfectly imperfect, and that the freedom found in being real and authentic is magical. We all have bad hair days. We all make mistakes. We all have dealt with our kids throwing a tantrum at an inopportune, public time. We have all had arguments with our spouse. We have all hated our bodies at one time or another. I truly hope that the women there will hear my story and feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a black belt in karate. I also once ate an entire two pound bacon cheeseburger – and fries – on a dare.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
What is your favorite meal?
Pasta, wine, salad, and strawberry cheesecake.
How do you keep a healthy work-life balance?
We often use the terms “juggling” and “keeping all of the balls in the air” when we refer to our work-life balance. What is interesting is that when a person is juggling, they are only holding one ball at a time; they then release it to keep the others in motion. I believe that it is vital to work when I’m supposed to be working, play when I’m supposed to be playing, and rest when I’m supposed to be resting. It is a juggling act – drop any one of the “balls” in your life – work, family, health, friends, integrity – and you will feel the effects. Just like a juggler must never go too long without counterbalancing, I strive to let things in my life take precedence when they should. Do I have this mastered? Definitely not!! And, I work at it every day. I believe that living a counterbalanced life will allow me to create the life I want.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Tangible? A spontaneous, random note from my 6 year old on her Magna Doodle that said, “you are the best mom”.
Intangible? God’s love. While I still don’t full comprehend it, understanding that I am God’s child and that He loves me beyond measure gave me a different level of confidence than I ever thought possible. Knowing that He loves me even more than I love my own children? That is a powerful love, and one that has changed my life.