Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Melville
Tell us a bit about your work history:
After earning a BA in Economics from Carleton College with additional courses at the U of M Carlson school in Accounting, I worked as a CPA for Ernst & Young's audit division from 1992-1997 focused on the entrepreneurial services and not-for profit industries. In 1997 I joined ADC Telecommunications and served as manager of the Project Management Office and International Integration Program Manager. After three years at home with two children. I began leading Professional Services and Operations teams for SaaS software companies that serve the HR department.
A Colorado native, my husband Dan and I have lived in Atlanta, Singapore, Europe and Des Moines before returning to the Twin Cities in 2011.
When did you first get involved with WomenVenture
WomenVenture was my back in the early ‘90’s, I audited their annual financial statements. After learning about their great programs and seeing how well managed they were, I volunteered as a trainer for the early 90's version of the Guided Business Plan class. I taught classes and created case studies for the material. Once we moved back to the Twin Cities and my kids were older, I reached out to WomenVenture again in the summer of 2016 to rejoin as a trainer and mentor.
What surprises you most about working with WV clients?
I'm not sure it's surprising, but I love the fascinating diversity of our clients on so many levels - the variety of business ideas and the diversity across race, class, country of origin, age, formal education level, socio-economic level, past careers. But all with a great idea and ready to learn how to help bring it to reality.
What do you think will change about women entrepreneurship and women owned business in Minnesota in the future?
If the recent Guided Business Plan cohort is an indication of the future, women-owned small businesses are caring about their employees beyond an inexpensive labor source. In our last class, many of the small business owners were already thinking about career paths, professional development and how to provide low cost flexibility and perks to their future employees, even if the entrepreneurs knew they couldn't yet afford better pay.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering with WV?
I think this is a good match for a volunteer who embraces and is inspired by the creativity and intelligence of our clients across the broad range of life experiences that have led them to small business ownership. It's incredibly rewarding to use your professional skills to help women who are going to be creating jobs for themselves and others.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I have played ultimate frisbee, a team sport like soccer or football but with a frisbee, with college and club teams that reached the semis in Nationals, as well as played on the US National Team at the World Championships in Japan. Retired from active playing, I now coach middle school ultimate for my kids' team.