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Conversations with Melissa Hindermann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Hindermann.

Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
Coming onto the Rochester Women Magazine team was a huge gift that fell out of the sky. During the pandemic, I quickly realized that my former career was no longer a good fit. Woefully, I found out that the people I worked with did not value diversity, inclusion, and women empowerment as I do.

For almost two years, I moped around my home in my underwear, weeping over pints of ice cream, wondering, “What else is there?” Where else can I find a career that will offer me the same high flexibility and income I already had, where I’ll also have the opportunity to utilize my skills, talents, and beliefs?

BAM! Here comes Rochester Women Magazine falling from the sky. A friend of mine referred me to the magazine owner, Emily, for a job, but she never called me! I guess being in Paris is an acceptable excuse. Anyway, I didn’t think much of it until a couple of weeks later. I attended a release party for the magazine’s Nov/Dec issue. I watched helplessly as Emily ran around trying to do it all herself. Because Emily didn’t have a history of reaching out to me, I grabbed her contact info and messaged her shortly after the event. As I teased her for it, I told her that I’d be a perfect choice if she needed an event coordinator. At our lunch date two weeks later, I thought, “Eh, it’s just a local magazine. If it’s not a fit, I can find something else.”

During our two-hour conversation, I quickly learned that RWM isn’t just a magazine. The vision Emily has for this publication is much more. Like VoyageMinnesota, RWM focuses on being authentic and inclusive. She dreamed of creating fun events and being a resource that supports and empowers women of all backgrounds. After hearing Emily’s passion for building an inclusive community, I left that meeting like, “This is it! This is what I’ve been looking for!”

Today, I happily work closely with Emily elevating almost all parts of our magazine to build something beautiful, empowering, fun, and welcome to all.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest struggle was leaving my former career. To me, it was more than a job. It was my lifestyle, my habits, my identity. Through that career, I grew into a stronger woman with high confidence and self-esteem. I learned to be the best, happy, healthy, excited version of myself and teach others to do the same. Unfortunately, no high position or amount of money could convince me to stay in a place where the leadership was using religion to justify their hate toward people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. I felt ashamed to be associated with those people. I was gaslighted, disputed, and ignored when I brought my concerns to the other leadership. Feeling unheard and unappreciated, I walked away. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I left some good people behind; I’m still hurting over it. The thing about life, though when one door closes, more open. Throughout that challenging experience, I learned that my identity does not lie with my career. That career was simply a vehicle to serve my REAL identity – a women empowerer for all women no matter what color, background, or culture. I didn’t need to stay in my position to continue doing that. Empowering women is my lifestyle, and I will do that no matter where or what.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As the Outreach Coordinator and Events Director for Rochester Women Magazine, I focus on increasing our reach and hosting fun events for the local community. Other projects I work on are social media, distribution, sales, and writing. Through our print publication, website, social media, and events, we’re focusing on delivering empowering content while building a strong community. I’m most proud of being able to support the magazine owner, Emily, in whatever she needs to bring her vision for this magazine to life.

What sets me apart is that I have high energy, a positive, uplifting mindset, and a strong will to get things done. Sometimes it’s hard to find all three in one person. Sometimes “fun” people aren’t productive, and “productive” people aren’t fun. When working, my goal is always to efficiently check off boxes while we laugh and make connections with others.

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking.
My personality is highly risk-prone. I’m adventurous and believe that taking risks makes life worth living. It’s what brings joy, fun, and excitement to the world. I’ve taken lots of risks over my twenty-nine years on this planet. For me, the thing about risks is that after I make that initial leap, I no longer see them as “risks.” I see them as a part of my identity and my accomplishments. Some things I’ve done that can count as “taking a risk” are starting a new business at twenty-one and leaving it eight years later, writing a book, rock climbing, returning to school, etc. Like all risks, those things were scary and challenging at first, but now, they’re just things I love to do.

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