Get to know Melissa Garcia…

her busy life, her career philosophy and one thing she really, really wants!

From Debbie Freeman, BDI Contributing Writer

When does that girl sleep?

That’s a logical question one might ask after learning BDI’s Melissa Garcia works two jobs, helps care for her aging parents and often binge-watches shows on Netflix or Hulu well into the wee hours. Her recent favorites are “American Horror Story” and “13 Reasons Why.”

“It’s like I just have to have another hour,” she says. “I literally cannot stop!” 

But if her sparkling eyes, bright smile and ever-bubbly personality are any indication, she gets plenty of rest. And judging by her dedication to her role as a BDI Project Coordinator, she lets nothing stand in the way of a job well done.

Working remotely, Melissa creates campaign schedules to ensure details are addressed, milestones are met and jobs are deployed on time. Responsible for the Thank You and Press Release processes, she also manages the year-long Momentum program that acknowledges middle donors for their extraordinary generosity. “It’s a complex project so it’s really cool to build it out and see it go through,” she says. 

Yet her skills extend far beyond the scope of project management. 

A 2015 graduate of California State University, Northridge, she earned a BA in communication studies. After graduation she worked through a temporary agency, which placed her in positions at media companies including iHeartRadio, Entercom Communications and NBC, before connecting her with BDI and the role that has become her 9-to-5 job. 

Then at night and most weekends, she continues to work from home for NBC, trafficking commercials that live stream on Peacock and NBC sports.

“It can be crazy going from my day job to that one,” Melissa says. But she has learned to be versatile and switch gears on the fly. She’s also grateful for the diversity of experience she’s gained over the years and the philosophy that provides the foundation for her career.

“I’ve learned that you can’t take shortcuts. You need to feel through every experience to build a better environment for the next. For example, if there was something stressful or that I disliked about a past job, I knew how to handle the situation or react to it in my next job. Like my mom would say, ‘No baby gets up and runs.’”

The opportunity to work both jobs remotely has been a blessing for Melissa, allowing her to more conveniently manage family responsibilities, especially during the pandemic. She shares a Pasadena townhouse with her sister and elderly parents, and the girls help their folks with laundry, cooking, grocery shopping and other everyday chores. 

“It’s so great that we’re together and they’re healthy,” she says. But there’s just one thing that would make their home more complete…

“I’ve been dying to have a cat! I could take cat videos… I could dress it up… I could take it everywhere. You’ve seen those animal backpacks? I could take my cat to the mall!”

Yes, somehow she finds time for shopping — and other activities that bring peace to the busy pace of her life. “I love going to the gym and things like doing my nails and being with friends.” She also enjoys discovering new brunch venues with outdoor seating and views of the sky and clouds. “It makes me feel like I’m on vacation,” she says.

And sometimes late at night, when her binge-watching episodes have run dry, she takes a few moments to think about her future.

She enjoys her work at BDI and is grateful to be part of a process that ultimately impacts people and communities in so many positive ways. Taking no shortcuts, she hopes to grow with the company, embracing each and every experience and learning more about project management and marketing.

“And one day I will have a cat!” she vows, before grabbing a few hours of sleep.

  • Debbie Freeman

    Debbie Freeman, Contributing Writer

    Throughout her 30+ year career in direct marketing and fundraising, Debbie has held positions in client service, creative management and copywriting. She’s worked for a number of organizations, including Hallmark Cards, Unity School of Christianity, Resource & Development Group and Summit Marketing, and has served nonprofit clients such as The Salvation Army and American Red Cross.

    In 2009, she turned her attention solely to nonprofit fundraising as a senior copywriter for ENEX Group, creating appeals, newsletters and marketing materials for Rescue Missions across the country. She continued in that capacity when the company merged with Brewer Direct in 2016, and today, partners with BDI as a contributing writer to pitch in whenever her talents are needed.

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