Forty Under 40

Melissa Tyrone


Written By: Business Magazine


Name:
Melissa Tyrone
Birthdate:
May 30, 1980

Where were you born?
Lake City, FL

What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc)
I am a member of the Rotary Club of Gainesville, serve on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals North Central Florida Chapter, I am a member of the Women’s Giving Circle, and I volunteer with the Friends of Dudley Farm.

What is your definition of success?
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is success.”          —Unknown
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Being entrusted to lead Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida and reaching my professional goal of leading an important, impactful nonprofit as executive director. I consider it my greatest professional accomplishment that I reached that goal in my early 30s.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional?
If the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional is making a difference in the Gainesville community, then I think I am living that spirit every day I work to lead my organization and serve the families who travel to Gainesville to take advantage of our world class medical resources.  One of the hallmarks of Gainesville is hospitality and community-mindedness. I think my role in helping seriously ill children and their families exemplifies that spirit.
Businessperson who has most inspired you:
Warren Buffett inspires me. He is a self-made man who, despite his incredible business acumen, doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has achieved his success while adhering to a strict code of ethics and is as dedicated to giving his money away as he has been to making it. But, my favorite thing about him is that he isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong and sees failure as an opportunity to learn.
Best advise ever received:
This is not a dress rehearsal!
Greatest professional challenge:
In my profession, I work with families who are contending with their worst nightmare: the serious illness of their child. My biggest challenge is staying grounded as our families experience the most crushing sorrow and the greatest joy—sometimes simultaneously!
First job:
I was a bounty hunter as a kid. My mom would pay my sister, brother, and me to kill flies in the house. We earned 25 cents for every dead fly! I supplemented my income in those days by collecting pop bottles and turning them in for the 10-cent deposit. Both were very competitive businesses. You had to be determined!

What color crayon would you be? Why?
I would probably be one of those crayons that are several colors smashed together. Sometimes I am red, fast paced and bold. Other times I am pink, girly and sensitive. My staff would call me yellow, upbeat and sunny.  But, at home, I am a chilled out blue, easy going and a little boring.

Favorite after-work drink:
Shirley Temple

If I had a magic wand, I’d:
Remind myself every day to use my powers for good and not evil…

What is your favorite Gadget?
I love my iPhone. Seriously, I think I have an unhealthy relationship with it. It keeps me on schedule, informed, amused, connected with my loved ones, on budget, eating well, going in the right direction, and in style. My favorite apps are Amazon, Weight Watchers, GoogleMaps, and Reminders.

How long have you been in Gainesville?
I grew up in White Springs, about 40 minutes north, so going to the “big city” was going to Gainesville. The Oaks Mall was the big time to us! I have lived and worked in Alachua county for 6 years.

What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County?
I love the fact that our community is the perfect blend of a small town with a global reach. We have the best of both worlds—we know everyone in the grocery store, but can access world-class medicine, arts, music, and ideas.

Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
I took an actual basket weaving class in college (but it wasn’t underwater). 2) My husband and I dated for seven days before becoming engaged. 3) I read at least one book per week.
Advice you would give a younger you:
It isn’t the destination, it is the journey that counts (and the style in which you arrive)!

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