Dean Hall on the Dean College Campus in the spring

Dean Leadership Institute wrapped up the Spring 2022 Leadership in Action series by welcoming Melissa Smith over Zoom. Smith is the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Floor & Decor, a Fortune 1000 retailer that specializes in hard surface flooring. Smith attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in sociology, earned an MBA from Johnson & Wales University and maintains a Senior HR Professional (SPHR) designation.

Smith spoke about her experiences through her career journey, the importance of mentors and advocates and advised students about how to thrive in the workforce. She said, "Invest in your development. Never stop learning. Learn through free resources, TED Talks, LinkedIn Learning and signing up for a business organization related to what you are doing. Start getting your name out there and start networking. Build those relationships. It’s a bit like a bank - you can’t make withdrawals until you make deposits.”

When asked about making mistakes, Smith said, “If you don’t make mistakes, then you’re never going to learn. We can always make one mistake, but don’t make the same mistake twice. My biggest mistake was not believing in myself early enough. Once I got past that hurdle, I was golden. I didn’t stop making mistakes, but I didn’t let them define me.”

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with our students, Melissa Smith! For more information about past and future speakers, visit Dean Leadership Institute.