Recognizing And Celebrating Others — Including Our Own Founder

It was a hot and humid June morning in Houston, Texas, and I was uncomfortably eight months pregnant with twin boys. I could hear my 2-year-old daughter giggling as she played in the other room with her grandpa while I took a phone call that would prove to be life-changing. 

The call was with Melissa Mathews. I had not seen or talked to Melissa in about five years, but I felt compelled to reconnect with her as my life was about to change. I was about to become a mom to three kids under three, and I thought, “How will I juggle it all? How will I continue to be the professional I want to be and the mom I need to be?” 

I was familiar with Melissa’s agency model. She founded The Mathews Group at a pivotal point in her life, too. After successful tenures at CNN and NASA, she had entered her most important role yet, motherhood, and she was taking on a life full of international moves as the wife of a U.S. Foreign Service member. She needed a portable career and boldly envisioned building a company that would employ the best talent, no matter where they lived or where they might be in life’s transitions. She believed if you gave talented people the freedom they needed to work, they would exceed every expectation. 

That’s precisely the model I was seeking. And later on that same June day, I went into labor and brought two of the best things that ever happened to me into the world.  

Seven months later, I reached back out to Melissa and said I was ready to get to work. I started off slowly, only biting off the workload I could chew while still balancing motherhood. Now, my twins are four and my daughter is six and I’ve been proudly part of The Mathews Group, now known as Spring Green Communications, ever since. 

It was my honor and privilege to nominate Melissa for a Ragan Top Women in Communications award for building a visionary company that has changed the lives and careers of many women, including me. When I found out that she had won in the Leaders category, I couldn’t have been happier for her. She is a humble, compassionate leader who genuinely cares about her people and empowers them to be their best selves and deliver their best work. 

When I accompanied Melissa to New York City in June for the award luncheon, it was the first time we’d seen each other in person in about nine years, but thanks to the virtual agency model she pioneered, we never missed a beat. She built a culture at Spring Green that immediately draws you in and connects you to colleagues across the globe. It’s a unique and special thing, and I’m happy to be a part of it. 

So cheers to you, Melissa, on this well-deserved honor. And cheers to the fantastic group of women on the complete list of honorees. It was inspiring to be in the room with hundreds of accomplished women who have spent their careers advocating for employees, communities and customers, serving as communications leaders during times of crisis and joy. 

The moral of this highly personal story is this: Don’t ever pass on the opportunity to recognize someone who has made a difference in your life or has done exceptional work. Staying grateful keeps us humble, and we should all take a little more time to lift up those around us. 

by Nellie Betzen