Can you have your cake and eat it too? Laurentian alumna Melanie Morin believes you can have it all, when it comes to your career that is. She is proud of how far she has come in her career, which stemmed from one key relationship and blossomed with one innovative idea, to become much more.
Melanie graduated from Laurentian University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English Language and Literature. In her first year, she had committed to courses in English Literature and Education, in hopes of becoming a teacher post-graduation.
University was not an easy experience at first, since she had graduated high school one year earlier than her friends had. She did however make it a purpose from the beginning to focus on her studies and truly find herself and her independence. To her surprise, she enjoyed taking psychology classes, especially with Dr. Cynthia Whissell. “I’ve always loved working with people. Professor Whissell helped me figure out what the best avenue was for me. I really looked up to her for that guidance.” She minored in Psychology and English from that point on, before being launched into a career in the non-profit sector.
Melanie was Manager of Job Development with Northern Vocational Services, where she was helping individuals with disabilities find employment opportunities, when she met Sheri Tomchick. Sheri was and still is the President and CEO of Plan A Long Term Care Staffing & Recruiting, and she was looking for someone to help her carry out her vision for the staffing agency and move it forward. Melanie took a leap of faith, after 10 years of working with the same organization, and she joined Sheri’s team as an Administrative Assistant. She had not known Sheri for very long at that point, but she saw a promising career opportunity and took it. It was a risk that she was glad she took.
Melanie and Sheri found out quickly that running a business would require hiring the right people and finding the right resources. “It is okay to not be knowledgeable in every area of expertise when it comes to business management,” Melanie shares. “Building a solid platform for a brand requires building solid relationships to back it up.”
Both Melanie and Sheri felt that there was a gap to fill with Plan A, as they were spending a lot of time in their workday calling people to fill shifts for their clients. At this point, Sheri had a lightbulb moment where she thought to herself that there had to be a better, timesaving way of going about this. That is when StaffStat became an idea.
The two worked with the local company Sunwire to develop and host a platform that would automatize the call-out process, and even integrate various methods of communication. The tech platform allows the employer to contact all of its employees, by app, phone, email and/or text to fill shifts in an efficient way. Once developed, the new system was working really well to cover Plan A shifts on a regular basis.
Later on, they would learn that there was a need for this type of system in long-term care, and so they started offering the technology to other health care employers in the Sudbury region. Of course, Sheri needed to appoint a leader to the role of CEO and President of StaffStat, and Melanie was a natural fit. She had worked her way up at Plan A, learning about HR, operations, marketing, customer service and finance along the way, with Sheri as her guide, and was incredibly flattered and excited to take on her new role. She had put in the work and she certainly earned this new opportunity.
Today, StaffStat is thriving with 90 organizations and 10,000 users having been on boarded in the past four years and counting. StaffStat also earned Top Innovation recognition at the Innovator's Den at the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s conference in 2016, as well as the Innovation Award as part of the 2017 Bell Business Excellence Awards from the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
Not only is Melanie a forward-thinking community leader, she is also an active volunteer. She just participated in the 2019 Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars and, under her leadership, StaffStat is currently collecting new and gently-used shoes as donations for Soles4Souls, in support of “Wearing Out Poverty” around the world. She has also volunteered in the community of Sudbury with the Sudbury Women’s Centre and the Elgin Street Mission, and she is an active Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce ambassador.
Being a self-proclaimed creative soul, Melanie is co-owner of Scrappy Sisters Photography, alongside her sister, as well as one-half of the well-known local acoustic duo Chicks with Picks. When she is not busy progressing her career or her passions, Melanie can be seen watching a Toronto Maple Leafs or Toronto Blue Jays games, or spending time with her family, including her two boys. “I feel so lucky to be able to fill my plate with things that I love.” Melanie is lucky enough to have found her dream job. She has pride in her support system, including her friends, family, and work team, who help make that a reality.