The Leadership Spotlight is shining brightly on newly sworn in BOMA San Diego President Melanie Bamba Milinkevich. Melanie is the first female, Filipino American, Business Owner/Service Provider under 40 to become BOMA San Diego President. Over the past 8 years, she has served in various leadership positions - starting as the Chair for the Special Events Committee. A couple years later, she earned a spot on the Board of Directors and has served in almost every board position over the past 7 years - as a Member-At-Large, Treasurer, and Vice President.
Melanie is an accomplished and award winning BOMA member who has devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to streamlining processes and fostering an environment for innovation and collaboration. She has a genuine interest in bringing value to every project she is involved with and has a knack for building relationships. Along with the Executive Board Members, Melanie has represented our Chapter at the Annual BOMA International Winter Business Meetings, Annual Conferences, and has met with local/state/national leaders to discuss important issues affecting the commercial real estate industry and our members.
Outside of BOMA San Diego, Melanie is one of the partners and the Chief Operating Officer of RSI Roofing (a longtime BOMA San Diego Annual Supporting Partner). As COO, Melanie plays a pivotal role in orchestrating overall organizational effectiveness by aligning strategies, optimizing financial performance, fostering a positive workplace culture, and building long term relationships with customers and industry partners.
Out of all the roles that she has in life, her most important one is as mom to 4 year old Olivia and 3 year old Weston and wife to Steve. She loves to spend quality time with them whether they are visiting the local farmer’s market or traveling out of the country.
Read our interview below to learn more about our new BOMA San Diego President.
BOMA San Diego: What is BOMA San Diego’s theme for 2024 and why was it selected?
Melanie: Driven for Success. This year’s theme was envisioned in the Programs Committee with Chair Brooke Wheeler and Vice Chair Jessica Kalloch. We were describing what our goals were for 2024 and what we wanted to push, and this just hit the nail on the head. Each and every one of us that volunteer in BOMA are the crème de la crème of our respective industries. We are working hard at finding success within our careers, and taking additional time to volunteer for the leadership opportunity BOMA provides. What words could best capture the spirit of each person trying to be the best version of themselves? Driven for Success.
BOMA San Diego: We had a conversation about your mom and dad once, and you told me about how they taught you to approach life. What advice did they give you as it pertains to leadership?
Melanie: I would not describe myself as an overly confident kid, but I would definitely describe myself as a self-assured adult, and that stems from my parents. From a young age, my mom always fostered a belief that I needed to trust my own gut, make my own decisions, and not dwell on anything that didn’t work out. Trusting and believing in yourself are really tough things to learn later in life, especially if it hasn’t been whispered into your ear your entire life. I see that now in women that have less confidence than I, and I wonder if it would be different for them if they had powerful forces in their life telling them that they’re good enough.
BOMA San Diego: What is the most significant challenge you overcame in 2023 and what did you learn?
Melanie: Where do I start? Life can throw some pretty hard things your way, sometimes all at once. Don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t let the fear and the anxiety take over. Rise to the challenge and ride right through the chaos. Let yourself feel all the things and then move past it and cling to whatever enjoyment you can find in this life.
BOMA San Diego: What’s your advice for our Emerging Leaders as they embark/continue on their BOMA journey?
Melanie: Having been in this organization for a decade, I would tell Emerging Leaders to go make friends. Genuine friends. BOMA is so unique in that for many, especially on the service provider side, our BOMA colleagues are much more aligned in personality type and career concerns than one might find at their own company. You simply relate better to the person sitting beside you at a luncheon than you do to say, your accounting person or your superintendent. There is nothing wrong with the accounting person or the superintendent, but in BOMA we are all dealing with the same problems: unruly tenants, upset customers, service issues, floods, landscape issues, janitorial problems, emergencies, occupancy issues, sales quotas, etc.
So for the Emerging Leader, imagine yourself in 5 years. Imagine yourself in 10. If you want to continue progressing through this industry, these same people will be at your side for the entirety of your professional career servicing commercial buildings. They will go through life changes with you. They will get married, get divorced, have babies, experience loss, all of the normal things one goes through in life. They will remember when you were all 20 something year olds starting out in this industry! So you might as well create genuine friendships along the way. It will only enrich your experience.
BOMA San Diego: Who is the most fascinating person you’ve met and why?
Melanie: The first customer I did business management for right out of college was a Hollywood film executive and producer. She was by far the smallest (both in size and stature) yet scariest woman I’d ever met outside of my own mother. She demanded perfection and would scrutinize your assessment. This was at an accounting firm so she would tell the managing partner if a person was incompetent, and she was usually right. She taught me how to anticipate questions and prepare to answer to higher ups. She taught me that there was value in being better than your mediocre counterpart. She taught me that you can shine if you put in the effort and the work to come in fully prepared. Most importantly, she taught me that if you are nervous about presenting a solution to an aggressive customer or a higher up, you lean into it, you do your homework, you prepare, you anticipate their responses and then slowly but surely, you begin to earn the trust and respect of the scariest person in the room. I could go on and on about the impact she had on my professional career, but the bottom line is she challenged me to level up and that’s exactly what I did.
BOMA San Diego: ‘Build value + Build Relationships’ is your banner quote on your Linkedin profile. Tell us more about why this is your focus and how it has helped you navigate life?
Melanie: I was asked once in a meeting, what do I bring to the table? And I’m involved in a lot of things. I’m a business owner, I’m the President of BOMA, I chair some other committees, I treasure for some other associations, I’m on my kid’s daycare fundraising committee – it felt like there might be too many roles to consider what I represent, but I synthesized it to what do I bring to each of those roles? The answer was plain for me. I want to build value (whether that’s financial or metaphorical) and I want to build relationships (both personal and professional) in everything that I do and everything that I spend my time and energy on. If I can’t do those two things, then you can bet I won’t be a part of it. And it’s not one or the other, it’s both. I think they are intertwined. You can’t bring value to anything unless you truly understand it, and you won’t ever understand it until you’ve built a relationship with the people involved.
BOMA San Diego: You are a busy person! A mother to 2 young children, a wife, a business owner and now BOMA San Diego President. What advice can you give our readers about time management? What time do you start and end your day? What tools do you use to stay on course?
Melanie: I might be one of those people that needs to stay involved to find purpose! My alarm is set for 5:30 every morning. I’m in the construction trade so the majority of our employees start at 6AM, which also means that they end their day early. Our crews and our staff are all typically done with their work day by 4PM, so it frees up my early evening for events and family time. I feel extremely fortunate that my industry, that relies on daylight, has its own built in time management of when things could typically go wrong. That is certainly not the case for those involved with janitorial or security!
One thing that’s really important to me as a mother and a wife is that I only commit to one work associated evening event per week. There are so many to go to and so many to choose from, it’s really hard to limit sometimes. But to be fair to my husband and to spend time with my family, my limit for work events is one evening per week, and I want to be home for my kids’ bedtime at 8PM. For any work that didn’t get done during the work day, I will usually catch up with projects after the kids are asleep so late night emails from me are definitely a thing if I’m behind.
The last thing I want to mention here is my digital, shared calendar is my life saver. Every day is planned down to the hour, and well in advance. I can say enthusiastically that all of our major events and vacations for 2024 are already calendared. It’s a must for two working professionals with busy schedules to maintain any kind of sanity balancing work commitments and family outings. If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening!
BOMA San Diego: What are your favorite self-care activities?
Melanie: An 80 minute massage at a nice spa. Exercise also really helps. A 30 minute session with Cody Rigsby or Alex Toussaint on the Peloton is a great release! Date night with my husband is always priority one! I also love cooking and baking. It’s very therapeutic!
BOMA San Diego: Here are a few rapid fire questions…Favorite local restaurant?
Melanie: ooooohhh I’m a total foodie so this is hard for me to pick one. I love Boujiemana for mediterranean. Himitsu for Japanese. Din Tai for dumplings. Juniper and Ivy for date night. Marisi is also great for lighter Italian food. I love Valle for a Michelin experience. And I love me a good steakhouse! Does my kitchen count as a local restaurant?
BOMA San Diego: Best meal you’ve ever had?
Melanie: All of the above.
BOMA San Diego: Favorite leadership book?
Melanie: Anything by Patrick Lencioni – he talks extensively about breaking down departmental silos. It’s crucial to understanding how your own work impacts everyone else.
BOMA San Diego: Your definition of success?
Melanie: Am I healthy, am I happy, am I investing in my relationships, do I have what I need and can I do what I want? 7 years ago I wanted a husband, a house and a couple of kids. I have all that now so I’m truly living out my definition of success.