Melissa Rossitier

How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position after graduation? 

I transferred to CSUB as a junior after spending two years at Taft College. At TC, I wrote for the student newspaper, and was excited to do the same at CSUB. I loved working on The Runner, and my time on that newspaper definitely furthered my passion for journalism. Three weeks after graduation, I landed my first position at The Shafter Press as its editor. I was responsible for all content in that paper, and it was a great learning experience. I covered farmworker rights marches, rode in a police cruiser with the Shafter Police Chief to get an interview, and flew in an old bomber at Minter Field. Because of my age, I almost didn't apply because I wasn't sure if the publisher would hire someone right out of college. I am so glad I took the risk. 

 What career advice would you give our students?

I have two pieces of advice for students. First, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take the risk. The payoff could be huge for you both personally and professionally. Second, know you will fail and don’t let the fear of failure keep you from pursuing your dreams.

 How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Was there a pivotal moment? 

I have always wanted to be a writer ever since the third grade when I began writing short stories in class. It was an amazing feeling to see my name and words on paper. In high school, I decided to take journalism on a whim, and instantly fell in love with the field. Talking to new people, telling their stories and experiencing life through their eyes is what I live for. That journalism class my junior year in high school sealed my future as a journalist.

 What do you attribute your success to? 

My husband is one of my biggest supporters and encourages me to take risks professionally. Without his support, I wouldn’t have taken the leap into public relations.

 I have also had a clear path of what I wanted to do professionally, and what I did not. That clear focus helped me take the needed steps to build my career and take it to a level I never thought I could.

 What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization? 

The Chamber never sleeps. We are constantly working for our members and the local business community. Our goal is to foster a healthy climate for all businesses.

 What have you accomplished or overcame in the past that you thought was impossible at the time? 

Making the transition from the newsroom to the public relations field was a hard adjustment. Working in news is fast-paced, intense and full of last minute decisions, especially in television news. Public relations wasn't a field I ever thought I would pursue. However, with a new daughter and a husband and 12 years in news under my belt, I was itching for a new challenge. I love working with my organization to develop our brand and our message. I also love working with our members.

 What hardships did you face, and how did you overcome them?

I lost my first job in public relations after just a year due to budget cuts. Although it wasn’t a reflection of my work, the layoff shook my confidence and made me second guess my choice to leave the news business. I took a contract job with PG&E for a year and developed some invaluable experiences and contacts. Those contacts helped me l feel confidence enough to take my job with Chamber when it came available.

 Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? 

My parents are definite role models of mine. They both work hard to make sure my brother and I had the best life possible. 

 My junior college journalism professor is also one of the biggest professional inspirations in my life. I remember my first journalism class in college. I had been writing for two years - both as a student and professionally for the local daily newspaper in my hometown of Taft, and I felt I could teach my professor a thing or two. Boy was I wrong. My first article was covered in red ink. I still have that article to remind me that I can always learn something new and to constant challenge myself. 

 Which accomplishment are you most proud of? 

The accomplishment I am most proud of is the Emmy for best evening newscast I won during my time at KBAK. I worked with a great group of journalists, producers, photographers and directors.

 We are also open to any questions or information (not asked above) that you would like to answer or include. 

I currently serve as the manager of marketing and communications of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, a post I have held since August 2014. I oversee the Chamber’s public relations and marketing efforts, including its publications, email marketing, social media, website and annual directory, as well as its Youth Leadership Bakersfield program.

I also volunteer my time for a local parenting nonprofit WarmLine since 2012. I serve as the organization’s Publicity Chair. My husband’s name is Devin, and we have two children, Hollie (6) and Patrick (2).