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Melissa Turczyn, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Melissa Turczyn, partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The greatest challenge is experiencing the day-to-day ups and downs that my clients live through. I work closely with my start-up company clients, and we are good friends, so it is tough when they go through difficult situations. Madison is doing a better job of continuing to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem by getting the press, entrepreneurs, and investors here, but it is still a challenge to attract enough capital to Madison.

My job is most rewarding when a client closes on a financing round or has a successful exit, because it means the hard work and dedication paid off. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs remain involved in the community and support future startups through advising and mentorship. It is fun and rewarding to work in an environment where everyone furthers the community and shares many of the same goals.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Two brilliant women I admire are Toni Sikes and Susan Healy. Toni is the cofounder and CEO of CODAworx and Susan is the senior vice president of FP&A, strategy, and procurement of Ulta Beauty. Susan is bright and incredibly helpful to startups and Toni is an absolute force. Gaining an understanding of how they problem solve, their business and networking strategy, and decision-making has been a great learning experience for me. I am fortunate to have a trusted circle of people to reach out to when I need advice.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

So far, making partner at Michael Best has been the high point of my career. For better or for worse, people have a different impression of you when you have this title. I have worked hard to get here and to differentiate myself in an increasingly competitive market, and especially as a young woman being a partner helps challenge what people might otherwise think of me.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would tell my younger self to be more inquisitive and to take a more analytical approach to how I assisted companies. I have always strived to build a strong network, and over time I have grown more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I am now a better advisor to my clients because I can confidently counsel them through difficult times and prepare them for situations they never anticipated.

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