We had the good fortune of connecting with Meghan Medlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meghan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve been a pretty big risk taker my entire life. I think from a young age I decided I didn’t ever want to look back on my life and say “I wish I would have (fill in the blank),” so, despite how scary things are, I tend to say “let’s do it.” This had led to a LOT of learning lessons but also some great successes.
Professionally I have taken a lot of risks. Early 2019 I left a higher salaried job cold turkey to pursue self employment as a consultant – and despite a REALLY rocky/tough first year, I have had zero regrets. I also launched a nonprofit organization late last summer to meet the needs of returning citizens in our community; and despite launching with no funding or set programming in place, we are already off and running.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started Medlin Workforce & Reentry Solutions LLC in 2019 after working in nonprofit for ten years. I had absolutely loved what I did and never imagined leaving, but with the organization taking a turn in its direction and operations, I decided it was time for me to move on. After a brief stint in a role out of my field, I had realized that my heart belonged back with helping people and making our community a better place, so I left my job without a safety net and ventured into the unknown. For several months I was taking on side jobs and not truly knowing what direction I wanted to go. After about 7 months of this, a friend of mine essentially told me to “sh*t or get off the pot” in that I either needed to officially file for my LLC.
Fast forward, I have a handful of consultants working with me in a variety of areas. We specialize in workforce development and reentry and with that assist nonprofits, government agencies, and employers with developing programming, building capacity, strategic planning, grant management, diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership development (among other things). I think what sets MWRS apart from others is that I not only have (successfully) worked in the field for a number of years, but I truly try to learn about my clients, their needs and desired outcomes as if it were my own business. When they celebrate, I celebrate. When they have a tough time, I am right there in the trenches with them figuring out a plan to recover or redirect. I love helping them discover new ways of doing things, or helping them find the hidden gems that already exist within their current infrastructure.
During this process, I was still getting calls from the community about referrals for resources and services for returning citizens being that there is no centralized place to get this information. I had run an organization for a number of years dedicated to unifying service providers to better serve the reentry community, which coincidentally, has since folded since my departure, so I was still known as the resource for resources. During COVID these calls intensified. So, armed with the passion of my previous roles and surrounded by an army of equally passionate people, I launched the Hub for Integration, Reentry & Employment (H.I.R.E.) late last summer. While we are still developing funding, programming and infrastructure, we are already making a name for ourselves and growing quickly.
I look forward to getting this organization up and fully running within the next year so that we are able to better serve clients coming home from incarceration. My dream is to have a brick and mortar community center where we unify community stakeholders, educate the community, offer consulting and training for providers, and are able to get returning citizens linked to the services they need to succeed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Old Town Orange, so naturally the first stop would be to the “circle.” There is a plethora of food and drinks to entertain us, as well as the actual central circle where you can sit and people watch for days! No visit would be complete without getting some Mexican food at Taco Adobe a few streets over – don’t let the exterior fool you, the food and the service is unbeatable!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people to count! From my friends (who are my family) who always physically, mentally, financially and emotionally support my every hair brained idea, to my community who has had my back the past several years in developing the collective dream of a place where everyone is accepted and second chances are a reality, my past coworkers who helped mold me into the human and leader I am today, my closest friends who have helped pick me up, dust me off, and carry me the past two years while I was building my business and overcoming a lot of personal hurdles, and of course, I have to thank my Mom, the Madre, who has been my biggest fan since day one. She showed me what it is to be a strong, independent woman who doesn’t take no for an answer, sticks up for what (and who) you care about, uses 10-letter words (correctly), works hard, laughs hard, and taught me that I could overcome any barrier put in my path. Without her, I wouldn’t be me.