We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Dawe and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
I love risk and living on the edge. I like to push boundaries and break through past the normal conventions. It started as a kid, I loved gymnastics. I had no fear, and I liked showing off doing the things that everyone else was scared to do. And I taunted my mum with it. I used to hang upside down over the edge of our balcony which was the second level up, over the concrete driveway as a kid. Things like that. It was fun. So I took that I to adulthood and always pushed boundaries. And it got me far in my career. It’s not just about having fun, it’s also about competing. So I competed with everyone and myself, to get far ahead in life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Sovereign Advisory Group is the US expansion of its long standing Australian accounting Advisory firm, that I have been tasked with heading up. We’re a small firm poised for growth, providing Americans with jobs, and a unique opportunity to expand their technical skillset across an international framework, all whilst providing the ultimate work life balance that people seek out. I’m personally excited to bring the brand and firm culture to the USA and proud to be responsible for its growth and development. I have always pushed to be the best competitor, and so I worked full time whilst studying my accounting degree full time, filled my summers with extra classes to speed things up, and then became a chartered accountant and started my own practice by the time I was 30. It was about then that I met the owner of Sovereign Accounts in Australia, and we formed a great professional relationship and have been working together for many years, which is how I ended up here. Getting here was, and still is, difficult. But then successful people almost always say, if they’d known what was involved from the outset, they probably wouldn’t have taken the same path. So I take one step at a time, and try to give each challenging day my best, one task at a time. Staying focused and having wonderful people who love and support me helps me through the tougher days. Complemented by a nice wine, some dark chocolate and some laughs when the day is done!

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Catch a great chocolate banana pie (or any other pie) and coffee at Republic of Pie, and listen to live music every night of the week. Or head next door to El Tejano’s for some brilliant Mexican food and giant margaritas and either watch the sports, hang in the beer garden in a summer’s night or play some games. Visit Griffith Observatory for a romantic sunset view of the city, and frequent The Getty, LACMA and MOCA for and art fix. Of course Santa Monica Pier is a must for sunsets and fun, and the beach is a great spot to workout, go for a surf/swim, and some great eating spots. Hollywood Blvd is also a must see and do for the newbies in town, and a nice cocktail at the Roosevelt or the Bel Air Hotel goes down nicely (get snazzy, darling!)

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Novelist Bryce Courtenay for his motivational speech to Australian athletes when I was a gymnast, his novel the Power of One, my father for always nudging me in the right direction, and my accounting mentors Anthony and Sandy McDonald. My mum for all of her hard work running me around and putting up with my crankiness, and always giving me love and understanding.

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