Melissa Nightingale: Startup Warrior

The dotcom boom was rife with lucrative opportunities, but every boom has a bust and only those with tough chops made it out intact.  As a self-described startup warrior since the first dotcom boom, Melissa Nightingale (nee Shapiro) made it out intact and then some.  With a career that’s spanned the rolling hills of San Francisco to the rolling cold fronts of Toronto (it’s character building – we swear), Melissa has leveraged innovation to create inspiration – and we’re incredibly excited to have her on our panel.

How did you hear about Young Women in Business & Achievers Women’s Network? What inspired you to participate in our Negotiation panel discussion?

I edit a blog called The Co-pour and I wrote a post about negotiation that really seemed to connect with people who were early in their career, especially young women.  I’m passionate not only about the topic of negotiation, but about how we better equip young women with these critical skills and I’m delighted to be on the panel.    

Tell me about your story. How did you get to be where you are today?

I once heard someone say that the best careers are more like rock climbing than like a ladder. I loved that. My career has had many twists and turns and I wouldn’t trade it. I think those diversions tend to make you more well-rounded in the long run. For instance, my role at Wattpad was born when a casual cup of coffee morphed into a three-hour discussion about how to build a marketing and PR team for a growing consumer startup.  You can’t always plan what’s going to happen, but you can plan to embrace the opportunities that come.  

When you look back at your career to date, what is one important challenge, event or achievement that stands out as a milestone?

Creating a business is an exhilarating endeavor, and the process of founding my first business was a pivotal moment for me.  I learned a lot about my personal tolerance for risk.  They say that entrepreneurs are wired differently than other humans. Where most people see daunting challenges and potential for failure, founders see opportunity. It’s not that they don’t see the challenges too, it’s that they don’t let that fear stop them. They keep going.

What is the one trait that helped you get to where you are today?   

I was always a stubborn kid.  As I grew up and began navigating my career, the stubbornness transitioned into tenacity – but I think the two are closely related.

Written by: Sarah Clayton