With a tireless zest for life and the professional knowledge of a successful business owner, Melinda Santiago is continuously adding power and purpose to her growing management firm. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but she’s also fierce on the inside and understands the importance of having the tenacity to honor her own gifts and actually put them to use for the benefit of herself and others. Giving back is simply a part of who she is.
At a young age, Santiago was keenly aware of her potent and prevailing ability to manage things around her. Early on, life led her through a rocky road of ups and downs, but she always came out on top. As a quick-witted woman with a plan, the lovely Latin Queen, knows when to walk away from things that are no longer serving her—as well as how to walk confidently into opportunities that will allow her to shine the brightest. In speaking to her about how and why she decided to start The Santiago Firm, she explains, “It went from me being in the corporate world, to me being let go from a position, and then realizing I never wanted to work for anyone again. I realized my name is a brand, and my connections were very valued. So, I kind of put two and two together hit the pavement and told myself, before I made anyone else a million dollars, I was going to make it myself and become an entrepreneur.” This is exactly what she did, and her success speaks for itself. As the CEO and talent manager of The Santiago Firm, she doesn’t take her thriving business and success for granted.
Santiago is also very connected to herself and understands how to harness her power. The lovely Atlanta based go-getter explains why she created and consistently uses her powerful slogan—GOD Blesses Good Business. She explains, “The only way you win, is by providing good business, and doing things with integrity. You can sleep at night when you know you’re not lying, not deceiving when you know you’re not manipulating a situation. When you’re not using any shortcuts, you can feel really good about what you’re doing. God is going to continue to bless you as long as you’re doing good business. That’s business in relationships, business in your personal life, business with your children, business with how you operate within the universe. And God will bless that because of your integrity. With integrity, you automatically get your respect and whether they like you or not, they’ll respect you.
As an intelligent woman in the male-dominated artist and talent management business, Santiago is on top of her game and continues to be highly successful because of her thinking. Her self-talk and positive attitude concerning all areas of her life, has been an important factor in nurturing her steady climb up the ladder of success. She thought back to a time in her life where she had to leave a job and explained, “When you have to grind and you have to hustle, you can’t get complacent. There was never any room for me to be lazy, never any room to be a victim and play oh woe is me. I had to go get my next dollar and make sure my rent was paid that next month. So, that really fueled me, and then the anger of wanting to show people what a single mother with kids can do.” Truly, she’s a breath of much needed fresh air in an industry that can eat a person alive if they let it. Santiago is a warrior of sorts and does not succumb to what society might think she should be. She walks to the beat of her own drum and has set a pace for herself that is perfectly aligned with where she is now and where she will be in the future.
Santiago shared more about how she balances her personal and professional life, adventures on the road, and the methods behind her success. Take a look at some of it here.
You live a very busy lifestyle. What advice can you give others about finding balance, so they don’t get burned out?
We have conditioned ourselves to these schedules, and I’m not saying live in la-la land and be pretty and do what you do, because there are still responsibilities, but don’t put so much on yourself where, if it doesn’t happen, you beat yourself up. I did a podcast with Michael McFadden and he reminded me that sometimes you have to write yourself three goals for the day. Go to the bank, eat breakfast, go grocery shopping, because we get so caught up, we forget to eat sometimes, we forget to go to the bank. We run out of time in our day and then we feel like we didn’t get anything done. Then we beat ourselves up, now guess what, tomorrow we have seven things to do versus six, or three things more to do because we’re putting ourselves under a strict schedule. Sometimes, we have to take it back to the basics, then you can feel accomplished and go to bed happy because you got some things out of the way. It’s the simple things. I tell people, it’s so simple it’s hard because you can’t fathom that life can be so simple. Simplicity is key.
What has been the biggest lesson along the way for you, the takeaway?
The biggest lesson so far is we can give until we are exhausted, and I think the lesson for me was giving more of myself to others than I gave to myself. Pushing others, making sure everyone was okay, which is not a bad thing, but I can’t make sure anybody else is okay until I’m okay. So, I had to surround myself with people that if I poured into them, I had to find people that would pour back into me. That was the key. So, the biggest takeaway is, we will get exhausted pouring into others. We have to make sure that you find others who pour into you. 99.9% of the time, it won’t be reciprocated. You have to find your resource in others.
You work with so many different people and there are a lot of egos involved. How do you tone down an overzealous client?
This can be a thankless job, we just get in there and just do it, and people forget to thank us, or they thank us in silence and ridicule us in public. That’s the funny part. I can’t get caught up in that. I had to get out of that feeling. Based on the relationships I’ve carried, some of my clients got hired because I do good business. My clients may not like everything I say, but they see the result when they listen and pay attention, then they’re like, okay, I get it. It’s not always their fault all the time Desirae, they have been burnt so many times from people who want to do money-grabs on them, steal from them, who have negotiated bad deals on their end. They have been burned so bad that they have this wall and distrust and it’s me breaking this down that matters.
What advice can you share for others about life?
Be honest. When you work with someone, don’t walk in with a what’s in it for me mentality. Walk in saying, what can I learn and how can I benefit them, so they can benefit me? That’s a win-win or no deal. Don’t be afraid to walk away from things that do not serve you.
What is the biggest message that you want your children to know about who their mom is?
My mom walks with integrity. I want to be the example that my children see. It’s okay to be wrong, and it’s okay to fall, but it’s not okay to be a victim. It’s not okay to stay in victim mode. My mom is strong, my mom did everything she could and then some. So, I want my kids to always look at me and know she walks with integrity and she was good to people.
Desirae L. Benson is a west-coast based editor, entertainment media host, public relations specialist, content editor, and the host of her own show, “Moved by The Music” where she interviews mainstream and indie artists who are doing great things in the music industry. She also has three other segments of her show which include, “The Person of Prominence,” “The Actor’s Spotlight,” and “Comedians Corner.” To learn more about her, you can visit her website here and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram: @DesiraeBBB For media inquiries, contact her at, DesiraeBBB@gmail.com
Featured Image by Kim’s Photography, “Kimazing Photos”