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Melissa Orsen

President & COO, South Jersey Gas

What inspired you to join/start your business?

I was inspired to join SJI once I met the people. They were dedicated to the values and mission of the company and I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

I have three children still in school so I make sure I plan my week out to ensure I get everything accomplished that I need to, both at home and at work. No doubt men plan, as well, I just think working women with competing obligations need to ensure they organize and prioritize every day to make sure things get done.

What was your most satisfying moment in your career?

Encouraging other women to further their goals.

How do you define success?

Finding a work life balance. It changes every day. Once you recognize that and are okay with it, it makes it easier to get through the day to day and excel.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Do what's right and be unapologetic.

What women inspire you and why?

Those that get up every day with competing obligations and give it their all. There is something I do wrong, every day but that does not deter me.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Don't give up on your goals. The road is rarely a straight line but embrace what comes your way and do it with grace and humility. Also, we cannot do it alone. Accept help from others and be there for people, as well. I have only succeeded because of those around me.

Describe yourself in three words.

Loyal, dedicated and strategic

Fill in the Blank:

  • When I face a challenge, I... think about who needs to be a part of the conversation, what needs to be done, how to solve it and then implement.


  • If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… never miss an event for one of my kids and would stress on driving there and back to work. I always made up the work. I wish I gave myself permission to stop stressing and recognize I was doing the right thing by being present in my personal life. It also allowed me to contribute more meaningfully professionally, without any resentment.


  • The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my family. And running, running is a close second!


  • By this time next year, I will be… in the office


  • The best thing that happened to me last week was… my dog didn't bark while I was giving a presentation.


  • To get my creative juices flowing, I… find a quiet place and focus on the task at hand. 
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