Roc Girls to Know: Meet Melissa Bailey, Blogger behind Hungry Food Love

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Tell us your name and what you do.
My name is Melissa Bailey. I am the events director at #WeAllGrow Latina Network and the blogger behind Hungry Food Love

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Give us a little of your history.
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. In 2001, I came to the US to attend college. After completing my bachelors and masters degrees at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I decided to stay in Rochester to start a new life. I later got married and today we have two beautiful children. My background is in marketing and service management, and I always dreamed of working in the events planning field. I got my first opportunity doing exactly that as an intern supporting the coordination of internal corporate events at Xerox Corporation. I then moved to a completely different industry where I eventually became the Marketing and Communications Manager for North America at Alstom Transportation, where I worked for a little over 7 years. 

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I have always been a very social person, lover of food, and entertaining. In fact I first wanted to study hotel management and in my personal projects, I have always been involved with initiatives serving others and bringing people together. At one point, I actually started a catering company on the side only to then realize that what I loved about food was not to make it in large quantities all the time, but to make it and share it with people that I love and to make them happy. Sharing my love for food is what led me to write as a contributor for the Democrat and Chronicle's Flavors of Rochester Blog, also appearing in print at that time. Through my experience writing for the D&C I discovered my love for connecting with people through the written form. So I started the food blog called Hungry Food Love in 2012. I can't believe it's been 5 years and that this little blog has taken me to so many places, meeting incredible people and even be recognized for my work. I truly have loved every minute of it! So much so that I left my promising job in corporate America to dedicate all of my time to the blog, developing recipes and creating content for brands that I trust. Ha! But life works in funny ways, because the same month I left my job I was approached by a friend I admire with a dream offer to start a conference. This is how #WeAllGrow events started back in 2014 with a seed and a leap of faith, and now we are in the heavy planning season for our 4th Summit, taking place in Long Beach California and bringing together 500 women (and a few good men too) for an annual tradition that has grown from a three day event to four great days of learning and experiential networking.

Other things that rock my world are traveling, enjoying the outdoors, giving back, sharing with friends, and my love for Jesus. 

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Tell us more about what you do.
In my day to day, I am first of all a mom, so a lot of my time revolves around making sure my kids are healthy and happy. I do work full time, so I immensely treasure the time I get to spend with my kids outside work hours. Luckily, though, I am able to make my own schedule and be flexible enough to do what I need to do when it really needs to get done, and focus on other things if necessary. During the time I am working, I am juggling two roles that I deeply love: 1) working with an incredible remote team spread coast to coast as the Events Director of #WeAllGrow Latina Network, which is an influencer marketing agency that connects brands with digital Latinas through online campaigns and IRL events, and 2) juggling the many hats of being an entrepreneur growing my blog as a business. Hungry Food Love is a food blog where I share recipes and flavors from my heart and that has become a place to show my passion for food and also an income-generating opportunity. So on any given day you can find me scouting the perfect event venue or going over a run of show, but I could alternatively be buying food to cook, photograph, and eat, of course. My days are a mix of working on event budgets, improving my blog's SEO, interacting on social media, and designing the ideal event space layout. What I love the most about all of this is the fact that it requires me to connect with a community of like-minded people which fascinates me day after day. 

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What are your favorite things about Rochester?
Rochester never fails to surprise me. I have lived here for almost 2 decades and I have experienced a new Rochester in all of my journeys, during my college years, as a young professional, as a mom, and as a creative. There is always something to do and look forward to with each season. New businesses, new blood, and amazing talent are constantly working on making this city one that makes everyone proud to confidently say is a great city to live in. Many times this Caribbean soul wanted to completely skip winter by leaving Rochester, but I am so happy that today I have come to love each season in all of its glory. It is the people who share a common interest in the best for this city that today I can say is my favorite thing about Rochester.

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