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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 24, 201805:20 AM EST

Melissa Nelson: ‘I strive for work-life effectiveness’

State attorney shares with CREW Jacksonville how she balances work, personal life.
by: Caren Burmeister Contributing Writer

State Attorney Melissa Nelson was asked by a Jacksonville business women’s group to give a talk about work-life balance.

Nelson challenged the term “work-life balance,” explaining that it can set up people for failure.  

“I strive for work-life effectiveness,” Nelson told members of CREW Jacksonville, an organization for women executives in commercial real estate.

About 70 people attended the Sept. 11 event at The River Club Downtown.

A few weeks prior, on Aug. 26, Nelson had her heart set on taking a yoga class to restore her energy and clear her head.

But just before class she received a phone call from a colleague about a mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing. 

A Baltimore man who had lost a qualifying event for the Madden NFL 19 video game tournament shot and killed two people, injured 11 others and killed himself.

“Needless to say, I didn’t make it to yoga,” Nelson said. “It’s a very reactive job.” 

Nelson was elected state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit and took office Jan. 3, 2017.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson speaks to CREW Jacksonville.

The work-life balance issue hit home with Nelson last year when her mother, who lives out of town, became gravely ill.

In preparation for taking time off to care for her mother, the self-described Type A personality had to parcel out office responsibilities to members of her executive team. 

“I had no choice but to let go,” Nelson said. “I had to give up control.”  

The experience revealed the benefits of hiring people smarter than yourself, Nelson said, noting her colleagues did a great job running the office while she was away. 

Whether you work in public service or customer service, “being responsive means whenever, all the time,” Nelson said. 

Asked how she juggles a demanding high-profile career while raising three children, she credited her husband, Jason, whom she described as “the most incredible partner.” 

“It’s our families that allow us do what we’re meant to do,” Nelson said.


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