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Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Melanee Young Taylor

Article Overview

1. And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?” (tell us your journey?)

I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, in a seaside town called Aptos. From a young age, I wanted to be a Music Video Director, as it was the perfect combination of everything I loved – Music, Film, and Dance. I had the pleasure of attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I double-majored in Film Studies and Black Studies. Against my parents’ wishes, I played Women’s Rugby during my four years. The day after I graduated from UCSB, I moved to Los Angeles and started working for a music video production company.

For the next 15+ years, I worked in short-form video production - commercials, network promos, press junkets, music videos, etc. But I found the most pride in the pro-social spots I produced with Riverstreet Productions. Working with real people fighting to be heard in an unjust world is where I felt most passionate. We were lucky enough to win a few Emmys along the way, but my proudest moment came when I produced a Beach Cleanup PSA for Disney. As one of the Co-Founders of the Surfrider Foundation, my father, Dan Young, has dedicated his life to protecting the ocean. Thus, this environmental responsibility has been instilled in me since birth. Filming a project so near and dear to my heart was truly a full-circle moment.

Now how did I go from Hollywood to a ClimateTech Company, some may ask? One day, I received a call from my dear friend, Ryan Orenstein (Persefoni’s Chief Content Officer). Ryan spoke of Persefoni’s talent density, and their common goal to decarbonize the planet. While still trying to decipher the term, “Carbon Accounting,” I said YES! to Persefoni. I can proudly say that my day-one faith in this company still holds true on day four hundred and eight.

2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile (What do you do at Persefoni?)

I am a proud member of AESOP (Arts & Edits Studio Of Persefoni). We are the creative kids that color outside of the lines. As Head of Production, I help lead the Creative Team from ideation and pre-production, through filming and final delivery to our customers… all while ensuring everyone is taking proper snack breaks. I also enjoy filming BTS footage of our team, as it helps justify studying film in college.  

3. And you may ask yourself, “Where does that highway go to? (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?)

My hope is to retire as a Persefonite. But not a Tom Brady “retirement.” I want an Eli Manning retirement. I want to continue helping build up the AESOP/Creative team across various countries while preserving our silly-natured, yet hard-working ethos.

I have never worked at a start-up company before, but I can feel the heat from the fire that burns within. Or maybe I’m just feeling the trapped heat from Greenhouse gas emissions?? Either way, I want Persefoni to succeed beyond any expectations. Not just for those who are building this airplane as it flies. But for every single living creature on this planet.

4. And you may ask yourself, “My God! What have I done?” (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)

I can honestly say I’ve never felt more respected in my career than I do now. It was often quite challenging working as a young, female producer in the entertainment industry. However, working at Persefoni, I truly feel seen and heard. I think much of this has to do with our operating principles. We are encouraged to speak up when a process can be done more efficiently, no matter your position within the company. This transparency has been vital to our growth as a company, as well as my own personal growth as a colleague. My teammates are also extremely encouraging while providing a safe space to experiment with new projects or techniques. And while some creative experiments might not always go to plan, my team never lets me fail. I am extremely grateful for their support.

5. And you may ask yourself in another part of the world…. (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)

Not much has changed since my youth. I still love going to the beach. I love dancing. I love music. I love rooting for my Bay Area sports teams. And I love food (cooking, eating, constructively criticizing Michelin Star restaurants, etc).

The most significant change is that I now enjoy my hobbies with my husband, Kaedi (pronounced Kai-e-dee). We love traveling to different countries to experience happy hour bites with locals. We quickly learned that local bartenders usually give the best restaurant recommendations. We also enjoy drinking house wine before touring museums, as it adds a deeper emotional response to the artwork.

But more than anything, we just like being around kind people. Everywhere we travel, we always seem to find the sweetest locals. I think many can agree that this world has its issues (and then some), but if we focus on the human element, and find the GOOD in humanity, life can be significantly more enjoyable. That’s another huge reason why I’ve found my happy home at Persefoni; they’re a group of kind people trying to provide a tangible solution to a complicated problem. I also really enjoy their lavender Kombucha on-tap. 😉

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