"It was written in the stars for me to attend Radford University," says Melissa Costa '00.
As a high school student, she wanted to be just like her mentor. "Beth Flory Markwood, a Radford graduate, was such an inspiring person. She taught the high school marketing program and was also my cheerleading coach. I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher and mentor for three years. She would always talk about her days at Radford. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and have a chance to be a great woman like she is," says Costa. Now, Costa is the Head of Marketing for Zappos’ luxury website Zappos Couture (zapposcouture.com), in Las Vegas. "This is my complete dream job. I get to travel to New York and preview collections at fashion week. We just hosted an amazing event for Anna Wintour of Vogue and I got to meet Michael Kors and Alexander Wang,” says Costa.
At Zappos, Costa often thinks back to her time at Radford University. "During junior year, I was president of Sigma Sigma Sigma. I learned how to project manage, nurture ideas, retain and recruit talent and meet the chapter’s financial goals. The business experience that I gained from that will forever be with me. Often times I find myself thinking back to the days in a room full of females and I remind myself, if I could do it then, I can do it now." says Costa.
Creativity is a key in Costa's success and she feels she owes a lot of that to Dr. Chelsea Adams. "Dr. Adams was my creative writing professor and she was the person that told me to believe in my talent for creative writing. She gave me the confidence I needed in order to succeed. To this day, creative writing is an important part of my job, whether it be implementing out-of-the-box PR concepts to inventing cool and original fashion ad campaigns," says Costa.
At Zappos, Costa is in charge of marketing and works closely with all the luxury brands. Some of Costa's favorite brands include Alexander McQueen, Giuseppe Zanotti, Vivienne Westwood, Salvatore Ferragamo, and of course Michael Kors. "At Zappos, they don't want your job to feel like your job and mine most certainly doesn't. They have many team-building activities. Often times I feel like I am back in Radford. Zappos is just a big campus of a bunch of passionate people doing what they love and having fun. In my opinion, that is the ultimate key to success. When you are passionate and you enjoy what you are doing, you will never work a day in your life," she says.
Recently, Costa was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Las Vegas Fashion Council. "The council is an organization that brings the talent of local designers to the fashion industry level and promotes the growth of the industry. This is a huge catalyst to the industry of fashion in Las Vegas. I am honored to be a part of it," says Costa.
Costa enjoys the opportunity to serve as a mentor for young women. "I very much enjoy giving back to the community. Giving back, I always think about my high school mentor, Beth Flory Markwood and my years at Radford. I am very grateful," says Costa.
Costa encourages students to find their passion and do what they love. "Whatever makes you feel excited and is a part of who you are, go for that. To be truly successful is to be fulfilled. Never leave that hole empty. Passion is the key," says Costa.