Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Meredith Bronk has been with OST since 1998.
Bronk served as chief operating officer for several years at the Grand Rapids-based IT, software development and recruiting company, before being promoted to president in April of 2014 and assuming the CEO role, effective April 1, 2015.
She earned her M.B.A. from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in 2014.
Biggest career break?
Joining OST in 1998, when I was 27 years old. I had been working as an HR and accounting generalist at a local manufacturing company, after moving back to Michigan, when a prior co-worker recommended me for a role with this technical startup. It seemed a little risky at the time, but was clearly a great decision!
There have been a lot of proud parenting moments, but my proudest personal-professional moment is graduating from Notre Dame last year. That university has a special spiritual place in my heart. Graduating from there was a dream come true.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“A strike is what an umpire calls a strike.” It’s a saying my father told me as a girl playing softball — and it’s a lesson I share with my daughters, the girls I coach and with co-workers. As a young pitcher, I’d often get frustrated if the umpire wasn’t calling the pitches the way I saw them. This is a reminder to focus on what you can control, to respect authority and to do your best, even in adversity.
How did you make your first dollar?
My first real job after college was working at American Stores in Phoenix as an accounting clerk for $7.50 an hour. At that same time, I worked in sales at a NordicTrack store. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into sales or accounting. I am a social person and soon realized that I could use my skills in a supervisory capacity, while still doing the analytical work.
Most treasured possession?
My wedding ring.
Other than the one I have right now?!? Seriously, I have a great job. I work alongside passionate, caring people who serve one another. Leading and supporting this team is truly a dream job.
If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?
Try to bring our nation together by building on the areas where we have shared vision.
Last book you’ve read?
I’m reading two right now: a novel by James Patterson and a leadership book by Jake Wood, who I recently heard speak at the annual Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Last thing you Googled?
Images for a couple of presentations I’m working on right now. Trains and funny faces!
Your worst habit?
Probably drinking too much Diet Coke.
To unwind, I like to . . . ?
Drive. Preferably with the windows down and the music turned up — singing at the top of my lungs!
I just got back from Bora Bora, which was an amazing trip. The weather was beautiful, and the people were generous and humble. Since I was able to check that one off my list, I’d say the next one would be Italy.
I love food! I would say my go-to comfort meal is Thanksgiving-like: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits. In the fall and winter, we make a Thanksgiving-day meal at least three to four times. My kids would tell you that my favorite food is Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls!!
Person you most admire?
My husband. He takes amazing care of our three daughters and teaches them every day about hard work, generosity and creativity.