Founder & CEO, Chameleon Technologies
As the Founder and CEO of Chameleon Technologies, Melissa is focused on the growth and strategic vision of the company. Chameleon Technologies was established in 2000 and is known for expertly matching technically skilled professionals to contract, contract-to-hire and permanent positions at various local and national companies. Chameleon also specializes in data services by providing project-based solutions around data analytics and business intelligence (BI) to a variety of companies across different industries.
Melissa supports the business community through her volunteering and board commitments. She serves as a Board member and co-chair for the Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC) for the University of Washington, Foster School of Business. Melissa also resides on the Board for Attain Housing, which is helping fight homelessness on the Eastside. In addition to these commitments, Melissa is actively involved with Washington First Robotics, IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution) Worldwide and The University of Washington Women’s Center. Furthermore, she is committed to supporting the City of Kirkland’s Business Roundtable, Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an active wish granter since 2005.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree from University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University.
Melissa currently lives in Kirkland with her husband, Ryan, her daughter, Olivia and their Havanese dog, Maui.
I’m Melissa Acton-Buzard and I’m the CEO of Chameleon Technologies Inc. We’ve been in business for about 20 years and we recently opened a new division specializing in professional data solution services. I’m a mother, an entrepreneur, a daughter, and a wife. I live in Kirkland, Washington and I’m a part of many philanthropic organizations as I have a passion for helping women get into technology and other STEM. I believe in making a difference and impacting the people around me and I aim to do this with my business as we dive into our data division. I want to help our customers and clients solve their data problems so they can make better and more informed decisions.
How did you get into the industry?
I worked in the staffing industry ever since graduating from the University of Washington with a political science degree in 1995. I planned to go to law school but decided to call a time-out from school and get a job for a year. A friend working at one of the nation’s leading staffing companies suggested I apply there. Hired as the vendor coordinator for a large contract the company landed with Microsoft, I quickly fell in love with the fast pace and personal relationships of the staffing business. Goodbye law school, hello totally serendipitous career.
After stints at several other staffing and consulting firms, I started Chameleon Technologies in 2000. With invaluable first-hand experience, I was clear about the services and practices I wanted to offer as well as what I would do differently with my own firm. With a focus on diversity and inclusion as a woman-owned business, Chameleon Technologies set out to emphasize the importance of diversity in the workplace with an unparalleled focus on outstanding customer service.
Today, in addition to the staffing division of Chameleon Technologies, there is also the data services division. This division exclusively focuses on data management and data analytics. Our unique approach to data analytics produces superior results for our clients. Chameleon’s customers have chosen us over other larger firms to lead their data projects because we are nimble, move quickly, and are highly specialized. We provide strategic data insights with competitive strategy for world-class business management. Key areas of expertise are data analysis and Business Intelligence solutions.
Any emerging industry trends?
Big data! We’ve seen a huge shift over the last 5-10 years when it comes to data. Business intelligence and data analytics are key to helping business move forward and improve, and it’s why I started the division in the first place because through data, we’re able to help others gain insight into their business.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
There are challenges in both divisions of my business. For the staffing side, people need to understand how dense the market is. There is a shortage of tech talent and it can be hard to find the right candidates with specific skill sets for a competitive position. For the data division, it comes to down to educating our customers and clients about the value of single source of truth – the merge of all your data sources onto one platform. It’s a place where you can view all your data in one place, allowing you to make informed and better business decisions and view your business as a whole instead of in parts. Then there’s the development piece as well. Once our clients and customers understand the value and the use of a Business Intelligence (BI) solution, they don’t realize that’s it’s a process. The journey is long and has many components but it’s worth the ROI. People like seeing the benefit in an instant which is totally understandable in the world we live in today; everything is basically available right away. Instant gratification is all we want too, and this BI solution is step closer but it still requires all the steps. These are our challenges thus far, but the customers and clients who have worked with us have found that their needs and requirements have been met even if the road was a little rocky.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
We help our clients tell their story with their data. This ultimately gives them full access, knowledge, and insight to how they can better their business. I would say this is what they would appreciate the most.
Additionally, our team helps businesses by delivering a fully-managed solution that converts their multiple data streams into one single source of truth with quantifiable business value. We combine the latest technologies (cloud, analytics, automation, and machine learning) with our collective expertise to deliver insights, automate processes and enhance their products.
Our goal at Chameleon is to help our clients drive their business through meaningful analytics and this is what they would benefit from as a business. We want to ensure that they are using their data to make informed decisions, automate processes, create new products, new revenue streams and to cut costs. We take the guessing out the equation. They drive their decisions and strategies through real data insights.
An ideal experience for a customer or client is solving their data problems and having their needs met. We aim to please and we want them to be 100% happy with our product and service. We are satisfied once we have helped them move towards the right direction and seen the ROI for them!
How do you motivate others?
Honestly, I need to motivate myself first! If I can’t help myself, I won’t be helping anyone else. It’s like setting the example for your team so they know what to expect but that means you have to be the example too.
What do I do best?
I’m good at building relationships. As a long-time salesperson, I have learned how to connect and talk with people and I love doing it. Personally, I have learned how to balance my work life with my family. I am the CEO and I wear many hats but I’m also a mother and my daughter is the light of my life! I also believe that I’m good at staying positive and optimistic. I don’t dwell on the negative because there’s no point so instead I try to see the good and work on what I can control.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I think it’s being authentic. Being genuine to others and to myself.
What are my aspirations?
Personal: to invest in my family, raise a happy child in a loving family! And, of course to travel as well.
Business: aside from leaving a legacy, I want to have a profitable, successful company that leads to happy and satisfied customers.
This is funny because I have the saying in my bathroom so I see it every day! It says, “Start each day with a grateful heart,” and this is what I try to do every day. I feel grateful for what I have and I want to remember that, always.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Thailand and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
My Current Passions?
Helping women get into STEM at a young age! I think IGNITE Worldwide and Washington First Robotics does a great job of this and I support both organizations. And, of course, data analytics!
Action of the Day: Prioritizing! As I mentioned, I wear many hats so I need to make sure I’m prioritizing my work and being present and focused at the task at hand.
Tip of the Day: Just breathe. It’s easy to get overwhelmed so focus and stay on point and with the task at hand.
What do you love most about Your City?
The sense of community in Kirkland is great! The walkability, the parks, the waterfront – it’s a great place to raise a daughter too.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Asleep or just waking up to head to work!
10:00 AM – I’ve had my coffee by then and I’m either in meetings or working at the office.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
The Cactus is probably my favorite but I love sushi too.
7:00 PM – Either still at the office working late, trying to play catch up or with my family. Last night, we rode our bikes to downtown Kirkland for dinner and dessert and rode our bikes back home.
11:00 PM – Asleep or watching series with my husband.
What should everyone try at least once?
Scuba-diving is a must! Hot air balloon rides and dog sledding are at the top of my list too. Honestly, everyone needs to travel abroad once!
Where do you enjoy getting lost?