Melissa Boniface

From a young age, my family instilled in me the importance of making the world a better place. Through many small acts of kindness, like lending a hand to a neighbor or sending care packages to our troops, and even the bigger ones like week-long mission trips, I have found immense fulfillment. Born and raised in a small town in Northwestern New Jersey, I struggled to find a purposeful career after finishing up graduate school. I embraced my independence and decided to make a big pivot in my career and lifestyle by moving to Knoxville, TN in July 2020. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to launch a practice as a financial advisor with Edward Jones in the Farragut area, and though this pushed me way outside my comfort zone, I leaped on the opportunity without hesitation. My passion for making a positive impact on the world has led me to pursue a career in financial services because it presents me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families in my community.

 

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I have previous experience at a tech startup, and in corporate M&A. Without a doubt, my current role as a financial advisor is the most rewarding role I have ever filled. My work is impactful, and I love getting to know my clients on a personal level. I believe my commitment to personalized service and truly understanding what’s important to my clients has driven my success in the industry.

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
I really enjoy Kefi for a nice dinner, but Bida Saigon is my go-to for something more casual. You’d never guess this hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant would be so delicious! If you haven’t tried it, check them out!

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I’ve been here about 10 months now, though, it feels like I moved here just yesterday!

 

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
While there are many places abroad I hope to see one day, if I could travel anywhere today it would be Salt Lake City, Utah to visit my sister. I haven’t been able to visit with her much throughout the pandemic, and the Salt Lake area is always a blast to explore.

Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
50 First Dates… I’m not one to re-watch movies, but this one just never gets old!

Q: What advice would you give to people?
Life begins outside your comfort zone. Discomfort harnesses growth. Take the risk and chase your dreams.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
I could write a list a mile long, but at the top of my bucket list is skiing the Swiss Alps and taking a cooking class in Italy.

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
I listen to just about anything, but I’d have to say something more folk/acoustic like The Lumineers or Caamp.

 

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
While there are many highly-regarded influencers I would love to chat with, if I could, I would love to have lunch with Melissa McCarthy at Chivo Taqueria. Who could resist a great meal and some comedic relief?

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
I love the people and culture in Knoxville. Since relocating here, every person I’ve met has taken a genuine interest in getting to know me. The welcoming Southern hospitality and warm welcomes I have recieveded over these last 10 months have made the it easy for me to call this special city home.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
In 5-10 years, I hope to have established myself as a hard-working young professional who is committed to positively influencing the Knoxville community through my work and philanthropic initiatives. Though I may be more established, I will continue to learn and grow everyday, as self-improvement is incredibly important to me. I’ll be married, and considering starting a family of my own. (But first, maybe I’ll adopt a dog or two…) If I’m really lucky, maybe I’ll even be able to persuade my family to make the move down South too…

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a first generation college student, and when I attended college, I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in 3 years followed by an MBA in one additional year. I don’t share this often, as I feel education does not define one’s capabilities, but I am extremely proud to have accomplished this.

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
The Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Australia were incredible. The white sand beaches and perfectly blue seas were breathtaking. The sand there is so mineral rich, it’s said to have great benefits to your skin. I remember giving ourselves “sand facials” while visiting… I hope this has the same effects as the Fountain of Youth.

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
I’d have to say Christmas is my favorite day and it falls in my favorite season. I was on skis when I was just 3 years old, and picked up snowboarding later in life so I thrive during the winter months! I have the best childhood memories of laughing on the holidays together and even skiing on Christmas morning. Now, I find immense fulfillment in picking out the perfect gifts for my loved ones. Seriously… I’m the type to start my Christmas shopping in July if I find the right gift!

Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
A light breeze on a sunny day. There’s nothing like some fresh air to clear your head.

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My mother. She is the most selfless, positive and inspiring woman. I am forever grateful for all that she has given me. She encourages me to always do my best and never lose sight of who I am. Above all, she believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself, and if that’s not encouraging, I don’t know what is.

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Gasoline… I wish I had an explanation.

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Comfort, love, and cherished memories