Melissa Gundling came to Addepar four years ago, bringing her unique professional background in performing arts and the non-profit sector as well as experience in legal marketing to grow a career in finance.
The beauty of working at Addepar, Melissa says, is that she’s been able to achieve her short-term ambitions and open the path to her longer-term goals of broadening her horizons with challenging, new endeavors — all while helping to expand the company’s reach, now into the rapidly evolving space of private capital markets.
Tell us about your career journey. What brought you from the fine arts to Addepar?
I grew up working for my family’s business in architectural millwork and building products distribution where I learned invaluable fundamentals. The arts and nonprofit work have always been (and still are) passions of mine, so I studied dance in school and worked in the performing arts and nonprofit development. From there, I wanted to go back to my entrepreneurial roots, focusing on everything from servicing customers to operating models. I found a lot of those similar values and a mindset of building together here at Addepar.
What is your role at Addepar now?
I recently joined the private placements team, which is a part of Marketplace, a digital platform that gives our clients access to a wide range of financial products and supplements our reporting capabilities. We are focused on helping our clients navigate the private investment markets, including accessing private company share investments, selling private company holdings through the secondary market, and much more.
I spend my days empowering our clients with the technical knowledge and resources to be thoughtful about how they invest and unlock the potential for private markets to get the best of what the public markets have to offer. I help our clients understand where the markets are, what the process would look like to invest or liquidate private company shares, and how to execute on those trades with our open architecture model.
You’ve held a few different roles in your time at Addepar. What sparked these transitions and what have you learned from each role?
What initially brought me to Addepar and has kept me here has been the opportunity to gain new experiences, exercise new intellectual muscles, and bring my innovative mindset to a growing company. I started in sales and marketing when I joined Addepar, and then I transitioned into product marketing supporting our Insights team responsible for new products that complement Addepar’s core platform, before joining the private placements team where I work now, as a part of Marketplace.
I love that I’ve been able to do so many things, learn from different people and that Addepar has continually supported my growth. I’m motivated by working with people who challenge me, who listen to my ideas but also give constructive feedback — and I attribute a significant part of my professional growth to working with and learning from industry veterans here at Addepar.
What is the culture like on the private placements and Marketplace team?
We’re a small, nimble team – just four of us – which is great because we’re able to move fast. Even after a short period in this role, I’ve had opportunities to interact with clients, prospective clients and other market participants, and I might not have had that level of exposure so quickly on a larger team. My teammates are really smart, they take their work seriously and we genuinely enjoy working together and getting things done. What I’ve found to be most important at Addepar is being creative and inquisitive while helping the company meet its big goals. The best way to do that is by marrying Addepar’s larger vision to the project that’s right in front of you.
What is your favorite achievement at Addepar?
Launching Marketplace in 2020 was a big milestone for me personally, my team, the company – and for the wealth management industry, which is in the midst of a transformation, benefiting from increased transparency into alternative assets. I’m really proud of the cross-functional effort from my colleagues and the executive team to deliver this product and get our clients on board. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort, and it gave our clients a new, digital tool to access alternative products, private equity and secondary markets, which we’ll continue to build on.
Why do you think transparency in financial services is important?
Transparency fosters protection, awareness and alignment — for one investment decision, for your or your clients’ portfolios, for sections of the market and for the global financial system. Giving people the technology and relationship resources to be thoughtful about how they invest is increasingly important in our digital world.