33, Commercial Lender for Fulton Financial Corporation, Newport News
Business community involvement:
Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Langley Civic Leaders Association (LCLA), Southeastern Virginia Health Systems Board (SEVHS)
Food Bank, Buffalow Family Friends (BFF), Habitat for Humanity, St. Leo University, Hampton Roads Community Action Program (HRCAP)
Something that sets you apart from the crowd?
My vision is to create collaboration in Hampton Roads that drives growth and puts the entire region on the map as the place to be and the place to visit. My goals for this area involve the growth of existing businesses and attracting new business. I am going to use my skills to bring necessary people together to execute that vision. I take it personally to connect people and business with resources because true growth only happens when we share.
Someone who keeps you motivated?
My children, Langston and Tatiana. I want to show them that if a girl from Kosovo can come here and follow her dreams, they can achieve anything. I am motivated to live life every day with integrity, honesty and a clean heart and pray that I am enough to set an example for my children.
Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re proud of.
I am most proud of launching Real Women Collective Action (RWCA). My vision is to build the world’s largest organization of women. The grant program run by RWCA will encourage innovation and growth for all of Coastal Virginia. To retain innovators and make this a place people want to live, we have to provide resources. RWCA is living that vision. “It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs.” —Margret Thatcher.
Most important aspect you look for in a workplace?
My reporting manager and management structure. I need to work in an environment with individuals I can learn from, collaborate and grow intellectually.
What new idea or development are you most excited about in Coastal Virginia right now?
I am most excited how to see how many millennials and Gen Zs are striving to make this area a better world. An example is Grow led by Drew Ungvarsky in Norfolk.
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is collaboration. Leaders need to be willing to share in joint efforts to help Coastal Virginia grow as a unit.
Where is your favorite place in Coastal Virginia to go on the weekends?
Fort Monroe, Norfolk, Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Beach depending on tourist season and traffic patterns.
From her nomination:
“Roze Merditaj is a force unto herself. She is from Kosovo and moved to the United States in 1999 as a result of ethnic cleansing. She came into harsh conditions with separated family and few resources. Many may have chosen different paths, easier paths, well-trodden paths. However, Roze’s curiosity and fire to make a better life has driven her to where she is today.”
—Robert McKenna, President/CEO of Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce