With 26 years of corporate and nonprofit experience, she has launched and executed large fundraisers, conceived several innovative and lucrative new programs, coordinated a variety of dinners/awards functions and organized numerous conferences/workshops. Her largest project to date is Ribfest Chicago, where she is responsible for every facet of the event including festival promotion, sponsorship development, entertainment booking and vendor management. Having begun with 5,000 attendees, the event now draws 70,000 people annually and was featured on Food Network’s “Eating America” with Anthony Anderson (2014).
Melissa is a member and Executive Director of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago Area Chapter. Awards and accomplishments include the Woman of Influence by The Chicago Business Journal (January 2016); the NAWBO Chicago Presidential Award of Excellence (2014); Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Graduate (2013); Enterprising Women of the Year (March 2014) by Enterprising Women Magazine; and Influential Women in Business Award by the Daily Herald Business Ledger (2012);
Melissa graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Her program emphasis was public relations and event planning.