Melissa hails from the big city of Chicago, where she began her career in advertising and event marketing. Working her way, always upward, she shifted to the commercial real estate where she landed a job with a national company. But, it was the Durango mountains that kept calling and she decided to move west, where her father and brother were a few years into a startup IT business. There, she started a new career, in a new field, from the proverbial bottom. She grabbed hold and hasn’t let go since. Melissa attributes her success to perseverance, timing, and surprisingly, humor. Of course getting to the top of your field and working at a family business requires much more than hard work and jokes. It requires skills that might only be learned from professionals at The Second City of Chicago fame.
In addition to comedy, her hobbies include travel, art, photography, music, theater, and just about anything artsy and creative. She is passionate about giving back to her community and derives great pleasure from helping others. She particularly likes to focus on helping young women in two key areas; professional development and women’s health. Acting as a mentor, coach and friend, Melissa is always giving out career advice and marketing tips. But, her work in helping to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer is the most rewarding. It is from her hobbies and passions that she created her presentation topics, with the hope that she would help someone along the way.
Melissa is committed to educating women about prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. Her passion stems from a very personal, life-altering experience.
At age 34, Melissa tested positive for a gene mutation that indicated she had an 80% risk of developing breast cancer and a 40% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Single and career-focused, Melissa’s plans for the future quickly took on a very serious nature. Breast cancer had affected two generations in Melissa’s family, and after multiple rounds of rigorous tests, she realized that she did not want to spend her life plagued by fear, waiting for a positive diagnosis. Instead, Melissa bravely chose to undergo a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy.
While striving to educate herself about her own cancer risks, Melissa found resources that helped her navigate through the journey of previvorship. Melissa loves to share her story and help others for a cause that is close to her heart.
She supports these non-profits through holding community events, education and fundraising.