Melissa is the City of Lewiston’s first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), a position charged with helping the city develop a workforce that reflects its diverse demographics; advancing equitable policies, trainings, practices, and procedures; and ensuring that the city delivers services in an equitable and inclusive manner. As a first-generation immigrant from North Carolina, Melissa attributes her passion for DEI work to her lived experience. She has been a social justice advocate for many years: her primary focus has been creating and re-structuring policies to become equitable and inclusive while providing impactful systemic changes for marginalized communities. She previously served seven years in healthcare, including three at MaineHealth, where she worked on accessibility to healthcare for vulnerable and marginalized communities. While there, she became MaineHealth’s DEI ambassador as well as a co-chair of the organization’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Care Team Network.
Melissa is a graduate of the University of New England where she earned a bachelor’s in Medical Biology and a master’s in Public Health.