Melissa leads MOCA’s government, foundation, and corporate relationship building and giving strategy. Prior to her venture into non-profit mission-based development, Melissa dedicated two decades of her professional life to the arts and higher education, where she was a cultural programs producer, theatre performer, college teacher, and researcher. Her scholarship on artistic performances that advance human rights practices in Asia has been published in peer-reviewed journals and books, and presented at national and international conferences and talks.

Melissa holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Theatre and Performance from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, an M.A. in Performance Studies from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, a B.A.(Hons.) in English Literature from the National University in Singapore, and an Arts Administration certification from New York University.

Melissa held various board positions on academic professional membership organizations, and is at present honored to serve on the steering committee of the Mosaic Network and Fund–a New York Community Trust initiative that advocates for the voices of and equitable philanthropic funding for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) cultural organizations. Melissa is a proud member of Women in Development (WID), where she serves on the board of directors and co-chairs the Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Committee.

She is committed to exploring philanthropy’s intersections with social justice in ways that are ethical, equitable, and efficacious.