Melissa Kilby is the Co-Executive Director of Girl Up— a leadership development program working to achieve gender equality for all girls everywhere. Melissa co-leads this initiative, hosted at the UN Foundation, that inspires, convenes, trains and connects girls globally, helping to position them as leaders and changemakers.
She is an expert on GenZ girls and their expectations, thoughts and insights on the world today. Since September 2011, Melissa has helped Girl Up raise over $15 million dollars to support a robust girl’s leadership program and the crucial work of Girl Up’s United Nations partners. Melissa works with corporations such as The Walt Disney Corporation, Caterpillar, Johnson&Johnson, Oath and others and manages the grant making to UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA and UN Women. She has traveled to Guatemala, Ethiopia, Malawi and India to meet girls directly benefiting from the fundraising efforts of Girl Up supporters. Before joining the UN Foundation, Melissa served as a National Director for OP3, where she helped to manage the nine-city multi-day fundraising walk series benefiting the Avon Foundation for Women, which raised an average of $45 million each season. During her tenure with the Avon Walks, she oversaw national staff and remote field teams, and introduced a program called the Youth Crew, which targeted youth ages 10-16 to participate in the walk and raise money for the Avon Foundation. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Journalism in Strategic Communication from University of Missouri – Columbia. In 2014, she was selected to participate in a program for non-profit leaders through Harvard University’s Kennedy School. She serves on the board of directors of Girls on the Run of Washington DC.
“We know diversity is important, but we’ve learned from our girl leaders that it’s just the start.” “The strength of our movement isn’t just in highlighting different colors and faces, it’s about sharing different voices and perspectives too.” ” It’s not enough to simply include different people if you’re not listening to, learning from, and honoring their opinions and breadth of experiences.”