Melissa is a trusted advisor to purpose-driven women executives & entrepreneurs in STEM & wellness fields. She specializes in helping women experience more joy and balance in their lives and health while developing their capacity to lead and succeed as executives and entrepreneurs. Melissa believes each of us has the power to create a healthy, joyful, purpose-driven life. For most of us, there’s a gap between our current experience of life and our highest aspirations. When we are supported and open to exploring this gap, new resources and possibilities emerge.
Melissa began her coaching journey when a leadership program she was part of offered an ICF coach certification program. What she thought would be a new set of tools to enhance her work as a director in a non-profit organization turned out to be the inspiration for a career pivot into professional coaching. Melissa owned a yoga studio with a couple of her friends at the time and began offering wellness coaching to her yoga & meditation students. As she built her private coaching practice, Melissa was intuitively drawn to coach women to live their life’s purpose and thrive through a combination of wellness and leadership coaching. When Melissa’s sister, Amy (also on Annie’s coaching team!), introduced her to Tara Mohr’s book, she found that Tara’s Playing Big tools really resonated with her clients and accelerated their progress in powerful ways.
Melissa is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach, Certified Leadership Coach, and National Medical Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She has completed Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Facilitator’s Training and is also Certified in the Foundations of Woman Centered Coaching through the Institute of Woman Centered Coaching, Training and Leadership. In addition to her work with Annie Ricci’s Coaching team, Melissa’s practice includes health & wellness coaching, executive & leadership coaching, and peer masterminds and mentoring. From her prior career in non-profit leadership, Melissa has 20 years experience in organizational development, community engagement, instructional design and facilitation.
Melissa’s approach is empathetic and action-oriented. Friends and clients alike are drawn to her ability to lovingly listen to and accept them for exactly who they are, while challenging them to become more of who they are meant to be. Her clients often say that her zest for life, joyful presence, and infectious laughter help them feel at ease, with a sense that something wonderful is about to happen.
Find out more about Melissa at www.illuminateguidance.com
Melissa’s Clients’ Kind Words:
“Before starting coaching, I felt so confused, lost, and frustrated with all the changes in our organization that I knew I needed help but I didn’t know who to ask and what questions to ask. Coaching with Melissa has been an incredible experience. I wish the sessions could continue! I have loved learning about myself with the help of a coach and learning that there are tools to help me get out of bad habits, reframe negative thinking, etc all while finding and staying true to my core values. Now that I have completed our sessions, I feel like a different person! I now know that I can be an effective leader and still hold true to my core values. I feel centered and focused and capable of taking on the challenges that face me.”
Senior Global Manager, Sciex
“I have enjoyed having Melissa as my coach. She is an experienced professional and has insights that are valuable to me in my role. Through our work together, I discovered that as a leader, I am unique and have my own unique sets of strengths and skills. I lead differently and feel differently towards my work/my team/my role. I learned that everyone really needs a “Melissa” to help work through areas of executive leadership. It isn’t easy and having someone to safely talk to has made a big difference in my life both professionally and personally. I am celebrating that I now recognize my wins, address my feelings and take a proactive approach with my leaders to help them become better leaders. Melissa helped me see that the challenges I was working through aren’t easy for anyone, regardless of their title, role, tenure. During our coaching term, I had a lot of personal loss. Melissa became a coach that helped me express the loss, how it was impacting my work life balance and really helped me put into words my feelings and grief during this time. I like that Melissa always met me emotionally where I needed to go, and was there to laugh with me too. Melissa, I honestly don’t know if you appreciate how much you helped me during our time together. Thank you!”
Vice President, Cepheid
“I loved the coaching experience, and highly recommend it, especially for new managers. It was very helpful for me, particularly integrating the coaching approach with my direct reports. Before coaching, I had been tough on myself when I didn’t need to be. I was so worried and felt a lot of pressure during my first full year as a manager. As a result, this worry and pressure were carried over into my second year as a manager. Having a safe place to talk about the challenges that I am facing and knowing that I can build the skills sets to improve really moved me forward. Coaching has made me much more confident in my abilities to lead and coach my team. I discovered that I am doing alright as a manager and can now celebrate my wins.”
Consultancy Manager, IDBS
“I do not honestly know how I would have managed through this season of changes – personal and professional – without the supportive, kind, compassionate, empowering coaching from Melissa. It was incredible to experience being heard, each session, no matter what came out of my head/mouth – and the gentle way to get to decisions, plans, next steps – I am so grateful for the gift that this coaching was for me. I got myself back! I’m feeling very positive about my progress and wins, and am celebrating (1) remembering that I am a great leader and to stand in my power when I KNOW I have the ability; (2) recognizing that I am highly motivated at work and much more satisfied in roles where I create/drive impact through others journeys then as an individual contributor (recognizing my calling); (3) recognizing that I am in a new/different season of my career and its OK to be in the role I am in for a time, and can enter into a new career “season” later; (4) feeling like myself again, and remembering just how important that is to ensure I am my authentic self at work and at home. Melissa is amazing, her approach is so kind and compassionate, she is clearly a master of what she is doing. I needed this more than I could have ever voiced and will remember these learnings and the power of coaching for a long time.”
Senior Program Manager, Cepheid