Co-Executive Director, Girl Up
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. Growing up she was always called a bossy girl and today she is a proud #girlboss!
Since joining in 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, as well as manages the grant making and investments to UN agencies including 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. Under Melissa’s leadership, Girl Up has grown into a global gender equality movement of more than 700,000 supporters and impacted the lives of more than 65,000 girls around the world.
Melissa has served as the Campaign Director and Deputy Director of Girl Up. 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. Previous experience includes working with donor relations and marketing for Hinsdale Hospital and the American Red Cross of Chicago. She serves on the board of directors of Girls on the Run of Washington DC. Melissa has appeared on MSNBC, written articles for Huffington Post and Harvard International Review and been quoted in many national press outlets.