Melissa A. Washington
Being adaptable and resourceful is a hallmark of military training, as the career of our next honoree demonstrates. Melissa Washington grew up in San Francisco’s East Bay and enlisted in the Navy at age 18. While serving her country, she saw the world, met and married a Marine. Having witnessed the burdens that come with a dual-service family, she chose to leave the Navy early in the mid-90s and started a decade-long career in corporate recruiting and human resources. When she was laid off in 2009 during the Great Recession, she reinvented herself, starting a consulting service that incorporated LinkedIn for research, recruiting, job seeking, and collaboration.
As she sought to connect with her peers outside her fellow women veterans, she realized the need for a dedicated support system for women veterans. She founded Women Veterans Alliance —a national organization — and its nonprofit wing, Women Veterans Giving. Both entities offer women veterans opportunities to gain career experience and integrate successfully back into civilian life. Women Veterans Giving also helps fund women veteran-owned businesses, which often are overlooked by other organizations.
Along the way, Melissa found time to write two books to share what she has learned. Her latest book, “Unstoppable,” offers practical advice on creating a meet-up group and becoming an influence within one’s community.
Today we recognize and honor this award-winning speaker, author, entrepreneur, publisher, CEO, proud Navy veteran, and passionate advocate for empowering her fellow women — Melissa Washington.