MELISSA JONES BRIGGS
Moving an average of every two childhood years, cross-country and internationally, was normal. Melissa spent her formative years in the UK. Moving back to the U.S. as an adult should have been ‘moving home,’ but Melissa was immersed in yet another foreign world. And yet, while experiencing culture shock, she found that one-on-one interactions were still easy and natural. She could read a room immediately: scanning, analyzing and adapting to complex yet subtle social dynamics across diverse cultures. She discovered authenticity in agility. Her international upbringing fostered a cultural fluency that enhanced her ability to connect and engage with people. Today, Melissa shares that ability with others, to empower their growth and personal transformation.
Melissa is a Lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and coaches at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. As an Executive Coach she offers personalized, one-on-one coaching in creating a powerful executive presence. Melissa designs and deploys programs that maximize interpersonal communication, leadership, and community integration for her clients. Melissa’s passion for working with women to break down barriers to their advancement, drives her focus and commitment. Melissa works with executives, thought leaders, doctors, lawyers and professors at corporate, academic and nonprofit organizations: Intel, eBay, Twitter, Lyft, Mozilla, Cisco, The Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Singularity University, Lorraine Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, Clinton Global Initiative, Watermark, Public Health Institute, and Youth in Arts.
On Faculty at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, as a Lecturer in Organizational Behavior, Melissa teaches Acting with Power. This extremely popular second year MBA elective uses theatre technique to help students address their issues around power, authority and status. She also teaches at London Business School in the UK and Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland as a visiting Guest Lecturer. Melissa has coached at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute of Gender Research and the Executive Education Program for Women Leaders at Stanford University. An honors graduate of Wake Forest University, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and The Actor’s Center Conservatory in New York.
Melissa elevates leaders’ executive presence and authority giving her clients a wider authentic range of expression. She creates impact and increases agility for clients allowing them to show up more effectively across diverse contexts. Melissa leads women as they navigate power dynamics in the workplace.
Melissa worked as an actor in professional theater and film in New York City and San Francisco. Building on that experience, she now teaches acting at Stanford University, where she is a founding member of the teaching team for the popular Acting with Power course at the Graduate School of Business. In the role of consultant she works with corporate executives and teams around the world. On both US coasts she worked for Riedel Research Group, an independent equity research firm focused on emerging financial markets. Previous job titles also included editor, special education teacher and carpenter.
As an actor in professional theater and film in San Francisco and New York, Melissa has worked with The 52nd Street Project, The Williamstown Theater Festival, Custom Made Theater Company, and The New Conservatory Theater Center among others. She also works as a screenwriter and producer. Her most recent short film Baby toured on the International Film Festival circuit. As a mentor teaching artist, Melissa develops and directs theatre curricula for at-risk and severe special needs youth, empowering students to explore their relationship to power and authority and to express their authentic voice through devised performance.
Melissa taught herself to mountain bike as an adult and now she shreds California single-track every chance she can get.
Melissa believes that if you shine a light on the vast chasms of empathy and communication - which exist on the street and in the kitchen, in schoolrooms and boardrooms, in halls of government and academia - the rifts will heal.