Melissa Cook

Melissa Cook is the Executive Director at Heartland Alliance International, the global arm of parent company, Heartland Alliance, a 135-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights and providing vital services to people in need around the world. Prior to this she was the Vice President of corporate operations for Panagora Group, a rapidly growing women-owned small business/implementing partner for USAID, where she led numerous organizational and development initiatives that improved employee engagement and operational efficiency to facilitate sustainable growth. She also spent 17 years working for USAID’s largest implementing partner, Chemonics International in a variety of global roles. With Chemonics, Melissa led the operations in Ethiopia on USAID’s Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project in Addis Ababa. Before this she was based in the Philippines leading the USAID/E-PESO project, supporting the Government of the Philippines to modernize its payment industry and deepen financial inclusion, which exceeded goals by generating more than a 20-fold increase in national electronic payments over five years. Later as Managing Director, Melissa managed the company’s digital transformation, enabling more than 5,000 global staff across 70 countries to go paperless. Melissa Cook is best known for her ability to build and manage strong teams and lead programs to success despite challenging situations. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Marymount University; is Project Management Professional (PMP) trained; and is certified by Prosci in Change Management. She has lived overseas in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. She speaks proficient French, basic Amharic, and Tagalog. She presently lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, three children, and two dogs.