Melissa grew up in Pennsylvania, living with her grandparents in a small coal-mining town, then moved to Philadelphia with her mother and older sister. At age 12, Melissa and her mother moved to the small town of Mill Valley, California, where her journey really began.
This is where Melissa eventually met the love of her life, her husband of 27 years, Pascal. During this time, she also attended College of Marin, changed her major a half a dozen times, and eventually transferred to and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature—mainly for the poetry. After graduating, she continued to wait tables and work as a teaching assistant at College of Marin, where she reveled in helping others learn how to dig inside themselves and write. During this time, Melissa sought help for her childhood diagnosis of ADHD and sought recovery from alcohol use to cope with ADHD and anxiety.
On the road of recovery, Melissa went to law school in the Pacific Norwest and has been a practicing attorney since 2002, currently working as a Senior Assistant Attorney General with the Oregon Department of Justice. She and her husband have a wildly amazing teen daughter who they mountain bike and ski with on majestic Mt. Hood in Oregon—and who, along with them, snuggles with their 14-pound rescue dog, a chihuahua-pug who is so fierce in his own mind that they kept his foster name of Cujo.
In her efforts to overcome imposterism, Melissa recently completed a professional certification program in life coaching and has begun coaching others in finding meaning and purpose in life and work, and the confidence to live in that purpose. She is also a certified mindfulness trainer and has a passion for giving mindfulness trainings throughout the legal community, and especially in law schools. Recently, she started a mindfulness practice at work at the Oregon Department of Justice.
Along the way, she also discovered a passion for unearthing imposterism for what it really is: A systemic problem that affects most people, but especially underrepresented persons—and is a problem that absolutely can and should be extinguished at the root. It is in that capacity that Melissa has collaborated with some amazing women attorneys to develop practices that both individuals and organizations can use immediately to overcome imposterism and cultivate belonging—the very thing we all want and need.
You can find Melissa at The Fully Mindful at www.thefullymindful.com.