Hi!
Hi there! My name is Dr. Melissa Sassi. I have spent my career as both an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. I currently work at IBM where I founded a 100-strong startup program called the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator. I also lead Student Experience worldwide within the IBM Z division of IBM. I'm an avid speaker, hackathon judge, startup mentor, and writer.

I spent five years at Microsoft before joining IBM where my last role was as an impact investor in the internet and energy access verticals. By the time I left, we had 75 projects in 25 countries.

I've also done two stints on Wall Street at Goldman and Blackrock. I was also part of the founding team that created Ally Bank. I spent several years in Consulting where I focused on corporate turnaround, supply chain, and procurement.

I am incredibly passionate about volunteerism, community development, and empowering the underserved through computer science education, entrepreneurship, financial literacy & enablement, healthtech utilization & digital inclusion.

I'm looking to broaden my board experience and impact in the world, while adding to my personal economic empowerment.

Feel free to Google me to learn more about my exciting work thus far throughout my career. I'm pretty easy to find. Just look for Melissa Sassi or Chief Penguin!
WHAT I DO BEST!
Create big, bold ideas
Make the impossible possible
Get stuff done
Take calculated risks
Build emotional connections
Connect the unconnected
Solve problems
Think critically with data
EXPERIENCES
Global Head
IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator
IBM Z Student Experience Strategy
January 2019 - Present
Founded the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator, a startup program with 100 startups in my portfolio. Responsible for sourcing, selection, evaluation, onboarding, comarketing, community engagement, tech & business enablement + incubation & acceleration of participating startups in fintech, healthtech, edtech, insurtech & music & VC verticals. Checkout my latest cohorts: ibm.biz/hpa-2021.

Manage IBM Z's global student community & ambassador evangelism program enabling youth changemakers to learn tech skills, build entrepreneurial spirit & develop professionally.

Lead influencer engagement for strategic IBM Z developer events and signature moments, including celebrity engagements with Timbaland & others.

Serve as Judge & Mentor in Call for Code, Reignite for Small Businesses, AAL Cup & many other IBM programs.

Represent IBM in weekly livestreams + complete 150+ speaking engagements & guest lectures. Checkout ibm.biz/sassi-and-ralls & ibm.biz/studentx.
Senior Project Manager / Program Manager
Microsoft Airband Initiative
March 2017 - November 2018
Led impact investment & startup ecosystem development for internet & energy access verticals across 75 partners in 25 countries, including bringing them into the cloud & introducing digital skills to the newly connected, while enabling our startup ventures to build & scale.

Led hundreds of talks & projects with startups, Ministers of ICT & Edu, White House staffers + other federal & state-level Senators & Representatives, as well as UN, WEF & World Bank engagements.
Senior Manager
Microsoft Mobile
April 2014 - November 2014
Led creative, media, community development, influencer marketing, social media & event agency management & the integration of Nokia into the broader Microsoft family.
Senior Manager
Xchanging
January 2013 - April 2014
Created a global outsourced marketing consulting practice focused on revamping marketing efforts of troubled companies.
Director
CoreLogic
January 2012 - January 2013
Led IT outsourcing management, leading to overhauling vendor compliance processes & practices to better align to mortgage industry regulations & best practices.
Director
BlackRock
January 2011 - January 2012
Led the consolidation of marketing & thought leadership across all BlackRock entities worldwide.
Vice President
Goldman Sachs
January 2010 - December 2010
Revamped Goldman's vendor management protocols at the height of the financial crisis.
EDUCATION
PhD - International Business (Virtual)
North Central University
2021
Revamped Goldman's vendor management protocols at the height of the financial crisis.
MBA - International Supply Chain
Groupe ESC Bordeaux
Bordeaux, France
2001
MBA - International Finance
American InterContinental University London
London, England
2000
BSc - International Business Management & Spanish
Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri, USA
1998
VOLUNTEERISM
CEO & Founder: 2015 - Present
MentorNations
Created a youth-led nonprofit that has taught tens of thousands of youth to code in twelve countries.
Chair, Digital Skills & Readiness: 2017 - Present
IEEE
Created the first world standard for what it means to be digitally literate.
Board of Directors: 2018 - Present
TAKAMIL
Volunteer with a Pakistani nonprofit with 30+ rural schools focused on reinventing informal education for the ~250M youth outside the school system.
OTHERS
GRAB YOUR DRINK & CHAT WITH ME