Speakers »


Role: Executive Director
, Girl Up

Pronouns: She/Her

Melissa Kilby is the Executive Director of Girl Up, the global leadership development organization transforming a generation of girls to be a force for gender equality and social change.

Since 2010, Girl Up has developed 75,000 girl leaders in 120 countries and all 50 U.S. states, and has raised more than $27 million for girls’ leadership programs and impact partners at the United Nations. Melissa joined Girl Up in its first year, and during her tenure with her team, she has built the organization into force that it is today.

Melissa is a leading expert on next gen leadership and youth activism. Recently named to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2020, Melissa is also currently Chair of the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run, Washington DC. Prior to Girl Up, Melissa served as a National Director for OP3, where she helped raise an average of $45 million each season managing a nine-city, multi-day fundraising walk series benefiting the Avon Foundation for Women. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Journalism in Strategic Communication from University of Missouri – Columbia. In 2014, she was selected to participate in a highly competitive program for non-profit leaders through Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Melissa sits on the U.S. Advisory Group for UN Women’s WE EMPOWER G7 and the Steering Committee for Women in Dev.

Melissa has appeared on MSNBC, written articles for Huffington Post and Harvard International Review, been quoted in many national and international press outlets and speaks regularly as an expert on leadership, activism and Gen Z girls. Recent speaking engagements include TEDxQuincy, Women in Dev, UN Women International Women’s Day events, and various other Girl Up events and at the UN